- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 13, 2004

The Dresden denial (cont.)

In Ernest W. Lefever’s critique of the Allied bombing of Dresden in February 1945 (“The Dresden denial,” Letters, Thursday), the writer fails to mention some cogent reasons for this action.

First and foremost, the German High Command refused to declare Dresden an “open city,” instead choosing to defend it to the bitter end. Second, Dresden, as a major port on the Elbe River and a rail hub, was instrumental in the German war effort, allowing reinforcement of the German armies in the region. Third, the city was a manufacturing center for materiel vital to the German war effort, including precision optical equipment and guidance systems, as well as advanced weaponry. Fourth, the advancing Russian army was assisted by the bombing, allowing the city to be captured. Fifth, the city had served as a transport center for the shipping of Jews and others to the concentration and death camps in Eastern Europe.

While Mr. Lefever claims that there were 135,000 killed in the bombing, other sources after the war put the number at closer to 35,000, or about one-fourth the number he mentioned. Contrary to the contention that the war was essentially over at that point, the bombing was only two months after the Battle of the Bulge, which had almost turned the tide of battle against the Allied forces in Belgium.

Was the bombing of the strategic center justified? Despite the debate, ask both the U.S. and Russian forces, and the answer would be an overwhelming “yes.”

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

Defending the Boy Scouts

Because the Boy Scouts do not allow homosexuals to join, they now have to go to court to regain access to public places and community support (“Boy Scouts fight back,” Page 1, March 7). A front-page article a few weeks ago reported that “81 percent of sex crimes committed against children by Roman Catholic priests during the past 52 years were homosexual men preying on boys” (“Gay priests cited in abuse of boys,” Feb. 28). For failing to safeguard those children, the Catholic Church has to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in damages. How could the Boy Scouts possibly provide such safeguards if it could not prohibit members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, for example, from becoming Scoutmasters?

EDWARD STYLES

Wilson, N.C.

Don’t forget American workers

The article “Industries back illegals plan” (Page 1, Thursday) quoted yet another guest-worker advocate expressing support for legalization status because these individuals “work hard, pay taxes and contribute to our economy.” This argument is not only becoming tiresome, but also is a slap in the face to millions of hardworking Americans. By offering rewards to illegal aliens for something that we all do, we’re reducing the importance of following the law and setting the wrong example for our society.

Illegal immigrants work hard. But how about the white farmers, the black schoolteachers, the Asian small-business owners and the Indian nurses? How about the stay-at-home parents, who may work the longest hours of all? Do they not work hard, pay taxes and contribute to the economy, too? From the classroom to the boardroom, our nation is filled with natives and legal newcomers angling at the American dream.

So what’s the difference between the millions of Americans who quietly work hard, pay taxes and contribute to the economy and the millions of illegal immigrants who are constantly being feted for working hard, paying taxes and contributing to the economy? The latter broke the law to do it.

This is not a minor nuance. If there is no difference between a law-abider and a lawbreaker, then there is no difference between the individual who earned $1 million by building a better mousetrap and the one who earned $1 million by stealing from the mousetrap headquarters. The line is suddenly blurred between the “A” student who gave up nights and weekends for studying and the “A” student who plagiarized papers and cheated on tests.

Thankfully, we reward honesty and effort. We punish lawbreakers. It’s that simple. If you don’t believe that principle, just ask Martha Stewart or any of those corporate executives facing investigation and trial.

At the border and in the boardroom, illegal is illegal — hard workers or not.

MAURO E. MUJICA

Chairman of the Board

U.S. English Inc.

Washington

Outsourcing vs. offshoring

Bruce Bartlett addresses a very important issue in his essay “Outsourcing backlash and whiplash”(Commentary, Wednesday). However, in discussing outsourcing, it is imperative to distinguish between domestic outsourcing, through which corporations eliminate positions or entire in-house departments and hire domestic firms to perform those functions, and foreign outsourcing (or, more properly, “offshoring”), where those functions are transferred to a foreign country.

Many opponents of offshoring are enthusiastic supporters of domestic outsourcing. To lump the two concepts together under the rubric of “outsourcing” could cause the current outcry against offshoring to result in a drive to curtail domestic outsourcing as well. The two are different phenomena with quite different economic impacts. Each deserves to be evaluated on its own merits.

VICTOR CHOLEWICKI

Washington

An ‘act of unspeakable evil’

Bomb blasts in three Madrid railway stations at the height of rush hour killed more than 190 office-goers and injured more than 1,400 (“Bombs kill 192 in Spain,” Page 1, Friday). Once again, the unspeakable evil of terrorism strikes at the heart of democracy. The atrocity may be a deadly joint venture of the ETA, the Basque separatist organization, and al Qaeda, which is now regrouping in Pakistan and worldwide. Or, al Qaeda may be acting alone via Moroccan Islamic extremists recruited locally in Madrid.

Regardless of who the perpetrators are, this is, indeed, an “act of unspeakable evil” (in the words of British Prime Minister Tony Blair) against the freedom-loving Spanish people. Doubtless, the mass murder was motivated by Spain’s leadership in the international war on terrorism.

We offer our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims. Once again, we recollect the horrors of September 11, 2001. We applaud the courage of the Spanish people in their stand against terrorism and their bold efforts to hunt and capture al Qaeda dregs and sleeper cells. We are united in our grief, our prayers and our resolve.

SUE GHOSH STRICKLETT

Defense and strategic affairs

U.S. India Political Action Committee

Washington

I wonder why you write about the ETA as a “Basque separatist group” (“Bombs kill 192 in Spain”). Why you do not call them terrorists?

You should know that Spain is a modern and democratic country where people can say, vote and think as they please. Next Sunday, we will vote to say what kind of government we want — this is the only way to solve problems. This is the real democracy and freedom. So, please, from now on, and in your next editions talking about ETA, call them terrorists as they really are. Do not use other names to make their appearance softer or lighter. They are terrorists. After September 11, the United States knows what terrorism is, and you received help from people all over the world. Please, now, Americans should do the same with Spain. Please help us by calling them terrorists.

CARLOS JIMENEZ ABAD

Valencia, Spain

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