- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 9, 2004

The Stewart example

It’s a good thing Martha Stewart got convicted (“Stewart found guilty on all counts,” Page 1, Saturday). Her bad example will hold us all to a higher standard.

If a conviction for this behavior nips the root cause of the likes of Enron et al. and doesn’t make it harder for an enterprising woman to rise above the “glass ceiling,” it’s a good thing.

FRED STEWART

Grand Junction, Colo.

It will be a sad day if Martha Stewart goes to prison. The prosecution boasted of a slam-dunk victory, while tears of joy were shed to send Stewart to a penitentiary to serve time. A juror boasted, “Maybe it’s a victory for the little guy.”

I see a lady, born in the United States, who built a dynasty through hard work, using her ingenuity and homespun skills. This lady is for the “little guy.” Her company supports the people who work hard in and out of the home. She helps people gain skills in all areas of the home,promoteshealthy lifestyles and makes fine affordable products available to the masses — those who cannot afford high-end merchandise. She has provided thousands of jobs for Americans who work for her company, directly and indirectly, and has partnered with other companies, helping them succeed.

Martha Stewart’s life is an example of the true American dream. Her hard work, her life, are examples of how America is built and gives hope to others who dream big dreams.

ANNE McCAFFREY

Kenora, Ontario

Now that Martha Stewart has been convicted for lying about investments, that should pave the way for trials and easy convictions of each and every federal official involved in the multitrillion-dollar Social Security pyramid scheme that is masquerading as an investment. Though it is unfortunate that a handful of Americans lost money in relation to Stewart’s case, the entire country has been scammed by Social Security.

TOMAS R. ESTRADA-PALMA

Annapolis

A reunification of equality

The item “Betting on Cyprus” in the Embassy Row column of The Washington Times (World, March 2) quotes an expert saying odds are better than before for a Cyprus settlement. Though statistics may apply in the case of the proposed referendums in the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot parts of the island, which will vote simultaneously yet separately on the issue of reunification, they do not apply in describing the relationship of the two ethnic groups with each other.

The Turkish Cypriots have never been a minority in Cyprus in the legal and political sense but were equal co-founding partners in the 1960 republic. The “Annan plan” (named for U.N. Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan), under discussion in the current negotiations, describes the relationship of the Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots as “not one of majority and minority but one of equality.” Previous U.N. reports and documents took the same point of view.

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

Fence on Green Line best for peace

After reading Friday’s editorial “Kerry on Israel,” I think a few corrections are in order, and not necessarily to defend Sen. John Kerry.

First, supporting Israel’s security needs does not conflict with opposing the route of Israel’s barrier. Israel has the right and responsibility to defend its citizens, including by building a barrier. However, building this barrier on Palestinian land, by deviating from the Green Line, is against the interests of the Israelis, the Palestinians and the United States.

According to the United Nations and the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, 89 percent of the barrier’s route deviates from the Green Line, resulting in the loss of almost a quarter-million acres of Palestinian land — equal to five times the size of metropolitan Washington. This will only increase the climate of bitterness and hatred against Israel, hardly a recipe for security. In addition, this complicates the realization of the viable Palestinian state envisioned by President Bush.

Second, placing the barrier on the Green Line has nothing to do with capitulating to terrorists and everything to do with international consensus. Terrorists make no distinction between the Green Line or any other line. They seek the destruction of Israel. On the other hand, the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and many Israelis have warned against the barrier’s route.

Finally, though Israel may not have been able to defend the 1967 lines then, this no longer is true. Israel has overwhelming military superiority over all Arab countries, a rock-solid alliance with the United States and an estimated 400 to 600 nuclear warheads. No combination of Arab countries provides even a remote threat to Israel.

The Green Line is not engraved in stone, but with minor and mutually agreed upon territorial adjustments, it can serve as the basis of a two-state solution, giving Israelis the security and Palestinians the freedom they deserve.

RAFI DAJANI

Executive director

American Task Force on Palestine

Washington

Reform needs freedom

Addressing those who criticize the slow pace of democratization in Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev offered these words of reassurance: “We have not given up on reform” (“Progress in Kazakhstan,” Op-Ed, Thursday). More convincing would be for the government to release from prison opposition leader Galymzhan Zhakianov; to register his party, the Democratic Movement of Kazakhstan; and to cease the harassment and intimidation of opposition supporters. This would go some distance in improving Kazakhstan’s dismal record on electoral freedoms and toward giving the Kazakh people genuine choice in upcoming parliamentary elections.

RACHEL DENBER

Acting director

Europe and Central Asia Division

Human Rights Watch

Washington

Defining ‘assault weapon’

John R. Lott Jr. grossly mischaracterizes the work of the Violence Policy Center in “Not bulletproof” (Op-Ed, March 2).

Mr. Lott questions the methodology employed by the VPC to identify assault weapons in a study (“Officer Down: Assault Weapons and the War on Law Enforcement”) that found one out of five law enforcement officers slain in the line of duty from 1998 through 2001 was killed by an assault weapon: “But the Violence Policy Center … never examined whether the guns used to kill police possessed two or more of the features defining them as ‘assault weapons.’ Rather, the guns were counted as assault weapons if it was possible that they had at least two of the banned features.” Mr. Lott is simply wrong. The test the VPC used to identify assault weapons is simple: Is the gun in fact an assault weapon — one of a discrete category of semiautomatic firearms with specific design characteristics developed for use on the field of battle, but all too often turned on law enforcement with deadly consequences?

This point, however, pales in comparison to Mr. Lott’s bizarre rationale for these weapons: that some assault weapons, such as the Bushmaster used by the D.C.-area snipers, are banned for hunting in some states because they “too frequently wound rather than kill the deer.” All of America saw in October 2002, though, that they’re perfectly suited to their purpose-built intent: killing human beings.

The gun industry has eviscerated the federal assault-weapons ban that is scheduled to expire in September. Congress should pass New Jersey Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg’s legislation (S.B. 1431) to strengthen the ban so it more effectively bans assault weapons and protects America’s police and the public.

KRISTEN RAND

Legislative director

Violence Policy Center

Washington

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