- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 8, 2003

It’s up to Pakistan As a former member of the House International Relations Committee’s subcommittee on South Asia, I have followed events in India and Pakistan very closely. I remain highly skeptical about Pakistan’s seriousness in achieving peace with India (“Armitage visit spurs hope in New Delhi,” World, Monday). There is no doubt that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee wants to leave a legacy of peace, and his offer of detente with Pakistan is genuine. The question really is whether the Pakistani military brass will allow President Pervez Musharraf to make peace with India.Military officers in Pakistan lead a life of luxury that is made possible by their dominant role in defending the country. Active-duty and retired officers practically run all the industries and services in Pakistan. The army owns vast farmland and industrial conglomerates, and defense expenditures consume 22 percent of the nation’s budget. To make peace with India would mean a reduction in this massive defense expenditure and cuts in the officers’ privileged lifestyle. No wonder the biggest stumbling block to peace in South Asia is the Pakistani military and defense establishment.The challenge for Gen. Musharraf will be to keep his fellow generals under tight control while negotiating with India. Failure to do so will result in a military coup and overthrow of his government — a fate suffered by many of his predecessors.MERVYN DYMALLYFormer member, U.S. House of RepresentativesWashingtonRewarding lawbreakersIn defending a bill before Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. that would allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, Steve Abrams, chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, engages in two instances of faulty reasoning (“Equal treatment for illegal aliens,” Letters, yesterday).First, Mr. Abrams describes his support for the measure as being akin to opposing the University of Michigan’s affirmative action policy regarding admissions, which grants preferences to certain racial and ethnic minorities. He justifies the comparison by arguing that in both instances, he is advocating “equal opportunity and advancement through education” for qualified students regardless of race, ethnicity or gender. The only problem with such reasoning is that opposition to the aforementioned affirmative action policy is based on a principle of equal treatment under the law for those legally entitled to be here. Someone who has broken one of this nation’s most basic laws — entering and staying here without permission — should not be afforded an equal footing with those who play by the rules.Second, Mr. Abrams analogizes the status of illegal immigrants with the situation faced by some temporary Maryland residents who bravely are serving abroad in the military and therefore are unable to meet the state’s residency requirements for in-state tuition rates. This comparison is both illogical and a slap in the face to those men and women in the armed forces who may be risking their lives for the freedoms we in this country enjoy. Those who serve abroad in the armed forces should not be penalized for their patriotism and sense of duty by having to pay out-of-state tuition rates, when normally they also would reside in-state and therefore would be in compliance with the state’s residency requirements. Illegal immigrants have broken laws to reside in Maryland, and therefore, they should not be rewarded for this illegal behavior by being permitted to pay in-state tuition rates.It is true, as Mr. Abrams says, that “Maryland will need a better-educated work force to compete with other states and nations in a global economy.” It is not the case, though, that Maryland should undermine this nation’s immigrations laws to achieve that goal.MANUEL J. RIOS JR.RockvilleMore potshots at ‘Tailgunner Joe’The release of the transcripts of Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy’s hearings has occasioned a rehashing of charges against the late former senator, as evidenced in the Associate Press story “McCarthy transcripts unsealed” (Nation, yesterday). Such charges usually are followed by the statement that his character flaws resulted in his December 1954 censure by his fellow senators or are presented in a manner to indicate the censure was based on his performance during the hearings. In fairness to the man, who surely has been vilified sufficiently to satisfy his antagonists, let the record show that he was censured not for falsely accusing anyone of being a communist, but for directing criticism against an Army general and a Senate elections subcommittee.W. RAYMOND WANNALLSilver SpringCharitable careThe Supreme Court’s decision allowing states to take legal action against fund-raisers that engage in deceptive practices is a small victory for donors across America (“Court rules lying about funds is key to telemarketing fraud,” Page 1, yesterday). States can protect donors from aggressive fund-raisers that lie about the intended use of donated funds. Sadly, the outcome of this case results in little real reform, as it does nothing to curtail the excessive fees telemarketers charge charities. At my organization, which helps donors make intelligent giving decisions by providing information on charities and by evaluating the financial health of each of those charities, we have found that the average charity spends 10 percent of its income on fund-raising. The case on which the Supreme Court ruled involved a professional fund-raiser that kept an outrageous 85 percent of the money it raised for a charity. Naively or not, many donors gave generously because they believed their money mostly benefited the charity, not the fund-raiser.Regardless of this ruling, the burden of determining a charity’s efficiency still resides with donors. They must be vigilant in asking charities how their donations will be put to use and adamant about withholding funding if they don’t like the answers they receive. Once donors are empowered to make informed choices, charities will be motivated to promote true reform.TRENT STAMPExecutive directorCharity NavigatorMahwah, N.J.Invalid confessionMike Piazza, a catcher for the New York Mets, was reported to have told Playboy magazine he hopes to settle down with Playboy Playmate Alicia Rickter (“Forgive him, Father,” Sports, April 27). According to the article, “Piazza admits he still confesses to a priest after every time they have sex. …” “I’ve got friends who are priests… If I confess to them, they’ll say, ‘Hey, we teach that you should wait for marriage, but if you care for the girl, that matters too.’ “Mr. Piazza and, amazingly, his priest friends have a distorted understanding of the Roman Catholic Church’s sacrament of confession. A valid confession requires that a person must be truly sorry for one’s sins and must sincerely be willing to make every effort not to commit those sins again. If those elements are not present, the confession is invalid, and sins are not forgiven. If Mr. Piazza doesn’t intend to stop fornicating, it is spiritually pointless for him to go to confession. Also, if he “cares” so much for this girl, why doesn’t he marry her?RICHARD A. RETTARockville

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