- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 11, 2003

Conned by Kathy Boudin

Regarding William F. Buckley Jr.’s Sept. 27 Commentary column, “The fight to kill,” which contains his admission that he signed a petition for the release of Kathy Boudin, it appears that Mr. Buckley has forgotten his hard-earned lesson from the case of Edgar Smith.

More than 30 years ago, Smith was on death row in New Jersey for the murder of a 15-year-old girl. He was a consummate jailhouse con artist who had authored a book titled “Brief Against Death.” Through written correspondence, Smith used his jailhouse smarts to con the erudite Mr. Buckley into taking up his cause, one of the factors that resulted in Smith’s eventual early release. The story ended badly, with Smith using his newfound freedom to go after women in San Diego. He is still in jail for kidnapping. Hence the lesson Mr. Buckley should have learned.

Now for this business with Boudin, who has been in jail 22 years for her part in the murders of two police officers and a Brink’s guard in a shootout after she and other members of the Weather Underground robbed a Brink’s armored car.

Undoubtedly, her release constitutes an agonizing, in-your-face insult to the families of the slain officers. It won’t be long before Boudin shows up on the various talk shows, posturing smugly about the underlying righteousness of the Weathermen while deploring the unfortunate murders of the police officers and Brink’s guard. (After all, you have to crack a few eggs to make an omelet.)

For Mr. Buckley, it appears that he is passing into the same irreversible senility that overtook Barry Goldwater in his declining years. It’s a sad epilogue for a conservative intellectual who truly was a giant at one time.

JOSEPH A. COLASURDO

Sterling, Va.

Two to tango

The editorial titled “Sorting out Cyprus” (Monday) is long on optimism in respect of a Cyprus settlement but short on the historical facts pertaining to the conflict. By creating the impression that the conflict started in 1974, as opposed to 1963, the editorial sweeps aside a decade of history in which the Turkish Cypriots (then 25 percent, not 18 percent, of the population and, more significantly, legal and political equals in a binational island) were attacked, murdered en masse and driven from their homes and properties in 103 villages. In the ensuing 11 years, the Turkish Cypriots, displaced and disenfranchised, were condemned to live in scattered enclaves, the total area of which was a mere 3 percent of the island. These are the pertinent facts and statistics, not abstract population ratios, that should be taken into account in the long and bitter history of the Cyprus conflict.

It was against this background of violence, culminating in the Greek coup of July 1974, and in accordance with the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960, that Turkey legally and justifiably intervened (not “invaded”). Turkey does not “occupy” Cyprus, but serves as an effective deterrent against the repetition of bloodshed, evidenced by the peace and stability that have prevailed on the island since Turkey’s arrival. If there is an occupation in Cyprus, this is the unilateral occupation by the Greek Cypriot side of the seat of the once bicommunal government of Cyprus. As long as this occupation continues, it is, unfortunately, difficult to see the light at the end of the Cyprus tunnel.

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Taxing problems

Thursday’s editorial “The report on steel,” in an amazing departure for TheWashington Times, endorses a tax increase of $650 million on American consumers and then contends it is a benefit to those taxed. The Bush administration, along with steel consumers, surely disagrees with this analysis.

Further, TheTimes failed to read beyond the executive summary of the International Trade Commission’s (ITC) reports to see the full extent of the damage to U.S. steel-consuming companies contained in the body of the report. The ITC study shows that the tariffs have resulted in increased prices and reduced availability of steel to American steel-using manufacturers, a significant net loss to U.S. businesses in decreased returns on capital and labor, findings of declines of quality of steel in the year following the imposition of the tariffs and a marked shift by customers to offshore sourcing of steel-containing products.

In fact, more than half of steel users said they had trouble passing on costs to customers, with 43 percent reporting they couldn’t do it. Twenty-four percent of steel consumers reported that they lost customers to overseas competition in just the first year of the tariffs. As for jobs, nearly 34 percent said employment would go up if the tariffs were lifted.

Finally, President Bush has the authority to terminate the Section 201 tariffs under a statutory criterion that TheTimes editorial neglected to mention: that changed economic circumstances are undermining the effectiveness of the relief. The strong evidence provided in the ITC report of changed economic circumstances is certainly reason enough to end the tariffs on steel, which are damaging the economy and the 13 million workers in steel-consuming industries.

LEWIS LEIBOWITZ

Counsel

Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition Steel Task Force (CITAC STF)

Washington

Defending Rush

John R. Lott Jr. asks (“Media bias,” Op-Ed, Friday) whether it is possible even to discuss race in sports without being called racist. It’s not for white conservatives, nor is that limited to sports. Those with short memories forget how liberals claimed Clarence Thomas was elevated to the Supreme Court not because he was qualified, but because he was black.

Judging by the vehement denunciation of Rush Limbaugh’s supposedly racist remarks about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb on ESPN, one would have thought Mr. Limbaugh had called New York “Hymietown,” as Jesse Jackson once did, instead of criticizing McNabb’s performance, as any sports commentator has a right to do, and saying McNabb gets a break from the media because he is black, as any political commentator has a right to do.

The fact is that other credible sports reporters have uttered almost identical criticisms of McNabb’s career, and perhaps we need to look at the career of former New York Times wunderkind Jayson Blair to be reminded of how white liberals often can overlook the deficiencies of blacks they want to succeed in an age in which everyone is equal but some are more equal than others.

Perhaps those who object to Mr. Limbaugh’s being race-conscious about sports can explain why NFL teams can be fined after hiring a head coach of the wrong race. The Detroit Lions got hit with a $200,000 fine in July because the team didn’t interview a black candidate before hiring white head coach Steve Mariucci.

Mr. Limbaugh’s remarks were not racist, except in the minds of those who wish to silence his powerful and effective conservative voice. Rush Limbaugh is a powerful spokesman for liberty and freedom. His enemies know that silencing him and discrediting him would be a significant victory in the battle of ideas. So instead of having an honest debate on sports and race, we are witnessing a feeding frenzy of character assassination designed to discredit and silence a man who single-handedly has changed the political culture of America for the better.

Revenge would be sweet, and revenge is what it’s all about.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

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