- The Washington Times - Monday, March 29, 2004

Building a coalition against terror

The inclusion of Pakistan as a non-NATO ally of the United States is a positive step (“U.S. reassures India,” Embassy Row,Thursday).Theannouncement will help in bolstering the relationship between the two nations and will remove any misconceptions among Pakistanis. This step taken by the Bush administration proves its sincerity and dedication toward the elimination of terrorist outfits.

Pakistani authorities have provided the United States with their unstinted support in the war against terrorism. They are aggressively engaged in capturing al Qaeda and Taliban remnants throughout the border regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. With U.S. support, the government of Pakistan is sincerely revamping and restructuring its political, economic, social and educational institutions.

SYED REZWI

Executive Board member

Association of Pakistani Professionals

Kew Gardens, N.Y.

What goes up must come down

It was very disheartening to read about the ludicrous amount of money being spent by the National Park Service on travel expenses (“Park Service jet-setters grounded,” Page 1, March 23). Can it really be true that the agency spent almost $100 million on travel in about two years during a period of budgetary limitations and deficits? What is going on at the Department of the Interior? Is anyone paying attention?

The costs of enhanced homeland security efforts have created significant budget problems for government at all levels. A few months ago, the management of the Interior Department saw fit to suspend the chief of the U.S. Park Police because she had let it be known that her agency’s budget was not adequate to take on the new duties assigned to her office after September 11.

Anyone with common sense could see that Chief Teresa Chambers was removed to punish her for letting the public know that the Park Police are woefully understaffed and inadequately equipped to take on vast and complex additional duties.

Chief Chambers said there was a $12 million budget deficit, that an additional $8 million was needed for the next fiscal year and that the Park Police were 15 percent below authorized strength. Put Chief Chambers, whose main handicap appears to be honesty, back to work. Funnel some of the travel money being thrown away by the National Park Service into the budget of the Park Police so they can go about the business of protecting us.

Officials who want to be globe-trotters should do so on their own time and their own dime. President Bush needs to direct Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton to get her house in order and to focus on priorities.

LAWRENCE SCHWEINSBURG

Crofton, Md.

Do you feel lucky, Coach Gibbs?

What is the matter with Thom Loverro (“LaVar’s tiff might help Gibbs,” Sports, Saturday)? LaVar Arrington represents the greatest tradition of Redskin football players, coaches and owners: They are legends in their own minds, as Dirty Harry would say.

Also, it is comical and ridiculous to claim Vince Lombardi as part of the Redskins tradition. If my memory is correct, he only coached the Redskins for a year. This is as much a fantasy as if San Diego claimed Johnny Unitas as its own because he played there the last year or two of his great career. Joe Gibbs, no doubt, is an outstanding coach, but two of the three Super Bowls he won with the Redskins are suspect because they came after shortened strike-year seasons. Only one of those three is legitimate.

DON WALTMAN

Severna Park, Md.

United (yawn) they stand

Speaking from the viewpoint of an independent observer, I must avow that the big Democratic Unity Day rally Thursday night was a bust (“Democrats rally to their man,” Page 1, Friday).TerryMcAuliffe missed the mark in his opening volley with former Texas Gov. AnnRichards,whowas crushed by George W. Bush in her run for re-election. Mrs. Richards tried but didn’t have a “born with a silver foot in his mouth” gag like the one she used effectively against George H.W. Bush.

No matter how much he kept grinning, bringing out Jimmy Carter and reminding America of the four years of Carter malaise only compounded Mr. McAuliffe’s mistakes. To complete the disaster, however the Democratic National Committee spins it, as the keynote speaker following master politico Bill Clinton, Sen. John Kerry only accentuated just how dull he can be. Mr. Kerry may well be his party’s most electable candidate, but the applause meter barely supported this stratagem.

We have how many more months to watch him?

BILL SMITH

Topeka, Kan.

The cause is Israel, the effect is Hamas

Thursday’s editorial “Gaza’s Capone” seems to have been written by someone who does not understand the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Please apply the simple logic of cause and effect, and one will begin to understand the deeper issues behind the conflict.

Why did Hamas evolve? The evolution of Hamas took place under decades of Israeli occupation, during which Palestinians were tortured and stripped of all their basic human rights. Israel took away their dignity, destroyed their homes and economy, and usurped their lands — not to mention causing the daily humiliation the Palestinians have to face. Any Palestinian who decided to resist Israeli brutal force was killed mercilessly or imprisoned. Hamas was born as an organization to resist Israeli occupation. It was Israel’s violent policies that gave rise to Hamas and violent resistance. Cause and effect. Violence will only breed violence.

You may call Sheikh Ahmed Yassin “Capone” or other names, but the fact remains that Palestinians listened to him and revered him. His brutal and unlawful assassination will only add to the Palestinian resistance. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon knows this.

RIMA MUTREJA

Washington

Defining democracy in Maryland

You reported that the Maryland House of Delegates has passed a bill that would allow illegal aliens to pay in-state tuition, despite the findings a study conducted for the Democratic-controlled chamber that showed most Marylanders oppose such a measure (“House votes to give illegals tuition break,” Metropolitan, Friday).

Are American legislators practicing democracy? If they are, why have they passed the above bill that is not the will of the people? If they aren’t, why are Americans spending a vast amount of resources trying to install democracies abroad, including Iraq?

YEH LING-LING

Executive director

Diversity Alliance for a Sustainable America

Oakland, Calif.

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