- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 29, 2003

Specter’s independence

William Reynolds, in his Monday letter to the editor (“Specter’s ‘independence,’”), makes a poor case that his boss, Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, ought to be chairman of the Judiciary Committee. In fact, he raises troubling new questions.

Mr. Reynolds, in an effort to downplay Mr. Specter’s endorsement of Roe v. Wade, points to the senator’s votes for Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony M. Kennedy, both of whom voted in 1992 to uphold Roe. More recently, Justice O’Connor went further and ruled that states had no right to stop partial-birth abortion.

Mr. Reynolds implies that if Mr. Specter’s support of legalized abortion formed a litmus test, Justice O’Connor and Justice Kennedy would have failed as too anti-abortion. One shivers to think how much further than Justice O’Connor Mr. Specter would go to defend abortion.

Mr. Specter and Mr. Reynolds are not merely asking for a place on the judiciary panel; they are campaigning for chairman. Merely voting for some conservative and moderate nominees does not offset the fact that Mr. Specter feels more at home with the activist liberal mindset of Justices David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg than he does with the jurisprudence of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. This puts Mr. Specter out of sync with the president and places him outside the mainstream of the Republican Party.

A judiciary chairman needs to be a champion of conservative nominees.

Mr. Specter’s record (including his vote against Judge Robert Bork) and Mr. Reynolds’ myopic view of the judiciary show that Arlen Specter is not that man.



Countering shots from the Democrats

In regard to the article, “Bush approves ad countering Democrats’ shots,” (Nation, Tuesday): Although Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie described himself as “baffled,” he should have considered also using the adjectives “dazed” and “confused” as he spun his way around the Bush ads running in Iowa.

It’s not clear to thinking folks how Mr. Gillespie can equate presidential contender Howard Dean’s call for replacing U.S. troops in Iraq with international troops with a call for “retreat,” as the GOP maven put it. Perhaps Mr. Gillespie needs to learn how to listen better so his spin can hold some semblance of logic, rather than the foul aftertaste of a half-truth. It’s also not clear to rational people why reporter Bill Sammon failed to call him on it by detailing Mr. Dean’s actual proposals.


Arlington Heights, Ill.


In “Bush approves ad countering Democrats’ shots,” Bill Sammon prints an inaccurate representation made by Ed Gillespie without providing factual information to the contrary.

Howard Dean has not ever advocated that we leave Iraq without rebuilding it. Quite the contrary, he has stated repeatedly that failure in Iraq is not an option. Mr. Dean made specific recommendations for success in rebuilding Iraq last spring, apparently long before President Bush made those considerations.

Mr. Dean has repeatedly urged that multinational troops gradually replace American ones in an international effort that would more likely result in success than the unilateral plan currently being pursued by this administration. Additionally, Mr. Dean’s plan would save American lives and taxpayer dollars.


Tallahassee, Fla.

Maybe not a new leaf for Canada

coming change in political leadership in Canada (“Turning over a new leaf,” Friday, Editorial). Optimism about the future is a fundamental part of being American.

Canada’s future prime minister, Paul Martin, is not “a fiscal conservative,” although he desperately wants people to perceive him as one. In the 1990s, the budget was balanced by dramatically reducing federal transfers to the provinces in education and health care, which led to higher provincial expenditures and a decline in services in these sectors. I believe the correct description is “passing the buck.” The only real expense cuts were to our already severely underfunded military. Mr. Martin’s tax cuts were a good example of giving with one hand while taking with the other. A reduction in income tax was combined with an increase in employment-insurance (EI) premiums, which go into general operating revenues. Now, the EI program has a surplus that is used by the governing Liberals to fund their pet projects.

As for friendlier relations with the United States, I agree that Mr. Martin will be better than Mr. Chretien, but I am not sure it will be much better. It’s pretty easy to improve upon Mr. Chretien’s record. A key indicator to watch for is whom Mr. Martin appoints to Cabinet. One of the leading contenders is current backbencher Carolyn Parrish, the member of parliament who once infamously called Americans “bastards.” Not exactly an appointment that would improve U.S.-Canada relations.

The real legacy of the Chretien-Martin era will be the missed opportunity of the 1990s, demonstrated by the growing gap in the standard of living between Canadians and Americans. On the last Thursday in November, I always give thanks for having America as a neighbor. Your freedom, faith and optimism are inspiring. As a conservative in Canada, I’m not as optimistic about the coming change in leadership.


New Hamburg, Ontario

Mr. Clark and Milosevic

I believe Wesley Clark is taking a foolish chance in testifying against former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic (“Clark to testify on Milosevic,” Nation, Nov. 17). As a candidate for the presidency, Mr. Clark’s record as supreme commander of NATO should be taken into account.

First, his relationship with Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was indicted in the massacre of several thousand men during the civil war in Bosnia in 1995, is questionable. Second, as NATO commander during the bombing campaign against Mr. Milosevic in 1999, Gen. Clark was a party to the 78-day assault, which killed 500 innocent civilians.

The fact that high-altitude conventional bombing was used because of the Serbs’ accurate anti-aircraft missile potential is no excuse. In 1999, the United States had the most accurate precision-bombing technology in the world, but used it in Yugoslavia only for very specific strategic targets. Those targets in heavily populated cities such as Belgrade were bombed with “dumb bombs” unnecessarily.

Not only could hundreds of lives have been spared, but the campaign could also have been shortened by half if President Clinton had listened to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, which had advocated taking out the Serb anti-aircraft-missile defenses with our superior technology. Yes, a few air crew members would have died or been captured. But, this is preferable to killing innocent civilians who have nothing to say about their country’s policies.

Mr. Clark’s personal stand on the bombing decisions will inevitably be aired at the trial — adversely, I’m afraid.



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