- The Washington Times - Friday, October 29, 2004

Challenging Moran

In the article “Challenger mounts ‘anti-Moran’ campaign” (Metro, Tuesday) on Virginia’s 8th Congressional District race, Rep. James P. Moran is quoted as continuing his charge that Lisa Marie Cheney’s campaign is “focused on personal attacks on [his] character.”

First, any challenge to a sitting congressman is by definition a referendum on the incumbent. And second, the history of inappropriate behaviors in question are not personal matters. They are the public acts of our representative, and they have diminished his ability to get the job done for our district.

How can Mr. Moran claim to be an effective leader when he has been stripped of his party leadership post, and when he is ignored in the halls of Congress by members of his own party, six of whom wrote him a letter a year ago asking him not to run for re-election?

Personally, I agree with Mrs. Cheney’s stand on most issues. I understand that many in our Democratic-leaning district do not. But the election next Tuesday is about one issue that overrides all others: what type of representation do we deserve in Congress? Our district deserves a strong representative who will work with members of both parties to represent us with honesty and integrity.



COLLEEN ROCHA LEVINE

Alexandria

Ukraine history

Bruce Bartlett errs in saying that Ukraine “has no history of either democracy or self-government” (“Critical vote in Ukraine,” Commentary, Wednesday).

The medieval Kievan state had town meetings, and the Cossacks elected officers and government officials. Moreover, large parts of Ukraine were part of the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, a gentry republic with elected monarchs. Western Ukraine was ruled by Habsburg Austria, with its parliamentary system and rule of law. In 1918, Ukraine created an independent, though short-lived, democratic republic with extensive civil and minority rights.

Russia, of course, introduced autocracy and then communism. But Russian authoritarianism, which it is now seeking to reimpose, is alien to Ukrainian political traditions.

ANDREW SOROKOWSKI

Rockville

Russian Embassy’s response

The Russian Embassy follows with great interest the unfolding presidential campaign in the United States. Considering the highly contested nature of this campaign the last thing the Russian side wishes is to get drawn into purely internal debates.

Yet it is exactly what The Washington Times is trying to accomplish in two articles on Thursday (“Russia tied to Iraq’s missing arms”) and yesterday (“Photos point to removal of weapons”) regarding the hot issue of “missing” explosives in Iraq.

Referring to sources in the Pentagon, namely John A. Shaw, deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, reporter Bill Gertz claims that certain Russian troops had been involved in removing these explosives before American forces invaded Iraq.

This is completely far-fetched. I would state that these claims are false, ungrounded and ill-intended. There were no Russian troops or military personnel in Iraq prior to the invasion.

All of them left the country at least 12 years prior. To try to scapegoat Russia for such shortfalls is utterly unfair. The whole absurdity of those claims is confirmed in some statements by the high-level U.S. administration officials. We consider that they invalidate the information provided by Mr. Shaw.

I should also mention that it was the Russian Federation that on a number of occasions has proposed an early resumption of weapons verification missions in Iraq by U.N. inspectors under existing U.N. Security Council resolutions.

YURI V. USHAKOV

Ambassador

Russian Embassy

Washington

Social Security and tax increases

One point in Dick Armey’s excellent article (“Tales from the ‘trust fund,’ ” Commentary, Tuesday) describing the myths surrounding President Bush’s proposed Personal Retirement Accounts (PRAs) needs clarification.

Although, as he says, the trust fund is full of IOUs, they are not meaningless insofar as the viability of the Social Security program is concerned. Social Security will not run dry and into the red in 2018 as Mr. Armey states. Rather, at that time, the Treasury will be obligated to begin repayment to the trust fund the amount that it borrowed.

This is often brushed off as being merely a bookkeeping nicety, but it is much more than that. The IOUs should be repaid from general revenue, and not from increased payroll taxes. To do otherwise would not be ethical.

The sources of general revenue and Social Security funds are not one and the same. Payroll taxes are not and should not be mixed or confused with income or other federal revenue.

There is no doubt that payroll taxes will need to be increased over the long haul, particularly if PRAs or some other program isn’t adopted to save Social Security. But, insofar as current trust fund IOUs are concerned, those debts should be paid from general revenue, and until the trust fund is reduced to zero Social Security will not be in the red or incurring a deficit.

JAMES GRABB

Fairfax

On the EU, China and Taiwan

The letter from Chinese Embassy spokesman Sun Weide (“China and the arms embargo,” Oct. 16) in support of the French-led attempt to repeal the European Union arms embargo against China completely misrepresents why, when and how the embargo was instituted.

Mr. Sun, for instance, argues that the embargo dates from the Cold War. But it was adopted because of the human rights tragedy that took place on Tiananmen Square, June 4, 1989.

It had nothing to do with the Cold War.

His claim that there are no grounds for linking the EU embargo to human rights is false as well. He argues that the extent to which China adheres to human rights has never been higher.

Still, Tiananmen demonstrators are in jail today, and advocacy of the cause they espoused remains a criminal offense.

The press counselor then states that the Chinese government follows peaceful foreign and defense policies. If this is the case, why does the Communist government need to import arms? What pressing threat justifies China’s interest in satellite technology that would facilitate that nation’s use of joint direct attack munitions -style guided bombs?

He then identifies Taiwan as the paramount danger to East Asian security. Is he serious? Is the stance that a small democratic country such as Taiwan can threaten the second greatest power in the world really credible?

The legitimacy of the communist government is the only thing Taiwan can threaten. The Tiananmen massacre demonstrated that Beijing treats such threats with the utmost brutality.

The European Union, therefore, would do irreparable harm to its own stated humanitarian principles and the standard of human rights around the world if it lifts the embargo.

What it comes down to, is that the European Union must choose whether it wants to remain a force for the advancement of human rights and preservation of stability or merely become a trading association that seeks profit at every opportunity, without regard to human cost.

MING-CHI WU

President, Formosan Association

for Public Affairs

Washington

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