- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 15, 2003

The successes of ABC

After reading "Uganda leads by example on AIDS" (World, Thursday), I thought your readers might be surprised to learn that the ABC (Abstinence, Be Faithful, or use Condoms) public health model has been around for 60 years and that Uganda's success in promoting it has been hailed by people on all sides of the political spectrum.
The reason for the success of the ABC approach across the world is its ability to resonate with diverse audiences and individuals. It clearly recognizes the equal importance of A, B and, not least, C and the fact that condom use and condom education are an essential method of preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS. It does not push one element over another.
Presented together, A, B and C have saved millions of untold lives. Separated by pushing A and B and forgetting C, we risk losing even more vulnerable people to AIDS.

Population Action International

On James P. Moran's comments

I very much would like to see Rep. James P. Moran resign, but not because of the Virginia Democrat's latest ill-conceived comment: "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq we would not be doing this … the leaders of the Jewish community are influential enough that they could change the direction of where this is going, and I think they should" ("White House, Democrats rip Moran for offending Jews," Nation, Wednesday).
I think Mr. Moran merely expressed one more opinion with which I disagree. Indeed, I disagree with most of Mr. Moran's opinions, such as his support for abortion, ever higher taxes and more gun control. Yet, if Mr. Moran is forced out of office for the above comment, he will have been forced out of office for the wrong reasons.
In fact, it seems that Mr. Moran was actually targeting the Bush administration by suggesting that President Bush would risk American lives and spend hundreds of billions of dollars to solely advance the cause of Israel.
Is it possible our politicians would make decisions based upon pressure from one special interest group? Of course it is. For instance, politicians routinely subjugate the welfare of America's children to the demands of the National Education Association in exchange for the votes of its members. In this instance, though, I think the evidence suggests that disarming Saddam Hussein is an important means to help safeguard Americans from terrorists who could be supported by Saddam.
If Mr. Moran is suggesting it is wrong to appreciate that removing the Iraqi leader would benefit Israel, once again, I disagree with Mr. Moran. I would be delighted if we can protect America's interests and, at the same time, help make Israelis more secure from the daily terrorism they suffer.


We find Rep. James P. Moran's "blame the Jews" remark at a March 3 anti-war forum at St. Anne's Episcopal Church most onerous ("Jewish leaders tell Moran to quit," Metropolitan, Tuesday).
Whether or not American Jews or any other minority support action against Saddam Hussein is not the issue. The issue is Mr. Moran's attempt to scapegoat the Jewish community and feed the anti-Semitic canard of Jews controlling America's foreign policy.
America's national security policies have been debated and shaped by the Bush administration and Congress on the merits of U.S. interests. Thus, Mr. Moran has displayed an open ignorance of our government's democratic process and insensitivity to American Jews.
Unfortunately, this is just the latest of Mr. Moran's diatribes against Jews and Israel. His viciously anti-Israel remarks at the 2001 national convention of the American Muslim Council and his acceptance of campaign contributions from individuals sympathetic to the Hamas terrorist organization have brought outrage from our community. This latest episode is the proverbial last straw, and the most honorable way to rectify this matter would be for the congressman to resign.

Senior executive vice president
American Jewish Congress
National capital region

In considering the current dust-up over Rep. James P. Moran's statements that Jewish Americans are partially responsible for the drive toward war, I give you two pieces of evidence:
In a Zogby International poll commissioned by the Council for the National Interest in November, 48 percent of likely voters, both Jewish and non-Jewish, agreed that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's policies were endangering American security.
Avner Cohen, author of the definitive work on the Israeli nuclear establishment, remarked that Jewish Americans were especially concerned that the actions of a few (such as Pentagon adviser Richard Perle) were endangering the American Jewish community, particularly if the war turned out to be even a mild disaster.
The person who raised the question with Mr. Moran, obviously, also was concerned that Jewish Americans would be blamed, and he responded accordingly. It is, of course, Mr. Sharon's Likud Party that should be blamed for encouraging and campaigning for placing war with Iraq by America before peace with the Palestinians.


Smart recovery doesn't justify dumb law

Like everyone else, I am thrilled that Elizabeth Smart was found, unharmed, and is back with her family ("Prayers for missing girl answered with a 'miracle,' " Page 1, Thursday). My heart goes out to the Smarts, and I wish them well.
I am, however, exasperated by the flurry of excitement this case has generated over the purported need for a national Amber Alert law to federalize the existing child-alert system. A nationalized system wouldn't have helped Elizabeth or her family, but it would represent one more major usurpation by the federal government of a function perfectly well performed by the states.
Law enforcement is a local and state function. It is one thing for the states to exchange information through the FBI or other national agencies. It is another thing entirely for the federal government to take over yet another aspect of local and state autonomy. It pains me, particularly, to see Republican legislators, supposedly committed to the principle of subsidiarity in government, rushing to hand over yet another aspect of our lives to Uncle Sam.
The states are perfectly capable of managing an Amber Alert system, and they should. The federal government should devote its energies to national priorities.


Rationalizing war

The flaw in Richard Rahn's argument in "Is war economically rational?" (Commentary, Thursday) is that by rational he seems to mean statistically justifiable.
For example, he cites the September 11 attack that killed about 3,000 people and cost $120 billion. That's only the immediate reality, though. The future mother of a future doctor or inventor may have died on September 11, so what is the ultimate human and economic cost of that?
Conversely, a future world tyrant may have died on that day, so maybe the deaths of 3,000 served some good, saving millions of lives and trillions of dollars.
However, if we cannot know such material costs to justify war, do we have to revert to Mr. Rahn's numerical premise? If just one person died in a terrorist attack sponsored, say, by Saddam Hussein, and caused a $10,000 loss to the economy, would Mr. Rahn claim that a war against Saddam's regime would not be justified? Or must a greater cost do the trick?
At root, crime is an attack not merely on people or wealth but on a way of life. Every civilized individual can grasp this, knowing that this intangible value must be defended above all else. We pursue criminals even if our expenditures exceed the cost of their crimes. The cost of not doing so is incalculable.

Holden, Mass.

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