- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 30, 2003

With enemies like these …

After reading Tony Blankley's Op-Ed column yesterday, "Stumbledee and stumbledum," one would think Sen. Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, would tire of being sucker-punched by President Bush. At the very least, he should have learned that when you challenge and taunt this president, he's going to beat you to a pulp. A few examples are in order.

Following Mr. Bush's reference to an "axis of evil" and the White House focus on regime change in Iraq, Mr. Daschle insisted that Congress determine whether the president would be granted authority to attack Iraq. Mr. Bush promptly called for a congressional vote and received overwhelming support for whatever action he should deem necessary regarding Iraq.

Reeling from this jab, Mr. Daschle shifted tactics and demanded that the rest of the world must be in agreement before any U.S. military action. Mr. Bush then lectured the United Nations about its founding principles, sent Secretary of State Colin L. Powell into the diplomatic fray, and the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously to give Saddam Hussein one last chance to comply with all previous U.N. resolutions and one new one.

Having lost his composure from this pummeling, Mr. Daschle attacked Mr. Bush and the Republicans in the run-up to the November election with a sputtering and incoherent tirade against conservative hawks and the supposed falsehood of Mr. Bush's compassion. In the election, Mr. Bush was instrumental in demoting Mr. Daschle to minority-leader status.

This past Monday, before the State of the Union address, Mr. Daschle crawled into the ring again, challenging the president on two issues upon which Mr. Daschle thought Mr. Bush was vulnerable. First, he said the president's economic policy punished the middle class by providing tax relief to the very rich. Second, he claimed the administration had failed to provide any evidence that Iraq still retained weapons of mass destruction and had any ties to al Qaeda.

Now, one can imagine that this is the part of the fight when Mr. Daschle sticks his chin out, closes his eyes and dares George Bush to take a swing. First, the uppercut, delivered in the State of the Union address: "Ninety-two million Americans will keep this year an average of almost $1,100 more of their own money. A family of four with an income of $40,000 would see their federal income taxes fall from $1,178 to $45 per year."

Next, the roundhouse: "Secretary of State Powell will present [to the U.N. Security Council] information and intelligence about Iraq's illegal weapons programs, its attempts to hide those weapons from inspectors and its links to terrorist groups."

This has been an incredibly unfair fight. Someone from Mr. Daschle's corner should throw in the towel.


JEFF BLEIL

San Diego

No new Chinese zoning

I write to reaffirm China's position regarding its Law on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf. On Monday The Washington Times ran a Page One article, "China enacts law extending its control," claiming that China has adopted a new, exclusive economic zone law extending 200 miles. This is not in conformity with the facts.

China signed the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1996, and accordingly formulated and adopted in 1998 the Law of the People's Republic of China on the Exclusive Economic Zone and the Continental Shelf. In accordance with the above-mentioned U.N. convention and Chinese law, China has entitlement to an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles.

China has the sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone for the purpose of exploring, exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources therein, and with regard to other activities, for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone.

China has jurisdiction in the exclusive economic zone with regard to the establishment and use of artificial islands, installations and structures; marine scientific research; and the protection and preservation of the marine environment.

It is China's sovereign right to take necessary measures against acts in the exclusive economic zone that are in breach of the relevant laws of China and to hold the perpetrator(s) legally accountable, in accordance with the law.

Other countries, subject to their observation of international law and the laws of China, have, among other things, the freedom of navigation and overflight in the exclusive economic zone of China.


XIE FENG

Spokesman and press counselor

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

Washington

Businesses are held accountable, so why shouldn't government?

Edwin Meese III's argument that trade unions should report their finances "in the same detail we ask of Enron" is unassailable ("Disclosure benefits business and labor," Commentary, Tuesday). After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Extending his argument one step further, should not the requirement for "transparency," to use the word used nowadays, extend to all American institutions that receive tax money, including public schools and universities? Though the Founding Fathers didn't use the word openness, the success of the American idea indeed, of democracy itself depends on an open society where all public funds are fully and accurately accounted for.


ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Chevy Chase




In "Disclosure benefits business and labor," Edwin Meese III points out that unions essentially operate in the financial underworld. With little disclosure of the financial details, Mr. Meese argues, "deceit grows and festers." It occurs to me that there is another financial shell game going on, and we are all deeply affected. The federal government has been pulling our legs for quite some time now. Where is the accountability?

The federal government is hemorrhaging red ink. When will it be time to change the status quo? Let's start with Social Security. We are told that excess contributions are stuffed into a lockbox for future generations. This is patently false, and any politician who stands by it should get the boot from the constituency.

Because 6.2 percent of my wage earnings go to Social Security, I demand accountability. Let's really lock up those funds and force the government into honest accounting. If the "best protection against fraud is sunlight," as Mr. Meese puts it, wouldn't we all benefit from a little sunshine in government?


RICK PENDLETON

Truckee, Calif.

NARAL doesn't worship 'demon god'

There is little that can or should be said upon being accused in print of worshipping at the altar of a "demon god who demanded the sacrifice of living children." Still, it should not escape even the most extreme anti-abortion reader's notice that Kenneth L. Connor, president of the Family Research Council, has managed to offer several hundred words of caustic commentary on the issue of abortion without reserving any of them to express so much as token concern for a woman's life or death ("NARAL's Godless religion," Forum, Sunday).

The reason, one suspects, is that a woman simply occupies no place of dignity or worth in Mr. Connor's worldview. There is, for her, neither joy in bearing a child by choice to the contrary, he mentions women only to speculate, with breathtaking condescension, that they choose abortion because they are irritated with babies who cry, need changing or awaken at night nor tragedy in the profound risk to her life and health that a ban on abortion would entail. Her function, instead, is biological alone.

NARAL Pro-Choice America will not engage in the name-calling to which Mr. Connor descends, nor is there any point in responding to absurdities such as his claim that we oppose showing pregnant women's sonograms. Nonetheless, readers are entitled to ask whose position qualifies as extreme.


KATE MICHELMAN

President

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Washington

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