- The Washington Times - Friday, February 6, 2004

Playing with the big boys

So, Wesley Clark Jr. is upset at the media for publicizing the fact that drivers for his father’s presidential campaign were ticketed for speeding a few days before the Oklahoma primary (“Frustrated Son,” InsidePolitics,Nation, Wednesday). Does he not remember how the media revealed five days before the 2000 presidential election that George W. Bush had been arrested on a drunken-driving charge in 1976 and how that nearly cost him the election? Does he not remember how the California media waited until a few days before the gubernatorial recall election to publish stories about women who claimed Arnold Schwarzenegger had groped them years earlier?

Wesley Clark, senior and junior, welcome to the court of public opinion, where anything you ever have said or done, yesterday or decades ago, can and will be used against you, even if you’re a Democrat. And slow down on the roads — speed kills.

STEVEN ZELL

West Hartford, Conn.

Let’s talk about it

A statement made by columnist and ex-Pakistani diplomat Afzaal Mahmood is unacceptable (“Pakistani’s appeal,” Embassy Row, Tuesday). He wrote: “Compared to India, we are a small country and cannot hope to be an effective rival of our big neighbor in international politics. It is therefore futile on our part to oppose India’s efforts to achieve its potential and act as a big power in world politics. We simply cannot prevent it.”

Pakistan is not a longtime rival of India. Instead, history and political developments in South Asia reveal it is India that has never accepted the creation of Pakistan in 1947. India is a much larger country than Pakistan, but it also has the world’s largest number of poor people. Of its nearly 1 billion inhabitants, an estimated 350 million to 400 million are below the poverty line, and 75 percent of them in the rural areas. The Indian government has the responsibility to alleviate poverty and external debt to provide a better living standard for its people. This could be achieved only through a stable economy and a lowering of defense expenditures, along with the creation of friendly ties and open relations with neighboring nations.

The recent overtures from the leaders of both nations and the political developments in South Asia will put both nations, Pakistan and India, on a progressive course. It is essential that both nations start a dialogue to resolve the 56-year-old Kashmir issue. De-escalation of armed forces in Kashmir from both sides will bring stability to the region.

Negotiation is the road that leads us from confrontation to cooperation. In most cases, the difficulty lies not in a lack of options, but in the failure to design, negotiate and pursue a process that moves us forward to where we would like to be.

The Bush administration must not let matters rest. Pakistan and India desperately need to initiate a serious dialogue. The United States enjoys close relations with both nations. Washington should use its diplomatic capital to encourage Islamabad and Delhi to get dialogue under way.

SYED REZWI

Association of Pakistani Professionals

Kew Gardens, N.Y.

Renovations at the U.N.

Because the United States is the primary source of funding to the United Nations, and as such would be the primary debtor repaying the “loan,” isn’t it disingenuous to call this transfer of my money to the United Nations a “loan”? (“White House seeks to loan U.N. funds for renovation,” Page 1, Wednesday.) Isn’t it really a gift?

It appears this is just another example of the Bush administration’s Orwellian attempts to deceive American taxpayers into believing spending is fiscal restraint, expanding the size of government is limiting government, and liberalism is conservatism.

JIM KRESS

Northville, Mich.

Well now, why don’t we just send the United Nations to Geneva and save ourselves the $1.5 billion loan (25 percent of which we then have to pay back)? Then we could tear down, rather than renovate, the U.N. building so a new private office building could be built that would pay New York City taxes. That would be a win-win, not a spend-spend, situation.

JACK QUINN

Santa Rosa, Calif.

Abortion is a WMD

Why should it be so hard to find weapons of mass destruction (“Reinforced rationale… amid unknowns,” Commentary, Monday) when they can be found so easily via our government-sponsored abortion clinics right here at home?

How can the perpetrators of such savagery and butchery sleep at night when the haunting but eloquent silence of the millions of snuffed-out lives is so deafening?

MARY D. BRADY

Hagerstown

Clean-burning wind

“Wind power puffery” (Commentary, Wednesday) by H. Sterling Burnett is a confusing and often misleading diatribe against the wind industry.

In his most confusing argument, Mr. Burnett appears to say the following: All of our energy can’t be provided by wind energy; therefore, we need fossil-fuel power plants. Because we also need fossil-fuel power plants — which cause a lot of pollution — we should include some of the pollution from fossil-fuel power plants when we calculate the pollution caused by wind farms. Wow. How’s that for logic?

The simple fact is that a unit of energy produced by wind is far less polluting than the same unit of energy produced by a conventional power plant. As the percentage of energy produced by wind energy in the United States grows, we pollute less.

Some other points:

Mr. Burnett would have us believe that a lot of stupid people are wasting money on wind projects. Does he really think investors like to lose money? Wind energy is not too expensive. At many locations, it is the cheapest fuel. That is why smart companies are investing a lot of money and building wind farms.

Wind production is subsidized partially by the U.S. government. However, fossil fuels also are subsidized, and the market costs of fossil fuels do not include the indirect cost to society of the pollution they generate. On a level playing field, wind is economically competitive. Rapidly improving turbine technology will make it more so in the future.

Mr. Burnett also appears to say that wind energy should not be supported because there are some people who dislike the aesthetics of wind farms. Wind obviously is not appropriate for all sites, but I’m sure Mr. Burnett agrees that we cannot cancel all projects that have any dissenters.

Mr. Burnett grossly exaggerated the past problem of birds interacting with wind turbines. Also, new, larger turbines going into service move much more slowly, and birds can easily avoid the blades.

Wind energy is growing rapidly because it is economical as well as less polluting.

Of course, we still need fossil-fuel power sources, but in many cases wind is the best solution. To not promote and fund wind power would be both shortsighted and bad economics.

JOSEPH DEELY

Santa Clara, Calif.

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