- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2003

Men rightly vie for their custody rights

I was awed by the naked truth exposed in the coverage of men demanding their citizenship rights not be abridged in the article "Men aim for equal custodial rights" (Metro, Wednesday). How ironic it is that lawyers and lawyer-legislators oppose such a notion when confronted with the idea of shared parenting. Yet, they callously condemn these same men for "not being supportive of their children" when addressing financial child-support proposals.

Children love, want and need two parents. The research is in, and the data is incontestable. In the short run, shared parenting may infringe on the profits that the state and some lawyers earn from refusing to budge from a winner-parent-loser-parent mentality. In the long run, however, the state will win because there won't be any sole-custody children to cycle through the criminal justice system, the welfare office or the divorce courts. Children from two-parent families rarely end up in their clutches.

Did I forget to mention the benefit to the lawyers? There isn't any, unless one considers self-evaluation a benefit.


STUART A. MILLER

Senior legislative analyst

American Fathers Coalition

Washington

Columnist betrays her own blind spots

Diana West's Op-Ed column yesterday, "History's blind spot," touts Ruth R. Wisse's claim that a rise in anti-Jewish feeling worldwide owes to some bizarre resentment of "liberal democracy" as represented by the Jewish state. According to this Israel-right-or-wrong propaganda, the whole world wants to throw us Jews into the sea and deny our right to exist because we are so smart, liberal and kind.

I am Jewish. I was a reporter in Israel and the West Bank during the 1980s. I have followed the situation ever since and just returned from a visit to the West Bank. I must tell Mrs. West that the increase in anti-Jewish feeling around the world, and worldwide resentment of Israel, stem from Israel's 35 years of brutal occupation policies, through which the Jewish state has illegally expropriated more than half the West Bank and a third of Gaza. (The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids occupying states to settle their citizens on occupied soil. Nonetheless, successive Israeli governments have insisted on expanding the settlements, all the more after the Oslo Accords, as the settlement population has doubled.)

We Jews should accept that we are not exempt from humanity's foibles. We suffered one of the most monstrous crimes in human history, yes, but this does not excuse the Jewish state of Israel's own brutal practices.

Any people, given the right heinous circumstances, can become victims. Any victims can, in their turn, become persecutors. Israel enforces conditions of apartheid quite apparent to anyone who visits the occupied territories. Those who spout tired old fictions instead of looking bitter truths in the face show their own blindness and help blind others. Given the spectacularly dangerous circumstances in the Middle East, blindness to the reasons for the resentment of Israel is perilous indeed.


ELLEN CANTAROW

Medford, Mass.




I applaud Diana West for pointing out that the struggle between Islamism and the West is essentially a struggle of ideas. The West has had no problem criticizing the Nazis or the communists for their bad ideas, but for some reason, we're reluctant to criticize Islam for it's bad ideas. What difference does it make if bad ideas come from "Mein Kampf," the "Communist Manifesto" or the Koran? A bad idea is a bad idea.


JOE PINEDA

Wichita, Kan.

How to keep Pakistan the 'land of the pure'

As columnist Mona Charen effectively argues ("Gaps in security strategies," Commentary, Friday), the United States has every right to ensure the security of its nationals by subjecting visitors and immigrants from certain Muslim countries to special scrutiny while they are in the country.

By the same token, Pakistan should safeguard the cultural and moral security of its nationals by subjecting Americans known the world over to be of easy virtue who are visiting or residing in Pakistan to prove the legitimacy of their birth by producing DNA tests matching that of their parents, documentary evidence that they have neither produced any children out of wedlock nor are cohabiting and that they are not homosexual.

All those failing to produce solid evidence of their virtue should be denied entry or expelled from Pakistan to stop them from wreaking cultural carnage upon this land of the pure.


COL. RIAZ JAFRI (Ret.)

Rawalpindi, Pakistan

Time for a reckoning with Russia

The accord Russia signed two weeks ago to accelerate the construction of a nuclear reactor in Iran and supply it with nuclear fuel is a direct threat against the security of the United States ("Russia to expedite work on Iran plant," World, Dec. 26).

According to the State Department, Iran is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism financing, training and equipping terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.

Iran's claim that the nuclear reactor will be used for civilian purposes is absurd. Iran has more oil to generate electricity than it could possibly consume in the foreseeable future. Moreover, Iran's intentions toward the United States (the "Great Satan") have been made clear by 23 years of chanting "Death to America" in state-controlled mosques.

With this accord with Iran, Russian President Vladimir Putin is effectively arming one of our most dangerous enemies and thus placing Russia on the side of the Iranian regime and against the United States. President Bush must pressure Mr. Putin into killing this deal.

If Mr. Putin is persuaded to cancel the accord with Iran, other countries will get the message that in this conflict one must take sides and that one had better take the American side. It is time for the Russians to choose what side to join.


DAVID HOLCBERG

Ayn Rand Institute

Irvine, Calif.

Criticism of ICC misguided

Grace Vuoto's criticism of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is based on a misunderstanding of well-established international law, including ignorance of a basic concept first established by American prosecutors following World War II ("Sleepwalking in the Balkans," Commentary, Dec. 30).

She attacks the prosecution of Croatian generals because they are charged with "command responsibility" for "isolated crimes that took place during major military operations." Yet the principle of command responsibility was firmly established in international criminal law at the Nuremberg and Tokyo trials. It does not mean that a commander is responsible for all criminal acts of his subordinates. It does mean that a commander has a responsibility to take all possible measures to prevent his troops from committing war crimes and to take appropriate action when they do.

Gen. Ante Gotovina and Gen. Janko Bobetko are accused of violating their obligations under international law and, as with all war-crimes fugitives from throughout the former Yugoslavia, should surrender to the tribunal or face arrest.


JUDITH ARMATTA

Coalition for International Justice

The Hague

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