- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 10, 2004

What Duelfer thinks

The final report by Charles A. Duelfer, who replaced David Kay as head of the Iraq Study Group, indeed goes furtherthan just saying that no weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq (“Misreporting the Duelfer report,” Editorial, Friday).

It also says that Saddam Hussein “wanted to recreate Iraq’s WMD capability … after sanctions were removed and Iraq’s economy stabilized,” which probably explains why Saddam used money skimmed from the United Nations’ corrupted Oil for Food program to bribe foreign officials and others in an attempt to get those sanctions lifted.

What Mr. Duelfer said was that it was unclear what happened to banned weapons produced before 1991 and declared to the United Nations but never accounted for, such as the 550 155-mm artillery shells filled with mustard agents that Saddam declared having. We can’t overlook the possibility that some WMDs were moved to Syria.

In fact, three months before Operation Iraqi Freedom began, Israeli intelligence detected Iraq moving large amounts of military materiel into Syria, another Ba’athist dictatorship, materiel that could have included Saddam’s WMDs, materiel destined to be hidden in Syria or the Syrian-controlled Bekkaa Valley of Lebanon. In an interview with the London Telegraph, Mr. Kay said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before Operation Iraqi Freedom, saying that “we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam’s WMD program.”

Precisely what went to Syria, and what happened to it, needs to be resolved. Mr. Kay has said that all of Saddam’s unaccounted-for WMD could be stored in a space the size of a two-car garage. And former Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey noted that Saddam’s entire suspected anthrax inventory would fill only half a semitractor-trailer.

We have discovered tanks and fighter jets buried in the sand up to their tail fins. Hopefully, our heads aren’t.

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

Debate disappointing on stem cells, abortion

While I think that President Bush performed effectively overall in the debate on Friday night (“Pundits see Bush win in second debate,” Page 1, Saturday), I was left both exasperated and saddened by how he handled both the stem cell and partial-birth abortion questions.

I cannot believe that Mr. Bush wasted a perfect opportunity to cover the differences between adult and embryonic stem-cellresearch.Both Mr.Bush and John Kerry ignored the fact that adult stem cells are proving useful and effective in the treatment of diseases in humans. Mr. Bush also missed the fact that no attempts have been made to use embryonic stem cells in humans due to the dangers they show in animal research. Both candidates spoke about embryonic stem cells as though they were the only type of stem cells in existence.

President Bush should have leaped at the opportunity to show this. Instead, he gave a canned response.

Mr. Bush also should have briefly described the partial-birth procedure for those who don’t know what it entails. Then, he should have mentioned that the American Medical Association endorsed legislation that bans partial-birth abortion. Lastly, he should have clarified that the only medical exception missing from the legislation he signed was one to protect the mental health of the mother. That is a provision to let mothers have partial-birth abortions in cases where having a baby would cause mental distress, thus making the law useless.

JAMES WARRICK

Burke

Questions on baseball’s costs

Mayor Anthony A. Williams is touting a price tag of more than $400 million for the new baseball stadium (“Protesters decry ballpark plan,” Metro, Wednesday). What will be the real cost after cost overruns? What about the interest costs? How much is the refurbishing of RFK Stadium going to cost? How much will be spent on infrastructure improvements to the new stadium area? How much is it going to cost to acquire the property for the stadium?

The mayor should tell the truth. The people of Washington and the City Council should demand these answers.

ART SKILLMAN

Germantown

John Kerry: Richard Nixon redux

William Hawkins left out a few points about John Kerry’s strategies to win the war in Iraq (“Debating how to win the war,” Commentary, Thursday). First, Mr. Kerry has set a date for leaving Iraq. He wants to throw more troops into a terrorist war and then get out. I listened to an active-duty general with regard to the supposed missed opportunity to capture Osama bin Laden. He stated we could lose the entire 10th Mountain Division in the area bin Laden supposedly escaped from.

Although former Coalition Provisional Authority head L. Paul Bremer said he didn’t have enough troops, he is not a military strategist. He is a bureaucrat like Mr. Kerry. President Bush listens to the military for input on capabilities and strategies, not the bureaucrats. More troops are not the answer for asymmetrical warfare.

Mr. Bush is fighting the typical urge to overbuild the military following the devastation of the military during the Clinton years. The pendulum always swings back too far, which could be dangerous to the fiscal recovery.

Mr. Kerry talks about forming another coalition. The French, Germans, Russians and Chinese are not going to offer assistance until stability is established or the war is lost. Stability will only be established with the current coalition, not the United Nations or the European Union. Attempting to reconstitute the coalition would be like bringing in vultures after the carcass is dead (especially after the Oil for Food debacle). The old coalition wants the carcass to be dead first. They would love nothing better than to see the United States fail. So, Mr. Kerry’s strategy is destined to be a Richard Nixon redux.

LARRY STONE

Peyton, Colo.

Balance liberty and security

I commend Deroy Murdock for arguing in favor of more efficient communication and cooperation among our intelligence and security services. Nevertheless, I am disturbed by his choice of language when he uses the phrase “legal niceties” (“Patriot Act terror protection,” Commentary, Tuesday).

Mr. Murdock might reread some history of the United States as well as the history of certain brutal totalitarian regimes such as those in Hitler’s Germany and Pol Pot’s Cambodia. It ought to become apparent that it is just such legal niceties as constitutional checks and balances and the right not to be subjected to unchallenged and unwarranted search and seizure that distinguish the United States from many a despotic regime. Also, did not our Founding Fathers institute this kind of government precisely because they saw firsthand via King George III the potential for abuse on the part of a government that is not sufficiently accountable to its own citizenry?

One of my greatest fears as a parent is that someone might harm my child or family. Thus, I support increased security measures. Let there be a balance, however, between the drive to increase security and the necessity to preserve individual liberties and privacy.

After all, at the end of the day, this is the only way we can preserve a legacy of freedom for future generations to enjoy and, indeed, ensure future generations’ survival.

PATRICK O’MARA

Chantilly

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