- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Brothers and borders

The story on the Saulsbury brothers contains an error (“Brothers team up to calm hotheads,” Civil War, Saturday).

Delaware never had a common border with Virginia. Delaware is bordered by Maryland on the south and west and Pennsylvania to the north, and it shares the Delaware River with New Jersey. It is 30 miles or so, as the crow flies, from the Maryland-Delaware border town Delmar to the Virginia line to the south.

JAMES L. OWENS

Rockville

Taking the president at his word

If I read Monday’s editorial “Spinning civil-war fears” correctly, you seem to be asking that sources be identified, credible and accurate before inflammatory stories are written. You are right in calling for that.

But where was the demand for accuracy in sources and verification when President Bush was leading us into war in a country that was not an imminent threat? Why didn’t the press look into the administration’s claims about weapons of mass destruction? The Washington press corps has fallen down on its job throughout this entire fiasco.

It appears you take the president at his word when he rattles off his excuses for going to war. Yes, Iraq had a weapons program in the ‘90s, but it was in disrepair, and with 20/20 hindsight, it looks as if it was not an imminent threat and sanctions were working as the United Nations suggested. I am deeply worried about where this president is taking this country.

FRED BEYER

Cedarburg, Wis.

Friends of Bush

Former weapons inspector David Kay blames faulty intelligence for the decision to go to war. He does not blame President Bush (“Bush’s decision on war affirmed,” Nation, Tuesday). In another journal, James Fallows states that the political levels of the Department of Defense ignored warnings about likely postwar looting and other difficulties. According to other reports, now mostly forgotten, numerous failures within the FBI were ignored, starting with management ignoring clear appeals to investigate people who turned out to be known terrorists.

So far, no public price has been paid by the CIA, the Defense Department or the FBI for their shortcomings. There is a pattern here. These organizations, obviously flawed, are headed by the new generation of friends of Bush (FOBs). It is a poor way for a president to represent the general public — Democratic, Republican and independent — by seeming to be beholden to one’s friends and appointees. Sticking by sinking ships will drown the captain unless he abandons ship. Director of Central Intelligence George J. Tenet is surely a very nice person and a Bush friend; Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is charming and a wonderful spokesman and clearly in charge, but he, too, is a Bush friend; and FBI Director Robert Mueller is a nice man and a Bush friend.

As the political season wears on and as the campaign rhetoric and criticism of obvious flaws in the war in Iraq grow louder, the president will have to act decisively to confront his friends and bid them goodbye — or, as captain of his ship, he will suffer the fate of those who stuck it out and go down.

GEORGE BAIN

Vienna

Even though David Kay has admitted that there were no significant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he still believes Iraq attracted terrorists and was, therefore, a threat that needed to be dealt with through war.

Though Mr. Kay’s opinion may provide aid and comfort to the White House, it begs the question of why terrorists would be drawn to Iraq if there were no weapons. Or is he suggesting that the billions of dollars being spent and the hundreds of American lives being lost are acceptable costs for depriving the terrorists of a place to sleep? If so, I strongly object and propose that he would feel differently if his son or daughter were among the casualties.

JACK SLADE

Knoxville, Tenn.

Martha, Martha, Martha

Oh, what a tangled web.

Alan Reynolds tries to do a little haphazard spring cleaning in his Commentary column defending Martha Stewart (“A fair trial for Martha?” Jan. 18). Mrs. Stewart’s “crime” is one of badly timed coincidence, Mr. Reynolds claims. The feds have trumped up a case against poor Martha.

In reality, the government intends to show that Mrs. Stewart conspired with her broker, Peter Bacanovic, to obstruct justice, because the explanation she gave — that she had an informal order to perform a perfectly legal sale of ImClone stock — was deliberately misleading to federal investigators and also to stockholders in Mrs. Stewart’s own company.

Douglas Faneuil, who came clean in exchange for immunity, is expected to state that he informed Mrs. Stewart Dec. 27 that ImClone Chief Executive Officer Sam Waksal’s family was selling the stock they had in their company. Specifically, he is expected to say that she asked if they were selling all their shares.

Mrs. Stewart, who used to be a stockbroker and whose obsession with minute details is legendary, could not reasonably be thought to have been ignorant that the information on which she relied constituted insider information or that lying about it was illegal.

Misleading common investors and taking care of your well-heeled friends is the style of the day among the circle of the elite wealth builders in America.IsuspectMr. Reynolds seriously underestimates the public’s taste for anything other than a dish of old-fashioned justice in this case — served cold, of course.

STEVEN MUMMY

San Diego, Calif.

Working toward a drug-free America

The Jan. 22 editorial, “A solid Union,” documents President Bush’s State of the Union response to the pleas of families and educators nationwide to help us rid our schools of illicit drugs. His pledge to fund school districts that want to employ drug testing but can’t afford to go it alone speaks loudly to his understanding of this issue and his support of families and young people.

Not everyone is as supportive of Mr. Bush’s proposal, however. Some small, well-funded groups of drug legalizers who are challenging political figures nationwide to be lenient on drug users, such as the Drug Policy Alliance, think the president is too tough on drugs.

This network of groups that favor legalization has been pushing the idea of smoking marijuana for medicine even though it has no Food and Drug Administration approval, no logic, no support from legitimate medical groups and is illegal.

Marijuana is far more carcinogenic than tobacco; plus, it adversely affects all body systems, from the brain and the immune system to the lungs and reproductive system.

We applaud Mr. Bush and challenge local, state and federal legislators to follow his lead. Drug testing works in the military and in the workplace, and it is working in more than 1,000 schools that already have begun random, nonpunitive testing. Methods include testing saliva, a snippet of hair, a sweat patch or urine. All children benefit from a safe, drug-free school environment. Urge your school board to support testing.

JOYCE NALEPKA

President

Drug-Free Kids: America’s Challenge

Silver Spring

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