- The Washington Times - Friday, January 2, 2004

The Democrats and 2004

In reference to yesterday’s editorial “Piling on Dean”: Howard “Always Angry” Dean has wide support among select groups of generally one-issue interests. As the writers indicate, the foundation of Mr. Dean’s support is built partly on sand, with most of those granules of sand represented by the Society of Chardonnay Sippers, the American Association of Tree Huggers, the Federation of Snail Darter Preservationists and the Coalition of Ivory Tower Knuckleheads; in other words, to paraphrase Mr. Dean, the left wing of the Democratic party.

Those Democrats who are more interested in substance than style, more concerned with issues than caricatures of the strange denizens of Texas, find the always-angry Mr. Dean tiresome. We are looking for a more sober standard-bearer, an optimist with a doable agenda ready to recognize that not every Republican issue or politician is subservient to the fat cats. In that search, we find Sen. John Kerry devoid of credibility; Rep. Richard A. Gephardt with little support; and poor Sen. Joe Lieberman, the best of the bunch, shy on pizazz. Is the erstwhile general Wesley Clark the answer? Doubtful, as he comes across as a callow pretender to high public office, not thoroughly schooled on the nonmilitary issues of importance to the electorate. Voters — can you spell H-I-L-L-A-R-Y?

Talking of fat cats — the loudest and most cacophonous screeches are coming from George Soros, a latter-day saint in the Democratic firmament. Mr. Soros, as King Fat Cat, how do you feel about the junior senator from New York?

PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati

Crunch the numbers

Regarding Patrice Hill’s Thursday Page One story, “Stimulus expected to drive economy”: When will we come up with a fundamental, meaningful method to measure job growth? Every news outlet appears satisfied to accept the “looking glass” of seasonally adjusted unemployment statistics that the federal government has spit out for decades. Do the adjustments really make sense, or are they there to make us feel good — or bad — about the rate? Does someone who is looking for work, but has been at it longer than some bureaucrat thinks appropriate, not count as unemployed? This is ridiculous, but it’s an open secret — like the naked emperor.

Let’s push the federal government to tell us what percentage of American adults are employed — total employment — and the percentage of adults who have jobs in the private sector. These data would tell us how many people are pulling the wagon (it’s those who work in the private sector) and force us to realize that more than 5.6 percent of our residents are not working.

The government shouldn’t care about the reason someone is or isn’t working. (“He’s just a college student, so he doesn’t count.”) What matters is how many are creating wealth and how many are paying taxes. Even government workers pay taxes (perverse as it is to pay your employer for the privilege of working), but only private-sector employees can create wealth.

Let’s see those two numbers. I bet most people would be shocked and awed by the small percentage of people who are making our economy work. The artificial, contrived “unemployment” figure we use tells us very little; it simply provides a palliative effect. We need a new drug — based on reality.

STUART L. BROGDEN

Houston

Striking the gavel

The new year was amusingly ushered in with the reading of “Legal strategies abound for Saddam” (Page 1, Thursday). Associated Press’ Anne Gearan doesn’t seem to get the picture: Saddam Hussein was guilty even before the attack on Iraq began. His defense team — assuming he’ll have one — just won’t have any options.

If this mother of all trials follows the pattern of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, the Iraqi people can only hope to be spared the daily viewing of this scripted soap opera.

BOB VUNOVICH

Clarksburg, Md.

Lily-livered liberals are calling for clemency for Saddam Hussein: They want him to be tried by an international court rather than an Iraqi court.

Saddam’s crimes were committed primarily in Iraq against Iraqis. We are trying to establish a stable, reputable government in Iraq. Saddam should be tried in Iraq by Iraqis. He should be punished according to sharia (Islamic law), although that probably will not be allowed.

President Bush is right. Iraq should be allowed to try its own criminals.

ALLEN MARSH

Nampa, Idaho

Disputing Golan

With the statement being made that more settlements are planned for the Golan (“Expansion in Golan Heights popular,” World, yesterday), it might be constructive to review both the biblical and modern history of that region. The Golan was an integral part of biblical Israel, mentioned many times in the Hebrew Bible as being part of that nation.

In more recent times, the Golan was part of the area of the original League of Nations British Palestinian Mandate, designated for a Jewish homeland. However, in a unilateral move, Great Britain, without authorization, exchanged the territory with France for oil concessions in French-controlled mandated land. (Incidentally, Palestine, until the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, was the official designation of the soon-to-be Jewish state, with money collected by worldwide Jewry for the Palestinian National Fund later amended to the Jewish National Fund.)

Won in two defensive wars against Syria in 1967 and 1973, the Golan became an integral part of Israel, not to be regarded as settlements, but an area similar to Tel Aviv, with its official inclusion into Israel in 1981.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

Running a short Reuters News Agency story, The Washington Times allows three mistakes to be propagated.

First, Israel did not “annex” the Golan Heights in 1981. Israel removed military rule from the Golan, allowing the residents, both Jewish and Druze, to be governed by civil rather than military authority. The land under the residents was not annexed — precisely to preserve the option of a negotiated settlement with Syria for “the highlands.”

Second, it is not the highlands, however, that Syria demands today. The last negotiation between Israel and Syria foundered over a strip of land alongside the Sea of Galilee that was inside the original 1947 U.N. partition boundaries of Israel, but which Syria illegally grabbedafterthe1949 armistice. Israel rejects legitimizing the Syrian acquisition of territory by force.

Third, the Druze do not “see themselves as Syrian” or of any other nationality. The Druze are Muslims who live in Lebanon, Syria and Israel and are loyal residents of the country that governs them. Israeli-citizen Druze are conscripted into the Israeli Defense Forces at their own request. Druze on the Golan have been peaceful residents, and there is little indication that they “oppose the presence” of Israelis.

SHOSHANA BRYEN

Silver Spring

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