- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 15, 2003

Letters to the Editor

Columnist right on Islamic threat

Diana West's column "Code what?" (Op-Ed, yesterday) should be required reading for those who want to understand the threat posed by Islam.
The threat to this country and its allies from Islamic terrorism is not a figment of the imagination. We owe no apologies to those who are offended by tying terrorism alerts to major events in the Islamic calendar. There can be nothing more offensive than the wanton murder of innocent civilians, a trademark of Islamic terrorism.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations would be better served by denouncing terrorists and, particularly, those Muslim clerics who preach hatred for the West, inciting acts of violence. To date, I've heard no such denunciations from those who ask us to believe that Islam means "peace."

Freehold, N.J.Getting honest with Abe

It's that time of year again when the country is subjected to the annual festival of praise in honor of the 16th president of the United States. A couple of "festival events" have appeared in your newspaper.
Paul Greenberg ("A man for this season, too," Commentary, Wednesday), writing on Abraham Lincoln's birthday, stuck pretty close to the attractive parts of Honest Abe's mythic persona, which have enshrined him in American folklore. That is the safer course.
But Edward Steers Jr. ("Emancipation act transforms conflict, nation," Civil War page, Feb. 8) trawls more dangerous waters by seeking to cast the war of 1861-65 as a struggle of pure Yankee righteousness against malign Rebel iniquity.
The exact mix of motives that animated each side in the War Between the States is the source of seemingly endless debate. In the wake of new scholarly reassessments of Lincoln, momentum now is building for a thoroughgoing reassessment of the Lincoln administration and the war.
Young, virile and courageous scholars are rediscovering long-neglected evidence that the North waged war on the South, not as some kind of elevated, humanitarian campaign, but as a straightforward war of conquest designed to reduce the South to a condition of abject subordination to the federal system. In that latter goal, they succeeded very well for more than a century.
Mr. Steers and those who see things his way may protest against this reassessment, but they cannot stop it. As Lincoln himself famously said, "We cannot escape history."
The times they are a-changin' … they always are.

FranconiaGovernment encourages exodus of jobs, factories

Paul Craig Roberts hit the nail on the head with his latest column, "Was it all hype?" (Commentary, Thursday).
Our federal government is allowing what can only be called a mass exodus of manufacturing U.S. companies laying off millions of employees to capitalize on cheap labor and little or no government regulations such as those that exist in America. They are selling out an industry that literally built this country into a world power an industry that made the American dream a reality and allowed the burgeoning of the middle class.
What we are witnessing is a bloodletting of not only jobs but state-of-the-art machinery and technology.
I could go on, but Mr. Roberts says it all. Let's just hope that our elected officials in Washington are listening. Or, better yet, that they will own up to it and do something about it before we have to begin learning Chinese.

Vice chairman
Save American Manufacturing Initiative
American Mold Builders Association, Chicago Chapter
Aurora, Ill.

Readers troubled by 'timid' air strategy story

Thursday's Page One article, "Officers fault air strategy for Iraq war as 'timid,'" based on the musings of a single anonymous source about classified contingency planning for Iraq, brings to mind one of Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's Rules: "Those who know, don't talk; those who talk, don't know."
I am deeply involved in developing military options for President Bush, should he call upon the armed forces to act against Iraq. This process is at its very core collegial, collaborative and joint. Moreover, Gen. Tommy Franks' leadership of Central Command during the global war on terrorism is ample proof of his appreciation of the strengths each service brings to the fight and how we will win, together. Every service has been fully represented in current planning, and all have had the opportunity to vet any concerns freely and openly. The result is one all the services support, and one that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines will execute brilliantly, together.
Never before in my 37-year military career has the United States enjoyed an environment of such joint cooperation and interservice communication. The very best minds of each service are working to maximize the combined effects of all our forces in pursuit of victory. On that point and unlike the shadow critic who violates his or her oath even while presuming to represent other airmen I am willing to put my name and reputation on record.

Chief of Staff
Air Force

I'm really concerned by the views presented in the article, "Officers fault air strategy for Iraq war as 'timid.'" For one thing, it disturbs me that military commanders would be willing to secretly (anonymously) discuss (leak) the virtues and drawbacks of their strategies with the press. Notice that most of the article's quoted sources desired anonymity, for obvious reasons. Even though the desire to rectify the perceived undesirable consequences of strategies by talking about them is understandable, discussing specific military plans with the media is reckless and totally antithetical to a commander's responsibilities and code of conduct, regardless of motivation.
What specific plans? For example, "[plans for the air campaign] would largely spare infrastructure … ." Or the real gem: "The current war plan calls for less than 10 days of air strikes before a ground force of 60,000 to 80,000 invades Iraq from Kuwait and Turkey." That's fairly specific. Plus, given the highly publicized fact that military planners have placed an almost paranoid emphasis on protecting Iraqi civilians and infrastructure, it should come as no surprise when we find ourselves in a possibly protracted form of door-to-door urban warfare. Where else would we expect Saddam Hussein to locate his weapons and loyalist fighters?
Hopefully, The Washington Times is privy to inside intelligence relating to any specific military leaks because they already are known by Saddam Hussein's strategists and, therefore, safe to print. However, if that's not the case, why publish them? I hope most of the various leaks are calculated misinformation from the Defense Department, but I have a gut feeling to the contrary.
I believe the motives behind running articles based on anonymous leaks are like that of the sources that is, to influence war planners by voicing their concerns as well as to inform the public. Just make darn sure that no article you publish will ever compromise our goals in any way. I implore The Times (actually, the entire media) to prudently and responsibly filter the news in accordance with America's best interests.

Greencastle, Pa.

Editor's note: The article in question, by Rowan Scarborough, was based on interviews with several senior Air Force officers. Their names were withheld at their request.

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