- The Washington Times - Friday, February 27, 2004

Mouthfuls of bioterror?

Less than four months after the September 11 attacks, the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy conducted a forum titled “Food, Air, Water and Terrorism: Assessing the Risk.” Your article regarding the vulnerability of the U.S. food supply (“Outbreak points out vulnerability of U.S. food supply,” Page 1, Tuesday) offers a reminder that food safety remains a crucial issue for Americans.

A disease outbreak such as mad cow or the avian flu could be a natural event — or a terrorist action — and determining the actual source could be extremely difficult because a terrorist incident could occur against the background of natural disease.

Dealing with terrorism related to food, water and air is a public health activity requiring surveillance, detection, analysis and action. Time is essential in detection and response. New technologies offer the ability to detect agents on-site, with confirmation by experts made remotely in real time. How do we use these technologies most effectively, given the threat to society and our economy, without instilling needless fear in the population?

The Homeland Security Department has been asked to take the lead in coordinating the efforts of numerous government agencies, farmers, processors and medical professionals. Our forum suggested a single food safety agency that could coordinate surveillance and response.

Responsibility cannot be solely governmental, but must involve the private sector and academia as well. There has been good federal interagency collaboration, but effectively linking the federal, state and local pieces remains elusive. A strategic framework is needed to maximize the use of resources, and significant new investment in the public health infrastructure is essential.

Just how secure do we need to be? The answer is a fundamental issue on which to build. Resources aren’t unlimited; there must be prioritization of strategies and interventions on a cost-benefit basis, as well as benchmarks for measuring progress.

VICEADM.HAROLDM. KOENIG

Navy Medical Corps (retired)

Former Navy surgeon general

President

Annapolis Center for Science Based Public Policy

Annapolis

Codifying an institution

President Bush has declared his support for a constitutional amendment to deny a segment of our population equal protection under the law (“Bush urges amendment on marriage,” Page 1, Wednesday). Why? Democrats have been trying to get President Bush to swing at a pitch in the dirt, and he did. A constitutional amendment is an entirely wrongheaded idea. Many people hang their hats on the “majority of Americans” argument, which is yet another example of bozo thinking. This is not an issue worthy of our national attention. It is a tempest in a teapot.

BRADLEY BLISS

Fairport, N.Y.

Because some states cannot seem to enforce a ban on same-sex “marriage” in their own territory, President Bush has been forced to call for a constitutional ban.

Comedian Rosie O’Donnell recently remarked that Mr. Bush’s intent to encourage the constitutional amendment and his comments on the subject were “vile” and “hateful.” What Miss O’Donnell doesn’t acknowledge is that the president is representing the majority of Americans (isn’t that the whole idea?) and taking a stand for the high moral ground, while she, her partner and all those who take part in or support same-sex “marriage” are redefining traditional values and undermining the moral principles of this country.

What “civil disobedience” will we see next? Thanks to a very vocal minority, and a mayor and attorney general who kowtow to that minority, encouraging unlawful activity instead of enforcing the law, Americans are on a slippery moral slope and sliding fast.

MARTHA WINDSCHEIF

Rochester Hills, Mich.

Disappointingly but not surprisingly, President Bush has taken a divisive approach on this issue. It will help him with his base of voters but will cost him crucial votes from moderate and independent voters such as me. I find it very offensive that he is trying to use the constitution to turn back civil rights, something that has never happened in the history of this great nation.

I also find this vague idea of protecting the institution of marriage offensive. I don’t see how same-sex “marriages” can hurt my straight marriage. If same-sex “marriages” turn out to be more solid than straight ones, maybe they even could help straight ones. And trying to claim that a marriage is only between a man and a woman is no different from claiming the front of the bus is only for whites. Clouding this argument by using religion only ignores how often religious beliefs have been and still are wrong on these types of issues.

ARUN GUPTA

Easton, Conn.

As an American and a gay man, I am sickened that anyone would oppose my marriage to whomever I choose. As a gay man in the United States, I have kept faith in the Constitution and the courts and in my elected officials to do the right thing. Unfortunately, many of the people who support gay men and lesbians on some issues are completely wrong on the issue of marriage. I, for one, believe there can be no compromise on this issue, and that civil unions, domestic partnerships and the like are separate and unequal forms of marriage and don’t suffice.

Regardless of partisan affiliation, if you oppose same-sex marriages, you are anti-gay; moreover, you have failed to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

RODNEY MOORE

New Orleans

The president spoke Tuesday morning about the sanctity of marriage to the population of our country. Tell me, with 50 percent of marriages ending in divorce and with shows such as “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance” and “Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?” on which people marry purely for the sake of money, to what sanctity is he referring?

The real issue behind same-sex marriage is twofold. It’s about safety and security for couples who have spent years together, couples such as my partner and I, who buy homes together, raise children together and buy possessions together. It’s also about freedom and rights for all people, the things that make this country what it is.

JESSICA SWIFT

Beaverton, Ore.

The same-sex “marriage” debate rages on. We have heard from the activist courts, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a county court clerk in New Mexico, Rosie O’Donnell and a host of radical “spokespeople.”

Perhaps we should hear from leaders of organizations that have the greatest interest, the clergy. Only the radicals desire to dignify this issue with loud proclamations. I’m certain the clergy doesn’t want to sully the waters of decency with a statement.

Oh, I forgot the Episcopalians.

DAVID SCHLOSSER

Arlington

President Bush is right to take this threat of same-sex “marriage” by the horns and provide leadership. If the other side does not relent, we will have to proceed full-throttle to passingaconstitutional amendment. And get ready for more amendments. We are afflicted with an out-of-control, runaway judiciary, which is the tail wagging the proverbial dog. Congress needs to impeach at least one federal judge a year. Congress hired them, and Congress can remove any or all of them at any time. This needs to be hammered home, and then we wouldn’t have this same-sex-“marriage” crisis and others like it. It is a “made in the courts” crisis.

ROBERT SHARP

Executive director

Leadership Forum Coalition

Vienna Office 202 484 7427 Cell: 703 508 1267 Home 703 267 6565

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide