- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2003

Follow the money and immigrants

Brenda Walker of Berkeley, Calif., asks, “Why does America allow continued immigration from a culture that despises everything we treasure?” (“Muslim immigration,” Letters, Saturday).

The answer can be found in that old adage,”When in doubt, follow the money.” In 1998, a handful of Loudoun County citizens, myself included, opposed the construction of the Islamic Saudi Academy (ISA) that was to be entirely funded and controlled by the oppressive Saudigovernment.Our other concerns were: that the school compound would be the size of22 football fields; the loss of potentially more than $1 million in yearly tax revenues; subsidizing the children of rich Saudi diplomats;and addingnearly 100 school buses to our already overcrowded roads here in Loudoun County.

I have heard, and I certainly have no reason to doubt,that Prince Bandar (bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz), chairman of the school’s board of directors and dean of the D.C. diplomatic corps, has more than $70 million annually to spread around in this community and in Washington.

To build the school, a zoningexceptionwas made by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.This year, because the allotted time to begin construction had elapsed, theschool authoritieshad to ask for an extension. Althoughthe Loudoun County Zoning Board had another opportunity to stop the construction of the academy in light of the September 11 attacks, Saudi ties to terrorism, the funding of terrorist schools (madrassas) in Pakistan and sermonsof hatred for us in mosquesin our own country, the extension was approved.

The power of Saudi money to overrule American security concerns was exemplified by the statement of an American lawyer who supported building the academy: “You [as Loudoun County citizens] have no right to tell the Saudi government what they can or can’t do in this county.” I’m sure that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and George Mason were rolling in their graves.

The bottom line is that my fellow Loudoun County citizensare more concerned with the Saudis buildingsoftball fields for their youngsters than they are for the security of our nation.

STELLA L. JATRAS

Sterling

An excellent letter written by Brenda Walker cites the change in the attitude toward Jews inFrance as a result of the influx of Muslim immigrants. This certainly leads one to wonder what changes are occurring in the United States as a result of a similar influx that has taken place in recent decades from Third World countries, Muslim and non-Muslim alike.

We have seen a decline in education as a result of crowded classrooms and the fact that many immigrants are deficient in English. We have witnessed increased gang activities in major urban populations. In areas where many immigrants live, we are experiencing increased crime and overcrowded jails, with a large proportion of them recent immigrants, many illegal.

One wonders how soon this country will join the Third World. (By the way, with a predicted population of a billion people by the end of the century, we will almost equal the current population of China.) What kind of quality of life can our future generations expect?

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

Passe PTAs

I am writing in reference to Saturday’s editorial “D.C. PTA mismanagement.” While Linda Moody’s actions as president of that organization certainly deserve to be examined, and the editorial’s call for her resignation seems justified, the editorial’s analysis of the importance of the D.C. PTA is a bit off-base. Committed and organized D.C. parents can do very well with or without the PTA.

As noted in the editorial, the D.C. PTA represents fewer than 5,000 out of more than 67,000 D.C. parents. Those numbers reflect a national trend in which formally affiliated PTAs are growing less and less common. Today, fewer than 25 percent of parent-teacher groups in the United States remain PTAs. In their place, independent groups like Parent Teacher Organizations and others have popped up and are doing great work.

In areas where a PTA is operating effectively, there is valid debate about whether parents are better off with or without one. If the PTA is as unresponsive and possibly irresponsible as the D.C. PTA, there seems to be little debate that parents are better off working independently.

TIM SULLIVAN

Publisher

PTO Today Magazine

Wrentham, Mass.

Anticlimactic crescendo?

William Rusher suggests that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were carefully hidden by the Saddam Hussein regime and that it will take some time to unearth them (“WMD crescendo,” Commentary, Thursday). An alternative possibility is that the alleged caches — reportedly consisting of tons of VX nerve gas, thousands of liters of anthrax, hundreds of mustard gas-filled artillery shells and the like — never existed, at least in the quantities claimed by the Bush administration.

Maybe the problem was bad intelligence all along. Lacking well-placed informants inside Iraq’s weapons establishment, Washington relied largely on intelligence furnished by third-party states and groups with demonstrably pro-interventionist agendas. That some of the reporting received was exaggerated or even fabricated cannot be ruled out. Faulty extrapolations from Baghdad’s weapons programs of the 1980s and 1990s doubtless contributed to the overblown assessments. Just before the outbreak of war, reports surfaced of tarpaulin-covered trucks carrying suspected WMD cargoes in the dead of night from Iraq to Syria. While not disprovable, such accounts play conveniently to the wider conflict scenarios entertained by some Bush administration hawks.

A review of the intelligence sources and methods used in building the case for invasion of Iraq, reportedly now under way at the CIA, perhaps can shed light on these difficult questions and generate the necessary reality checks.

RENS LEE

McLean

Bad analogy

Paul Greenberg’s analogy between the first prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, and his exclusion of a dissident group from the newly formed state of Israel — the Irgun, headed by Menachem Begin — has very little parallel to the task facing Mahmoud Abbas, the new reform prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (“Road map to nowhere,” Commentary, Friday).

The Irgun ship Altalena was sunk, and Mr. Begin at that point disbanded the Irgun. The leaders of an even more extremist group, the Lehi — suspected in the assassination of U.N. mediator Count Folke Bernadotte of Sweden — were arrested and the group permanently disbanded.

These actions by the Israeli government were directed against relatively small groups.So the notion that the so-called terrorism of the Irgun can be compared to that of the Palestinian suicide bombers and jihadists is not tenable.(By the way, the Irgun’s actions were directed against the British, who did not give up Palestine without a fight.)

Mr. Greenberg’s suggestion that Mr. Abbas must follow Mr. Ben-Gurion’s example vis-a-vis Palestinian terrorists is theoretically plausible, but that task is substantially different from that faced by Mr. Ben-Gurion. First, he had strong popular support. Second, he cracked down on renegades, whereas the all-consuming terror of the Palestinian terrorist groups has at least the tacit approval of the official government of the Palestinians, the Palestinian Authority.

MOSES MORDECAI TWERSKY

Providence, R.I.

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