- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 13, 2004

The trademark of terror

With the murder of Nicholas Berg, America has once again seen the depraved nature of the enemy we are fighting. These are the enemies who will come into our homes at night and kill our children if they are not stopped. These are the animals that want, more than anything else, to kill Americans and American allies by the hundreds of thousands using chemical, biological or nuclear devices.

America is a benevolent nation, and history proves that over and over. Yet it is America that is set upon, not only by our enemies in other nations, but by enemies within our own borders as well. The time has come for America to accept the fact that it is the only superpower left and that with such power comes the responsibility to end the slaughter of innocent people, no matter where they live.

To that end, it is time for America to denounce the United Nations and take its place in the world as the defender of the weak and the executioner of the evil. It is time to seek out our enemies wherever they exist and exterminate them with extreme prejudice.

History will show that this is the destiny of our nation and that our cause, the cause of peace, is righteous.


Gainesville, Fla.

The hooded killers of Nicholas Berg have reminded us that we are not the only ones capable of perversion, torture and killing. So now what will we do? We can all join hands and follow the shrill voices of anger and revenge down the pit of retribution, or we can turn our attention to the values for which we stand: truth, freedom and respect for human dignity. We can remove ourselves from the occupation of Iraq, which was foisted upon us under false pretenses.


Piedmont, Calif.

Claiming revenge for prison abuses, militant Islamists slit the throat and severed the head of an American. If this was revenge for the prison scandal, what were other militant Islamists avenging when they severed the head of reporter Daniel Pearl? They did that before the war in Iraq even began. And what were militant Islamists avenging when they murdered 3,000 of us on September 11?


San Mateo, Calif.

The beheading of Nicholas Berg is grotesque and horrible proof that followers of extremist Islamism will stoop to any level in an attempt to shock the American public. Make no mistake about their intent; the extremists want to expose the American public to such outrage at the grass-roots level that we’ll rush to our congressmen and senators, demanding that American forces return home. At the most basic level, the extremists are in a pitched battle for the hearts and minds of the American people.

Mr. Berg was slaughtered because he was an American, not because of the failings of American GIs at Abu Ghraib prison. The lesson for the American public is that Islamist extremists are capable of unimaginably cruel acts of violence to further their cause.



Lowering standards

Sen. James Inhofe’s “perspective” on the abuses that occurred at Abu Ghraib is exactly the kind of attitude that we should be avoiding (“Nick Berg and Iraqi detainees,” Editorial, yesterday). While it is unfortunate that so many politicians are using the events for political gain, to say that Saddam Hussein’s prisoners fared far worse is ridiculous.

The United States did not overthrow Saddam’s government to establish a situation that was only better than what existed. The United States is in Iraq to establish a free democracy, and it is against that goal that the events at Abu Ghraib should be evaluated.

Yes, the abuse that occurred there was not as extreme as what occurred under the previous regime, but does that make it any less abhorrent? Falling back on moral relativism arguments is as odious as manipulating events to fit your political ends. The government should work its hardest to determine what went wrong and ensure that it does not happen again. There should be no more to it.


Silver Spring

Sallie Mae and her Uncle Sam

Beware the temptation to interchange criticism of media reporting with lionizing the subject of the purported misrepresentation (“Misreporting on Sallie Mae,” Editorial, yesterday).

By simply characterizing the creature-of-taxpayer-subsidies Sallie Mae as an entity that “has saved taxpayers considerable sums of money,” The Washington Times misleads the reader with selective use of data. This is the same Sallie Mae that in 2002 discovered an “error” in calculating the monthly payments for 1.1 million loans, costing borrowers $9 million, and that in January announced a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry into its accounting.

Further, having obtained an enormous market share of education lending largely through its previous protected status as a Government Sponsored Entity, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Sallie Mae continues to lobby aggressively against legislative reform of barriers that protect its portfolio from real-world competition in the “refi,” or student loan consolidation, markets. Few moves offer greater potential to “save consumers considerable sums of money” than replicating the liberation of capital as was seen in the home mortgage industry.


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


A scam as old as democracy

John R. Lott Jr.’s Tuesday column ignores the real problem with electronic voting (“Hacker hysteria,” Op-Ed). The problem isn’t so much that the electronic systems will be hacked, though this risk is not zero.

The real problem is that scams as old as democracy itself will simply morph into the electronic age. The feel-good solution cited by California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley, to issue paper “receipts,” ostensibly to reassure the voter, is nothing more that the electronic version of how bosses can guarantee someone votes the way he or she has been told to vote. In the old punch-card system, a voter would go into the polling booth, hide an unpunched card in his or her clothes and walk out with it while depositing a previously obtained, possibly spoiled, one in the ballot box. Then the blank one would be voted by the precinct party boss and given to a paid voter to conceal on the way in, deposit in the ballot box and return with the blank one the voter was issued at the poll.

In the electronic age, a paper receipt makes it much easier. All the paid voter must do is present the paper receipt in order to get rewarded or even paid by the boss for voting the correct way.

On the other hand, if the electronic part could be hacked at all, the hackers likely would be smart enough to have the paper receipt reflect the way you wanted to vote and have your recorded vote go to another candidate; hence, the paper receipt would do nothing to eliminate voter fraud.

“Paid votes” run by party bosses (or union or company bosses)could actually make the fraud far worse.


Spring, Texas

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