- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 4, 2004

Address the issues, please

In response to the March 26 Op-Ed piece by Diana West, “The tale of two tales”: Miss West might consult a fairly extensive list of logical fallacies.

Miss West’s entire piece is an ad hominem attack on Richard A. Clarke. If she had been debating this topic in my classroom, she definitely would have lost points for obfuscation, errors in logic and failing to deal with the relevant issues.

In particular, Mr. Clarke has made two accusations against the Bush administration that are extremely relevant to President Bush’s given justification for his being returned to office in November. These accusations are that, as president, Mr. Bush did not make fighting terrorism a very high priority in the first eight months of his administration, and that after September 11, Mr. Bush took us into a war of choice in Iraq that was a distraction from actually destroying our sworn terrorist enemy, al Qaeda, the admitted perpetrator of the attacks. There was not a single word in Miss West’s piece that made any attempt whatsoever to refute either of these two substantial charges by Mr. Clarke.


Redmond, Wash.

It’s the intelligence, stupid

Quite to the contrary that the September 11 commission report will boost Sen. John Kerry’s standing when released, as Bob Mulholland and other Democrats believe, as noted in Donald Lambro’s column “Political prognosis” (Commentary, Thursday): The report is sure to allude to inaction by several administrations.

However, it will most likely pin the majority of the responsibility on the failure of the intelligence agencies. Mr. Kerry’s ratings could take a nose dive if President Bush’s campaign is not afraid to drive the point home.



‘Toy-soldier coat’

Friday’s letter from Dede Faller, “‘Antiwar’ should read ‘anti-Bush,’” is a classic example of someone putting pen in hand before the brain is engaged. The little-known facts mentioned in the letter are so little known that the writer may be the only one who knows them. The writer’s willingness to group all of the world’s Iraq war protesters into one neat package is typical of those who would rather rant than think. Calling all those who do protest “tactical allies” of Saddam Hussein is in the same mold as President Bush’s comments about those who oppose his policies. Such statements should be made very carefully. Those people, who for whatever reason, oppose the war in Iraq greatly outnumber those who support it.

I, for one, oppose the uncalled-for and unjustified war that has taken almost 600 American lives and cost more than 3,500 other casualties. My opposition does not show contempt for either Mr. Bush or my country. I demonstrated my support for my country by serving 28 years in the Marine Corps, with almost 18 months of that in Vietnam. It is hard for me to remember why I should respect a president who hid in the Air National Guard rather than join my friends and me in serving in Vietnam.

It is especially hard when I see him wearing his toy-soldier coat as he raises millions of dollars for his re-election while claiming to be a “war president.” I just feel sorry for one so insecure and so immature that he must wear a toy-soldier coat.


Ormond Beach, Fla.

Squeezing the bottle

Debora S. Foster, vice president of corporate communications for H.J. Heinz Co., in her Thursday letter, “No ketchup connection to Kerry,” points out that presidential candidate John Kerry does not own or run the company and that there is good reason for Heinz to build and operate plants abroad, where it sells its products. But she says nothing to rebut the charges against Mr. Kerry that he is a hypocrite.

Mr. Kerry has railed against corporations that employ people overseas, saying this is the reason for a loss of American jobs. He calls them “traitor companies” and made this contention a linchpin of his campaign. But his wife holds a sizable interest ($60 million) in the Heinz Corp., a “traitor company,” and according to Ms. Foster, she held a much larger interest until 1995 (she inherited some $700 million).

Shouldn’t Mr. Kerry and members of his family divest all holdings in “traitor companies,” as liberals did with companies doing business in South Africa when apartheid was still imposed on blacks there? Mr. Kerry is a hypocrite to enjoy huge profits from “traitor companies,” while railing against them as the reason for slow job growth in the United States.

It was reported Thursday that Laura Tyson, an economic adviser for the Kerry campaign, said that American companies employing workers overseas was a relatively small part of the U.S. job loss problem, thereby painting Mr. Kerry as an economic neophyte.

Mr. Kerry recently pledged that he will produce 10 million new jobs in four years as president. The next day he reduced the pledge to five million. But since presidents have little effect on job creation, there is no way he can guarantee such an achievement. His pledge is reminiscent of an Elmer Gantry charlatan.

When Bill Clinton ran for president, it was said that we would get two leaders — Bill and Hillary — if we voted for him. If we vote for Mr. Kerry, we can get three undesirable characteristics — a hypocrite, an economic neophyte and a charlatan — not to mention an accomplished flip-flopper.


Silver Spring

The barnyard at Barnum

We at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are disappointed that The Washington Times chose to promote Bello Nock and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus (“Juggling family life, clowning for circus,” Weekend, Thursday) without mentioning the circus’ horrible record of animal abuse and neglect.

In one case, Ringling forced an endangered baby elephant to perform even though he was sick. He died just hours after his third appearance in the ring in one day. Ringling officials also took a baby elephant away from his mother before she could teach him to swim. He drowned while fleeing from a handler who was prodding him with a bullhook. In another tragic case, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) warned Ringling for causing “unnecessary trauma, behavioral stress, physical harm, and discomfort” to two other baby elephants who suffered painful injuries when they were dragged, crying and struggling, from their mothers.

In another case, a captured sea lion was found dead in the carrier Ringling used to transport her. Government inspectors have also cited Ringling for endangering tigers who were nearly baked alive in a boxcar, for failure to provide animals with sufficient space and for failure to provide animals with adequate exercise. Readers are encouraged to read more about Ringling’s animal deaths and USDA citations, investigations, penalties and warnings at Circuses.com before deciding to go to the circus.


Staff writer

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)


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