- The Washington Times - Friday, November 26, 2004

On Reed Irvine

I remember vividly Reed Irvine’s performance at the annual Washington Post shareholders’ meetings as he pressed his agenda and I emphasized mine (“Pioneer media critic Reed Irvine dies at 82,” Nation, Nov. 18). Power never fazed him. He presented in forceful and sometimes belligerent fashion his views about news coverage in that newspaper. He was not readily silenced by the rebuttal of the chairman of the board of the corporation.

Certainly he was the last of a dying breed. He fought for his principles as he saw them, popular or not. He will be missed sorely by many. But certainly the powers at The Washington Post will appreciate being able to reduce the time of the meeting by 30 minutes — if, that is, the other gadfly, Evelyn Davis, does not show.

NELSON MARANS



Silver Spring

Democrats must moderate

House Democrats don’t seem to have gotten the message from Election Day that a majority of voters sent them (“House GOP changes rule that could remove DeLay,” Nation, Thursday). Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., Tennessee Democrat, wonders “what in our message are people not getting,” and your article says he asserts that “Democrats are right on the issues, but must better grasp the motives of voters in the South and Midwest and alter their message accordingly.”

Echoing this line of thought, Rep. Albert R. Wynn, Maryland Democrat, agrees that Democrats must learn how to “frame our message in a way that has appeal to rural voters, Southern voters and voters that have concern with moral values.”

This sounds like something straight from a Democratic National Committee press release. The problem, Messrs. Ford and Wynn, is not something in your message, it is your message — high taxes, timidity on defense and “Hollyweird” social values.

The Democrats have lost five of the past seven presidential elections. With that in mind, I submit that a majority of the American people over more than a generation has concluded that Democrats are wrong on the issues.

Questioning our motives? This sounds like a Freudian attempt to discern the election results. Granted, Freud would probably dispense better political advice than the likes of Bob Shrum and Donna Brazile, but altering their message is not going to help Democrats when their message is inherently flawed.

Putting a frame on a pig does not a beauty make. Until the Democratic Party substantially moderates its positions on key issues, most Americans will continue to flee it at the altar.

ROBERT BRANTLEY

Alexandria

God, the ACLU and Boy Scouts

It’s time someone reminded the American Civil Liberties Union that America’s motto is “In God we trust.” Notwithstanding any settlement between Department of Defense bureaucrats and ACLU attorneys, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld should speak out and strongly affirm the Pentagon’s support for the Boy Scouts of America (“Rumsfeld asked to reconsider ban on Boy Scouts,” Metropolitan, Sunday), a national institution that promotes integrity, patriotism, individual responsibility, and yes, belief in God.

This battle is not a church-state issue, as the Boy Scouts do not seek to promote any particular church above another. It’s not even about religion per se. Merriam-Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary defines religion as “a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.” Secularism is a religion to its adherents. Which means activist secularist organizations such as the ACLU are not really anti-religion so much as they’re anti-God. This explains their maniacal efforts to remove the Ten Commandments from the public square, remove God from the Pledge of Allegiance, banish His name from the public schoolrooms and destroy the Boy Scouts.

Because most Americans are pro-God, the ACLU and its cohorts have been unable to fully impose their anti-God agenda via the electoral process. So they’ve sidestepped democracy and made substantial inroads by cleverly “forum shopping” for sympathetic judges in America’s courtrooms.

It is particularly distressing, after an election in which traditional God-based values played such a large role, to learn that the Defense Department is kowtowing to the ACLU’s demand to cease supporting the Boy Scouts. The role of the parties is clear: The Boy Scouts contribute immeasurably to America’s moral fiber, and the ACLU seeks to shred it.

It is entirely appropriate that Mr. Rumsfeld, as a representative of the executive branch and a former Eagle Scout, step into the breach and exert some leadership. Reflecting the recent electoral mandate, he should affirmatively convey the Department of Defense’s wholehearted support for great American institutions (including the Boy Scouts) that help strengthen our nation, and aggressively resist groups such as the ACLU that feverishly work to break it down.

SAMUEL R. LEWIS

Oak Hill

Israel in the post-Arafat era

It is hard to present a case for Israeli sovereignty more astutely than Zalman Shoval (“The post-Arafat era,” Op-ed, Monday).

I use the word sovereignty because that is often what the entire debate over the Palestinian situation is all about. For a plethora of reasons — whether it be gross anti-Semitism, the effectiveness of propaganda that romanticizes the plight of the Palestinians or what Mr. Shoval has accurately described as the “unholy business and political alliances” between European governments and despotic regimes — outside forces are seizing the opportunity of Yasser Arafat’s death to castigate Israel in hopes of forcing their hand one way or the other.

Ultimately, no government, protest movement or publication has any say in how Israel chooses to defend its people, no matter how passionate they are in denouncing Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Company. There is no quick fix for ending terrorism. As ex-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested time and time again, terrorists do not hate the United States because of Israel, they hate Israel because it has embraced the Western world in a way that they cannot.

When, in eulogizing Mr. Arafat, the words of men like Javier Solana and Kofi Annan become indistinguishable from those of the corrupt leaders of the Arab League, it is dangerous to trust such organizations in “impartially” deciding the fate of Israel.

The disgracefully adulatory comments made by such leaders as Jacques Chirac, who said that Yasser Arafat was “a man of courage and conviction,” and the otherwise reasonable and moral Nelson Mandela, who said that “Yasser Arafat was one of the outstanding freedom fighters of this generation,” only prove that otherwise respectable men will shamelessly step all over each other to smear Israel and, by extension, the United States .

JOSHUA GROSS

Trumbull, Conn.

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