- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 21, 2004

Cure closer than ever

Tom Carter’s article “War ontuberculosiswanes” (World, Thursday) correctly recognizes the cost effectiveness of treating TB worldwide, but fails to mention the single most promising potential weapon against the disease: an effective vaccine.

For decades, funding for TB vaccine research has lagged behind even the small amount spent on TB treatment. The current vaccine, BCG, is almost a century old and fails to protect most people beyond childhood. As a result, TB kills 2 million people a year.

A new vaccine is closer than most people think. A new organization, the Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation, is spearheading the international effort to develop an effective vaccine against TB within a decade. Last month, researchers in St. Louis began human trials of a new recombinant TB vaccine, and trials of other candidatevaccinesare planned. By increasing its investment in vaccine development, the world can move closer to a future without TB.


President and chief executive officer

Aeras Global TB Vaccine Foundation


Foxman’s ‘passion’?

It seems to me that Abraham Foxman is on a crusade of his own to create an anti-Semitic crusade among non-Jews (“ADL director insists Gibson’s ‘Passion’ fuels anti-Semitism,” Nation, Thursday). He apparently does not like the film and possibly Christianity as well, and is using that to have those of his own faith restored to the position of “Christ killers,” which many Christians have abandoned.

I would think that he would be happy that his dire predictions have not come true instead of continuing his rant that they are. Perhaps Mr. Foxman has to create enemies of Judaism to have a reason for his organization to continue to exist.

Of the Christians who I’ve spoken to who have seen this film, they have mentioned how it has affected their own belief in the message of Jesus. Not a one of them said, when I asked them point blank, that they left the theater with a desire to go out and kill Jews to avenge the death of Jesus.


Fortji, Wash.

The other side

Although your “Liberal war wonks dissect news” (Nation, Wednesday) story shows that clearly Jennifer Harper read — and borrowed quotes from — my Berkeley NewsCenter account of the Media At War conference at Berkeley, you nevertheless got a few things wrong.

First, Orville Schell and co-organizer Eric Stover made repeated attempts to get conservative media, including Fox News, to participate. They all declined. Miss Harper also failed to mention that the U.S. military sent high-ranking public-affairs representatives, who held their own on several panels at this “mostly liberal journalists and policy wonks” convention. And although some panels may have taken as a starting point for discussion the idea that the pressures of patriotism and embeddedness could compromise reporting, the actual discussion — by embedded journalists, no less — claimed otherwise.

It is a pity that rather than participate in the conference, Miss Harper chose to write a biased and inaccurate story about it from afar.


Berkeley NewsCenter

University of California

Berkeley, Calif.

Jennifer Harper characterizes the University of California’s post-mortem conference on Iraq as a “broken record.” She is correct if she means the broken record whose needle gets caught in a certain groove and stubbornly refuses to move on. Miss Harper might recall Ronald Reagan’s characterization that “facts are stubborn things.” And the facts emerging in this post-Iraqi-invasion period are stubbornly reminding us how passive much of the media was in accepting and promoting the administration’s viewpoint. In a free society our newspapers cannot operate as tools of propaganda. They must be as vigilant in exposing lies as we expect our intelligence community to be in exposing spies.


W. Springfield

Kerry’s friends

Your article (“Bush presses Kerry for ‘facts,’ Page 1, Wednesday) quotes President Bush saying, “If you’re going to make an accusation in the course of a presidential campaign you ought to back it up with facts.”

Sen. John Kerry’s statement that “more leaders” hope Mr. Bush will not be re-elected is not an accusation. Mr. Kerry’s accusation is that the Bush administration has squandered post-September 11 goodwill toward the United States and antagonized many nations and around the world with its arrogant, blundering actions.

Too bad for Mr. Bush, but there are plenty of facts to support that charge. One obvious bit of evidence: Mr. Bush’s inability in the spring of 2003 to muster support in the U.N. Security Council for his invasion of Iraq. The Pew Research Center’s recent polling in eight European, Asian and African countries found that a majority of people in all of them had unfavorable views of Mr. Bush, including 57 percent disapproval in the United Kingdom, the nation that has been the major supporter of his Iraq policy.

Before Mr. Bush accuses his opponent of lying, he ought to account for the exaggerations, distortions and outright falsehoods perpetrated by his own administration about the threat from the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction arsenal. The latter, curiously, has turned out to be nonexistent. So, at this point, is Mr. Bush’s credibility.


Takoma Park

‘Democracy is messy’

I wholeheartedly disagree on several points with your Op-Ed “TheSpanishdisease” (Wednesday).

First,theSpanish government distorted the facts by claiming that the ETA was behind the bombing, without adequate evidence to back up this assertion (which Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage rightly said was the reason for the Popular Party’s election loss). If an attack like the Oklahoma bombing occurred post-September 11 in the United States and was immediately blamed on al Qaeda by the Bush administration, even though evidence suggests it was more akin to someone like Timothy McVeigh with no ties to al Qaeda, do you think that the American public would be furious? This is exactly what happened in Spain. A horrible tragedy was manipulated for political gain, and the Spanish voters did not accept that.

Another point, to quote U.S. administrator L. Paul Bremer describing the haggling over the Iraqi constitution, is that “democracy is messy,” and its results cannot be guaranteed, as Turkey’s democracy showed by refusing to allow us to invade Iraq from the north. Every time conservatives sternly criticize the results of the democratic process in the nations of our NATO allies, their claims of wishing to democratize the Middle East ring a little more hollow. The more democratic the Middle East and the world as a whole become, the less countries will be able to be controlled by other, more powerful ones.

This is something America needs to accept if we are going to truly promote democracy worldwide, instead of accepting regimes like the Saudis, that control their people with an iron fist but are generally pliant to Washington demands. Essentially, Spain voted for the Socialists because the Popular Party blatantly misrepresented the truth, not to appease terrorism. Second, criticizing democratic results that we disagree with undermines our efforts to spread democracy to the world.



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