- The Washington Times - Monday, January 19, 2004

Responsibilities and rights

Some excellent points were made in Saturday’s editorial “Defenseless in D.C.” If the District of Columbia is going to remove self-defense as a legal alternative for all its residents, then by default the city assumes responsibilitytoprovide defense for its unarmed inhabitants and visitors.

Is the city willing to guarantee legally that it will provide appropriate and timely protection to all its unarmed residents and visitors? Is the city willing, as a result, to assume legal responsibility if it does not provide adequate, timely and appropriate defense? For instance, a crook is breaking into your home. You dial 911 as you are supposed to do. You try to delay the intruder as best as you can; however, the intruder breaks down the door and kills everyone in the home — all in less than a few minutes. The police, as usual, are nowhere in sight for whatever reason. Can the relatives or estate sue the city for the deaths of the people it assumed responsibility to protect because those people could not legally protect themselves? Keep up the good work.


Rome, Ga.

One step, two step, missteps

I enjoyed Stephen Moore’s Wednesday Commentary column, “Clueless … with a vengeance,” regarding Paul O’Neill’s missteps as secretary of the treasury. However, given the title of his column, I found ironic the number of errors Mr. Moore made.

Mr. Moore asserted that 500,000 jobs have been created since President Bush’s 2003 tax cuts took effect. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total number of jobs has declined. Bush administration officials initially predicted the tax cuts would create 500,000 new jobs, and Mr. Moore appears to have mistaken this prediction for reality.

Furthermore, since Mr. Bush took office, approximately 2.5 million jobs have been lost, and barring an economic miracle, Mr. Bush will be the first president since Herbert Hoover to preside over a net loss of jobs during his term in office.

Of course, the economy has enjoyed a rebound in recent months, creating 278,000 jobs since last summer. Mr. Moore credits the growing economy to Mr. Bush’s tax cuts. Though some of the recent economic growth may be attributable to the tax cuts, Mr. Moore makes no mention of other key factors contributing to the recovery. One is interest rates, which have fallen to levels not seen in more than 40 years.

Perhaps more important is the cyclical nature of the economy. The economic cycle appears to be on an upswing, even if overall job growth in this recovery has been a minute fraction of the job growth in most recoveries of the past 50 years.

Mr. Moore repeatedly takes Mr. O’Neill to task for his opposition to Mr. Bush’s tax cuts, arguing that further tax cuts are the answer to our economic woes. Though there may be merit in short-term, targeted tax cuts, Mr. Moore makes no mention of their long-term dangers. He ridicules Mr. O’Neill as “a man who is hypersensitive to the deficit,” while making no mention of this year’s projected half-trillion-dollar deficit and our mounting national debt. Though huge deficits may be sustainable in the short term, they are not in the long run. I would advise Mr. Moore to consider the situation in Argentina if he has any doubts.

Finally, I would like to note that the correct spelling of Mr. O’Neill’s last name is O’Neill, not O’Neil, as Mr. Moore spelled it throughout his commentary.



Human rights, Cuba and the ALA

The recent article “U.S. librarians ‘fail’ jailed Cubans” (Nation, Friday) misrepresents the position of the American Library Associations’ (ALA) governing council on matters relating to intellectual freedom in Cuba.

The ALA didn’t fail anyone, but The Washington Times failed by the content and tone of the article to accurately represent ALA’s views.

We took the time to give The Times the entire ALA report and even to highlight the most important words on this issue. Please read them.

“This political climate brought on primarily by U.S. Government and Cuban Government legislation and policies in recent years should not be countered by censorship and imprisonment.

“Neither the Cuban Government nor any other government has the right to stifle or obstruct the free expression of opinions and ideas.”

ALA joins IFLA (International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions) in its deep concern over the arrest and long prison terms of political dissidents in Cuba in spring 2003 and urges the Cuban government to respect, defend and promote the basic human rights defined in Article 19 of the U.N. Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

ALA supports IFLA in urging the Cuban government to eliminate obstacles to access to information imposed by its policies and also backs IFLA in its support for an investigative visit by a special rapporteur of the U.N. High Commission on Human Rights with special attention given to freedom of access to information and freedom of expression, especially in the cases of those individuals recently imprisoned, and asks that the reasons for and conditions of their detention be fully investigated.

A truly curious and informed reader will want to read the full ALA report on thiscomplexissueat https://www.ala.org.


Chairman, International Relations Committee; past president

American Library Association


One more point

Cal Thomas’ Sunday Commentary column,”O’Neill’s charge,” was done so well that only a single point appears to have been overlooked. It is an issue about which I have gritted my teeth for some time.

I wish Mr. Thomas’ evaluation of Mr. O’Neill’s charges, in interviews and book, had struck at the root of the claim that President Bush was “planning” to attack Iraq before September 11.

Among other U.S. military contingency war planners, I have for years observed the practice of hostile observers to use the phrase “contingency war plans” as a wonderful tool for equivocating. This special art form of lying depends upon a word or phrase having two or more meanings. The one who intends to deceive knows well that the victim will take the one conveying the lie. If challenged, the equivocator can then fall back on the other meaning.

We recently had eight years of exposure to a master’s use of this tool of the con artist. Spending years working under a department headed “war plans,” I learned that the general public did not understand that a contingency plan did not signify an intention or a decision to employ that plan. The common reaction is, “then why have it?” The answer, which should be obvious but certainly is not, is that a military commander cannot wait until an emergency occurs before beginning a plan to deploy forces.

This means that hundreds of contingency plans must be prepared and updated for many places and potential emergencies worldwide. I am inclined to excuse the ignorance of this distinction by the general public. I suggest that we be very suspicious of news folks, writers or politicians who probably understand perfectly but glide over the distinction and challenge, “Did you not have plans to do this?”


U.S. Air Force (retired)

Branchport, N.Y.

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