- The Washington Times - Friday, January 17, 2003

Boozy analysis

The editorial criticizing our latest research is off the mark concerning the extent to which youth are inundated with alcohol advertising ("Bottoms up," Sunday).
Alcohol abuse remains the leading drug problem among America's youth. So the editorial approvingly cited the recent data from the Monitoring the Future survey that drinking among teens "declined significantly" in 2001. What the editorial failed to mention is that current use of alcohol among eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders is significantly higher than for any other drug, according to the data from Monitoring the Future. To quote the lead researcher for Monitoring the Future, Dr. Lloyd Johnston, "Drug and alcohol use by our youth are problems that are not going to go away, nor can we wish them away; but they can be contained if we attend to them continuously and wisely."
The alcohol industry's choice, as documented by our research, to expose youth to alcohol advertising on youth-oriented TV networks (e.g., WB and UPN) and youth-oriented shows such as "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Gilmore Girls" is irresponsible.
Evidently, the alcohol industry is ignoring parents' messages of caution and responsibility.

JIM O'HARA
Executive director
Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth
Georgetown University
Washington

By Lieberman's fruits, not his faith, shall he be known

I must take issue with Suzanne Fields (one of my favorite columnists) on her column concerning Sen. Joe Lieberman's bid for the presidency ("A yarmulke in the ring," Op-Ed, yesterday). She states, "Family values is not merely a phrase for him. He's a man of faith who does not wear his faith on his sleeve, and as a seasoned candidate shouldn't embarrass us this go-around by overdoing the references to God in his campaign speeches."
Most Americans aren't embarrassed by a candidate referring to God. Some of us, though, are embarrassed perhaps angry is a better word when candidates claim to be God-fearing but support killing unborn children through abortion. Last time I checked, the Ten Commandments still included "Thou shalt not murder." It's not what Mr. Lieberman says in his speeches or his religious affiliation that matter. Rather, it's what policies he supports, especially when they concern the lives of unborn children.

BARRY SULLIVAN
Laytonsville

Militia duty ought to be mandatory

Phillip Gold may be correct in his assertion that the United States does not need and should not have a draft, but his suggestion for voluntary militia training falls short. ("Draft debate: Back to the 18th century," Commentary, Wednesday). America has raised two generations of spoiled brats who demand benefits from the government but feel no obligation to do anything in return other than pay taxes.
A careful reading of the Constitution reveals that the Founding Fathers believed service in the militia was not voluntary, but mandatory. Any able-bodied adult male was automatically a militia member and was expected to be armed and ready to serve. This concept is embraced by Switzerland, where men are expected to keep their military weapons at home and to practice with them regularly. (Imagine the howls of rage from the left wing if the United States mandated that every home must have a "military assault rifle" and ammunition handy. On the other hand, this would greatly reduce crime.)
Too many Americans are taking everything they can get from the government and giving their country little in return. It's time they learned to accept some of the responsibility for maintaining the freedoms we enjoy. A draft that would conscript young men into the National Guard and the reserves would be a fair and workable solution. Spending a few months attending basic training and advanced individual training in a military specialty, then drilling one weekend a month and two weeks a year is not an undue hardship.

GARY STRAUSSER
Fort Washington

Give the World Bank a break

Readers who took at face value the critique of the World Bank by Allan Meltzer and Bruce Rich ("World Bank drain," Commentary, Monday) might wonder why Congress has failed to adopt the recommendations of the "bipartisan" Meltzer Commission that examined the lending activities of the World Bank and other multilateral lending institutions.
The reason is quite simple. The commission's recommendations were widely viewed as ideological and off-base. They certainly were not bipartisan: Almost half the members signed a minority view, disputing the report of the longtime critic who served as chairman.
In turn, Congress has not implemented the commission's recommendations because lawmakers understand that the World Bank and the other multilateral development institutions are working hard in a difficult pursuit, achieving solid results and adapting daily to increase their effectiveness. They do this while leveraging each dollar of U.S. taxpayer resources into more than $30 in development effectiveness. They are deserving of continued strong U.S. support, as the rest of the world unanimously agrees.
Every institution can improve, and the World Bank is no exception, but Mr. Meltzer and Mr. Rich conveniently ignore many of the big strides the Bank has taken in recent years to improve its performance and ensure that the money it disburses yields tangible results in developing countries. Contrary to what Mr. Meltzer consistently misstates, some 80 percent of the projects the bank supports are rated as satisfactory. That is saying a lot, given the fact that the World Bank works in areas of the world where others are afraid to go areas where capital is scarce, where there is no running water and no electricity, let alone Internet connections or Starbucks.
For its part, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has dramatically strengthened its focus on alleviating poverty and made far-reaching changes to increase transparency in recent years. ADB is helping Indonesia, for instance, nurture private-sector growth, encourage human and social development and strengthen environmental management to ensure sustainable use of natural resources. Nine out of ten ADB projects in Indonesia evaluated over the past four decades have been successful in providing substantial social and economic benefits an enviable record.
After September 11, 2001, the United States and other countries in the Western world realized that if they ignored the "marginal" areas of the world and left them to fester in poverty, it could come back to haunt them. In March, President Bush sounded some high-minded notes when he said the "advance of development is a central commitment of American foreign policy" and cautioned that when governments fail to meet the most basic needs of their people, these failed states can become havens for terrorists. It is this high-minded determination to which we should adhere.

JAMES ORR
Executive director
The Bretton Woods Committee
Washington

This is the world, not the Wild West

In her Jan 8 column, "With allies like these…" Helle Dale equates alas, once again opposition to the Bush administration's policy of pre-emptive strikes with anti-Americanism. I am really fed up with this specious contrivance. When will journalists in America, especially conservative ones, realize that Europeans are capable of distinguishing between the American people and an administration elected by less than half of those Americans who bothered to vote?
Many Europeans are telling the Bush administration loudly and clearly: You mustn't unilaterally decree things that affect many other countries. If you want changes in Iraq or elsewhere, you need a consensus among nations.
No country can ethically start a war without presenting proper evidence that justifies action. The United States exists in a world of many countries and should stick to international rules to help maintain international order. This is not the Wild West.

THOMAS MOHR
Guntramsdorf, Austria


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