- The Washington Times - Monday, May 19, 2003

Israel should follow U.S. example

Enough said about the dysfunctional and impractical road map that is supposed to bring peace to the Middle East (“Seven killed in Jerusalem bus bombing,” Page 1, Sunday). Instead, consider President Bush’s original and inspired vision for the creation of a Palestinian state in exchange for a secure and sovereign Israel.

The solution lies not in a plan fashioned by foreigners, which poses grave dangers to Israel, but rather in Israel’s adoption of the U.S. doctrine of pre-emption, which the president has outlined so succinctly: that the best way to get rid of terrorists is to find them and eliminate them before they can harm us again.

In the same way that Mr. Bush challenged the United Nations to enforce its own resolutions vis-a-vis Iraq’s violations of the peace terms Saddam Hussein agreed to in 1991, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon should now induce the international community to declare the Oslo Accord null and void in view of violations by Yasser Arafat and his corrupt PLO. Also, just as Mr. Bush warned Saddam Hussein to disarm voluntarily or be disarmed by force, Mr. Sharon should warn the PLO leader of Israel’s impending all-out assault on the war on terrorism and then proceed to eliminate the terrorists before they kill more Israelis.

As long as Mr. Arafat remains in command, Israel will not see peace. Mr. Sharon should retract his promise not to harm or expel Mr. Arafat — the best-known terrorist of all time — and adopt our own doctrine of pre-emption. Only then will Israel have a chance at securing peace, not by way of a plan Israelis fear will only lead to the creation of yet another terrorist state in their midst, but rather by using the only weapon terrorists and their ilk understand — the mighty Israeli military force.

CARIN SALA

Palm Beach, Fla.

Taking PETA out to lunch

Columnist Debra Saunders seems hell-bent on criticizing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ (PETA) efforts to lessen animal suffering (“PETA’s pecking orders,” Commentary, Saturday), but most compassionate people want animals to be treated more humanely. That’s why PETA instituted a public pressure campaign against KFC to bring about the changes customers want.

Just recently, KFC’s president flew to PETA headquarters and pledged to take some steps to improve the living and dying conditions of chickens, including providing these intelligent, social, interesting birds with mental and physical stimulation. However, KFC needs to breed leaner, healthier birds instead of drugging and breeding them so that they grow so quickly that they can barely stand and are in constant pain from splintered limbs, and to switch to gas killing, an accepted method that helps prevent birds from being scalded and slaughtered while fully conscious.

HEATHER MOORE

Correspondent

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk

Like all of the other columnists who have dutifully lined up to attack PETA in the pages of The Washington Times, Debra Saunders is a scaremonger and a hypocrite.

While it is clear that PETA’s Bruce Friedrich would not shed any tears to see a McDonald’s go up in flames, he has never, as Mrs. Saunders implied, suggested harming another living being, human or otherwise. Comparing the destruction of an inanimate object such as a slaughterhouse to the taking of human lives is obscene and an insult to the victims of September 11 and other terrorist attacks.

Mrs. Saunders and her newfound friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center (an irrelevant organization that is a favorite among the far right in its quest to relive its glory days by reporting on the “threat” posed by animal rights activists) are the ones providing material support to terrorists. If paying for and eating the flesh of terrified and tortured living, breathing, feeling animals isn’t supporting terrorism, I don’t know what is.

GRAHAM WOODS

Silver Spring

Saudis and terrorism

Thank you for running Clifford D. May’s column “Can the Saudis sever ties to terror?” (Commentary, Sunday). Kudos also to your paper for its consistently bold and informative reporting on Saudi Arabia’s promotion of extremist hate.

Though the Saudi government claims it opposes terrorism — and perhaps, one hopes, finally is ready to confront it — it is clear that in every terrorist bombing, the world is reaping the fruits of the seeds of hate that the Saudi government for years sowed and cultivated on its own soil.

On Sunday, NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Tim Russert took Saudi spokesman Adel al-Jubeir to task for the Saudi government’s longstanding complicity in funding Palestinian terrorists, who have murdered hundreds of Israelis and for promoting the Wahhabi extremism that gave birth to al-Qaeda, which has murdered thousands of Americans.Mr. Russert, who too often backs down when confronting Arab officials on their promotion of anti-American and anti-Semitic jihadist extremism, this time cited numerous examples of Saudi support for hate and terror, including those reported in The Washington Times.

Your paper should be commended for its efforts to expose the Saudis’ double game.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

Concord, Calif.

Bureaucratic promotions

Donald Devine, former director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), made what may be purposely misleading statements in his column “Defense personnel revisions” (Commentary, Friday). I specifically point to his statement, “War is simply too important to be left to union micromanaging or in the hands of an incompetent executive who has been inappropriately promoted simply because he or she had seniority.”

I have worked for the Department of Defense for 30 years. If seniority were a criterion for promotion to the executive level, I would be running my agency. The fact is that promotions in the department are based on merit. After all, we have a merit pay system. There is some corruption in the system, insofar as political connections may overrule merit in some instances. However, mere seniority is never a factor in who gets promoted. The most common instance in which an incompetent person is placed in an executive position is the result of political appointees being placed in a federal agency when they have no experience in that agency or the federal government as a whole. These people — kind of like Mr. Devine — then proceed to run around trumpeting their preconceived notions about how the system works. If under Mr. Devine’s direction the OPM was promoting employees on the basis of seniority, it was Mr. Devine’s fault.

Interestingly, the one group of folks in the department who are promoted and paid based strictly on seniority are military officers. Military officers are promoted en masse when their year group becomes eligible by way of time in rank. A quota is set, such as that 72 percent of eligibles will be promoted. A promotion board then cuts the bottom 28 percent, and everyone else is promoted. Then the military sets about trying to find the newly promoted officers a job that requires someone of that rank. Civilians, on the other hand, can be promoted only when a job becomes vacant. Then they apply and compete for the job and the accompanying promotion.

It seems to me that Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld should reform the military promotional policy first, because that directly affects our war-fighting capability. You wouldn’t want an officer leading troops into battle who got promoted simply for the amount of time he has been in the service and just made the cutoff line, would you?

STEVEN W. BRENNAN

Waldorf, Md.

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