- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Algeria’s steady progress

Regarding “North Africa’s stumbling block” (World, March 3) by Andrew Borowiec:

Algeria’s democratic dispensation is flowering; its terrorist threat has withered. Contrarydisparagements expressed in Mr. Borowiec’s news story turn these propitious facts on their head.

In 2002, Algeria’s parliamentary elections were recognized as free and fair by international analysts. Ten political parties garnered representation in Parliament. They were of all political hues, ranging from independents to right-wing Islamist and left-wing secular parties. Algeria’s unrelenting war against terrorists and President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s “civil concord” initiative, which promised amnesty to Islamic militants who renounced violence, have slashed their number to a few hundred, much too small to justify the erection of a “Chinese wall” by any neighboring country.

Algeria, when drawing the fine line between liberty and security, has been emphasizing the former in the name of inclusiveness and democratic advances. I cannot imagine that any neighboring country would want to misrepresent the Algerian reality as claimed by Mr. Borowiec, turning it into a bugaboo so as to justify resisting liberalization.



Embassy of Algeria


History lessons

Cal Thomas’ column “Terrorism unlimited” (Commentary, yesterday) was right on the mark, but I would add some points to his analogy between World War II and the current war on terrorism. Europe had numerous opportunities to stop Hitler. The fiasco at Munich was merely the culmination of failed opportunities. France caved a year later, and the remnants of its armed forces became aligned with Hitler’s. Our first campaign in the European theater was our invasion of Algeria in 1942. Like Iraq today, Algeria had not declared war on us, but we had to take it off the table to deny its use by the Axis. Americans at the time understood that Algeria was but the opening campaign in a difficult and protracted conflict against evil.

Americans today must likewise understand that rather than being isolated events, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are merely campaigns in our latest difficult and protracted conflict against evil. We were not attacked by either country officially, but both were aligned with and were sources of comfort and support for the evil of radical Islam.

Further, Americans must understand that al Qaeda is merely the latest appellation of this evil and that no matter how it may mutate or what it may call itself, radical Islam must put down roots someplace that will provide support and freedom of action. As Secretary of State Colin L. Powell noted Sunday, intelligence, police actions, arrests and trials are important elements in the war on terror, but ultimate victory also will require military force, when and where appropriate, to deny such support and freedom of action.


Fairfax Va.

Once a tyrant, always a tyrant

Kenneth Timmerman is a good reporter, but his praise for Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s “great vision and realism” is sickening (“Next steps in Libya,” Commentary, yesterday). Honoring Col. Gadhafi forgivingupweaponshe shouldn’t have had is like throwing a party for a murderer who gives up when he runs out of victims and is cornered by the police. What about holding Col. Gadhafi responsible for his mass murder and terrorism, including the killing of 189 Americans in the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 bombing? What about the Libyans killed by Col. Gadhafi and those still rotting away in his jails? What about regime change in Libya?

The cartoon that accompanied the column showing the Libyan leader waving an American flag is a gross insult to the Pan Am families whose loved ones were killed simply because they were on an American plane.

Mr. Timmerman advocates U.S. oil companies returning to Libya to make money for the regime. So Col. Gadhafi, down the road, can use the proceeds to make bigger and better weapons?

Mr. Timmerman also advocates helping Col. Gadhafi turn Libya into a free-market economy. How? Under a dictatorship run by Col. Gadhafi?

He is just the latest dictator to cry out for American money. It’s sad to see that Mr. Timmerman was bamboozled on his guided tour of Libya. He should know better.



America’s Survival Inc.

Owings, Md.

Facing the music

I am pleased to learn that Ulster County, N.Y., District Attorney Donald Williams has filed charges against Mayor Jason West of New Paltz and two ministers who all have attempted to solemnize “marriages” of same-sex couples (“Ministers face charges,” American Scene, Tuesday).

New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, himself a supporter of same-sex “marriages,” has issued an opinion confirming that these unions are contrary to state law. For Mr. West to presume to interpret state law otherwise is arrogant indeed. The mayor and the ministers who support his actions are attempting to bring about a policy change that they desire by willfully breaking God’s law and the state law of New York. What Mr. West and these ministers have done is commit acts of uncivil disobedience, and they should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Bealeton, Va.

When to go, when to say ‘no’

The article “Neighbor sees terror breeding in Somalia” (World, Tuesday) brought to the fore issues of further U.S. international involvement. With 193 countries in the world and only one superpower, the United States grapples with each state’s issues and must decide how and when to get involved. Neglecting countries could exacerbate problems, and, consequently, affect the United States in the future; however, the United States has stretched itself thin. Priorities must be set, but when do we step in and when do we step to the side?

Kenya beseeches the United States to beware of Somalia for fear of its role in international terrorism, and rightly so. Somalia is plagued with civil disturbances, clan rivalries, corruption,sloweconomic development and poor education. In a country with just 37.8 percent literacy and no national legal system outside of Islamic and secular courts, it is a prime terrorist breeding ground. Somalia is a lose-lose situation for the United States. If we were to send troops, which side would Americans fight on, and how many lives would it cost? If we ignore the problem, nothing will change for the better; it could potentially become a terrorist haven. At this point, Somalia is a regional problem that should be addressed by regional states with regional solutions. This may be quite a disappointment to Kenya. However, a physical limitation on the number of places the United States can be present must be taken into consideration.


Research assistant

National Defense Council Foundation

Alexandria, Va.

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