- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 25, 2004

RFK: stadium of champions

The headline on Dan Daly’s Tuesday Sports column says, “It’s time to turn RFK into rubble.” One might as well say we ought to knock down the White House. It has all the same problems. It’s old. It’s falling apart. The lighting is poor. It’s too small to be useful for anything but small groups and T-Ball games. It has some historical sentimental value, sure — but why not put a newfangled building in its place, with bells and whistles and a water slide? Surely, that would be better.

In this town, RFK is a temple to Sundays past that remains second to none.

BEN DOMENECH

McLean

Dan Daly wants to destroy RFK Stadium, just so he can watch it crumble. He actually looks forward to it. “Anybody got a match?” he says.

I know RFK probably will be torn down soon. The implosion might be cool to watch, but I certainly don’t look forward to it. I don’t object so much to Mr. Daly’s pointing out that inevitability to us. I object to his glee and delight at the destruction of such a beloved building. I find it inconceivable that a sports writer in Washington could have such contempt for a stadium that hosted so many great sports memories.

I love RFK Stadium. My dad took me there to see the Senators when I was young, and I watched the Redskins drive to three Super Bowl championships there. Every time I pass RFK, I remember some of the best times of my life. I remember sitting in the upper deck in left field as a kid, wearing my glove and waiting for a Frank Howard home run. I saw Mickey Mantle play there. I was there when John Riggins took his bow against the Vikings in the playoffs and when Art Monk caught his 800th pass against the Broncos on Monday night. My dad and my brother were there when Darryl Grant scored the touchdown against the Cowboys in 1983 that later appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The fans’ enthusiasm almost knocked down RFK that day.

Mr. Daly quotes Joe Gibbs as saying that RFK Stadium had “crud hanging off it.” Talk about a quote being taken out of context. Everyone, apparently except for Mr. Daly, knows that Gibbs loved RFK. If given the chance, I’m sure he still would want to coach there today. It was the best home-field advantage in football in its day.

RFK Stadium will be torn down someday. Personally, I think that will be a very sad day.

MIKE HOEBEL

Reston

Who’s your publicist, Mr. Clarke?

I met Richard A. Clarke last December when he was the luncheon speaker at a workshop on cyberspace security. In the question-and-answer session, I asked him why he and others in key positions weren’t using any of the new scientific insights about complex systems to address terrorism and the situation in Iraq. From his response, it was clear to me that he didn’t understand my question. I made a point to talk with him privately after his presentation.

When I explained what I meant by my question, he said, “We should write a book together.” I thought this was an odd suggestion, given that we had just met. Then he said, “We would have to find a good publisher.” I said that my publisher, the Free Press, probably would be very interested. He looked up, seemingly surprised, and said, “That’s my publisher, and they seem to be very good about arranging interviews and media coverage.” He then handed me his business card and said, “Send me everything you’ve got [on complexity science].” Two days later, I sent him a package, which he has yet to acknowledge.

In retrospect, what’s interesting to me about this brief, but revealing, encounter is that Mr. Clarke seems to have gotten what he wanted all along — media coverage and a chance to rewrite history and his legacy, putting himself at the center. His comments this week have been filled with an underlying sense of rage that screams, “They wouldn’t listen to me then, but they’ll have to listen to me now.” It’s just too bad that the rest of us are caught within hearing range of his very public and incredibly narcissistic temper tantrum.

T. IRENE SANDERS

Executive director

Washington Center for Complexity and Public Policy

Washington

In Wednesday’s hearing of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, the United States and the world were witness to an updated version of the passion of the Christ. It was called the passion of Richard A. Clarke — wherein he assumed responsibility for the deaths of 3,000 at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania (“Bush critic cites terror failures,” Page 1, yesterday).

It was most curious that during his 2½-hour testimony he never indicated that Islamic terrorists were to blame.

All in all, it was a sickening display of narcissism and a publicist’s dream on how to sell a book.

RICHARD F. MILES

McKinney, Texas

Islamic democracies and the West (cont.)

A few important issues must be considered when one is reading a pair of letters posted Tuesday under the headline “Islamic democracies and the West.” First and foremost, we have a writer offering his interpretations on the Koran and the Hadith although he has no authority for doing so. Verses of the Holy Koran were revealed in a manner that was specific to events or situations of the particular era or time. Improper translations and interpretations are being offered as a means to justify actions of certain groups that have no knowledge of the basic tenets of Islam. These misrepresentations are taken as examples of Islam, when in reality, nothing can be further from the truth.

Second, Saudi Arabia is the worst example of an Islamic state you can use to represent Islam or Islamic law as it pertains to human rights. Saudi Arabia is a tyrannical monarchy, which is explicitly forbidden by Islamic law. Also, the Saudi monarchy oppresses the Shias, dating back hundreds of years. Basically, it oppresses all religious thoughts that are against the monarchy’s own, making Saudi Arabia an anti-Islamic state. The Holy Prophet and his Holy Progeny narrated their stance on human rights of Muslims and non-Muslims. These rights included equality for all people, indiscriminate of race, religion, color, etc. They developed the rules for warfare demanding the proper treatment of war prisoners, women and children, unconditionally forbidding the harm of the latter two.

The problem Islam is facing is not that its rules are outdated. It’s more that the people interpreting those rules have no authority. Those people are misusing Islam to justify their lawlessness and merciless killings. The problem we all face (Muslims and non-Muslims alike) is that we must have the patience and understanding to gain the true knowledge of Islam and its teachings. Then, and only then, can we offer comments.

M. ADIL RIZVI

Washington, D.C.

Kicking the Medicare habit

Medicare is expected to go broke seven years earlier than previously predicted (“Medicare to go broke by 2019, trustees say,” Page 1, Wednesday), and it seems to me that the Democrats are happier than ever. Back when they created the program to win votes from seniors, I think they knew it eventually would run out of funds.

Liberals also knew that once seniors got hooked on the health care giveaway, they would suffer any tax increase to keep it afloat.

If President Bush could get all of us investing our own Social Security and Medicare funds in our personal accounts, those two programs would last a long, long time.

However, Democrats will tell you that this will dry up the free-flowing dollars into their ever-increasing giveaway programs, which already are costing many times more than was stated when the programs were initiated.

It is time to end this cycle of abuse of Social Security and Medicare premiums.

ROBERT C. GOTSHALL JR.

Palm Bay, Fla.

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