- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Praise is undeserved

The lavish praise showered on the Pakistani lawmakers for passing legislation that introduces the death penalty for so-called honor killings is rather undeserved (“An honorable mention for Pakistan,” Editorial, Tuesday).

What use is the enhanced punishment of the death penalty when the law does not make the state a party in the murders and the murderer cannot be punished? Murders in the name of honor are committed mostly by close relatives of the victim. Under another law (Islamic) such killers can be pardoned by the close relatives of the murderer himself. No one, not even the state, has a right to speak for the victim. The recently passed law fails to address this issue and honor killings continue to be a private affair.

The opposition members of parliament in Pakistan tried hard to end the privatization of murders in the name of honor and make it recognizable by the state, but failed.

We failed because the emphasis is merely on putting up the facade of what President Pervez Musharraf calls “enlightened moderation,” rather than making a law that really addressed the core issue in honor killing.

FARHATULLAH BABAR

Spokesman and senator

Pakistan People’s Party

Islamabad

Illegal immigration makes people angry

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told officials of the Mexican government that “The president remains committed to comprehensive immigration reform as a high priority in his second term.” (“Bush revives bid to legalize illegal aliens,” Page 1, yesterday).

With Arizona passing Proposition 200 and Colorado now gearing up for a similar measure for enactment (Defend Colorado Now), it’s time for the media’s and politicians’ silence to end on the subject of illegal immigration and its disastrous effects on America. Americans have gone from frustrated to angry on this issue.

We don’t want “amnesty” or “guest-worker plans” or “earned legalization” or “paths to citizenship.” We want any changes to current laws addressed publicly, not engineered in the dark of night by politicians such as Mr. Powell and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge hoping they won’t be held accountable.

The illegal-immigration advocates don’t want public debate. Neither do big businesses. But we the people do. Everything out in the open. And we want politicians to listen to the people.

Let’s be clear: this administration’s refusal to listen is what sent us from frustrated to angry. What Mr. Powell neglected to say is that Congress faces re-election every two and six years. This legislation will not pass. Americans are angry.

JAN HERRON

Evergreen, Colo.

European reaction to the election

The European reaction to the U.S. presidential election needs to be interpreted in historical perspective (“Chirac, old Europe and the election,” Editorial, Monday). If Europe had been polled in the late 1930s on the need to confront Hitler, the views of Neville Chamberlain and other leaders would doubtless have prevailed.

The popular notion of appeasement and the sense of security provided by outmoded walled defenses were strongly held. Only the emergence of the strong leadership provided by Winston Churchill and the willingness of the United States to bail out Europe for the second time in that century prevented the dominance of the continent by dictatorships.

Today, appeasement and inaction in the face of serious threat have again emerged among vocal European groups, aided by the mainstream media. British Prime Minister Tony Blair finds himself in the position of Winston Churchill, and the United States has assumed its all-too-familiar leadership role in the global war on terrorism.

The emerging scandal of the U.N. Oil for Food program has brought serious corruption allegations to the very doorstep of the United Nations and to highest levels of the French and German governments. The security interests of this country cannot be subjugated by the economic interests of other parties.

The United States is thankful for the contributions of the large coalition assembled to rid the world of Saddam Hussein in a frontier of the war on terrorism. We look forward to the emergence of a democratic government in Iraq as an important role model for that vital region of the world.

WADE H. COLEMAN

Lawrenceville, N.J.

Heart of America red, not blue

What an intriguing choice of words from James Carville regarding the needed resurrection of the Democratic Party (“Democratic Party must be ‘born again,’ Carville says,” Nation, Tuesday). Colorful language, but I suspect it will highly offend many in his emphatically secularist party. I wonder, too: How will his choice of the word “homos” sit with the politically correct?

Respectfully, I do not believe his “I’m out of the denial” declaration. If so, he would never have said, “I think we could elect somebody from Beverly Hills if they had some compelling narrative to tell people about what the country is.” It was for effect, I know. But his timing is a bit off on mentioning Tinseltown.

Although I don’t think it will be anytime soon, Democrats may regain some semblance of effectiveness and political power, but not until they understand this: The heart of America is colored red, not blue. And not until they stop denying this: “Moral values” is not some empty campaign slogan, and Americans love and support their country, with all of her faults.

C. KENNA AMOS JR.

Princeton, W.Va.

Diversity of political views

Columnist Diana West’s “Americans not fooled by media” (Friday) is a reflection of the perpetual one-sidedness of political coverage in the media. Even in its rightful (excuse the pun) observation of liberally slanted political views held by the majority of mainstream media, the column failed to address the conservative bias displayed in the media.

We must be careful to avoid replacing one bias for another in light of President Bush’s victory. Journalists and news reporters should relay the news in the most objective way possible. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in this election (among countless others). As a result, many Democrats dealt with a great disappointment that stemmed from a slanted view of the effectiveness of Sen. John Kerry’s campaign, a disappointment that could have been minimized if not avoided, had the media not projected a distorted view of the truth.

The same networks have dominated the television industry for decades and they use a small closed community of producers. It would be safe to say that these “elites” have a generally uniform perspective of the world. If a sect that shares political views heads a network, then it is to be expected that those views would surface in the reporting. This can be dangerous if these dominant views distort reality, which, in this election, they did. The diversity of political views should be embraced, rather than one or two dominant views.

Americans have some responsibility to filter the “propaganda” of pre-election politics in the media; however, the greater responsibility lies in the hands of journalists. Perhaps in the future, networks will take care to restrain opinion for the sake of good journalism.

JANAIHA NELSON

Washington

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