- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 11, 2004

Who’s the enemy?

In his column “Witch hunt?” (Commentary, Wednesday) Frank Gaffney Jr. excoriates FBI leaks of so-far unsubstantiated claims that Pentagon and AIPAC (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) principals transferred perhaps classified information on the administration’s Iran policy to Israel.

Do federal agencies have their own foreign policies? Are they supposed to oppose or support the administration or be at least unbiased? Specifically, does the FBI have different policies from those of the Pentagon? We know the State Department does, notably on the war in Iraq.

Are some countries allies of parts of the U.S. government and adversaries of other parts? Are the French allied with the State Department but not the White House? Are we structured like Iran — that is, with horizontal government competitors championing their own policies? Should we be?

ONA BUNCE

Falls Church

A friendly voice

I understand D. Jeffrey Hirschberg’s concern that Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has been refused airtime in Ukraine since spring. I also admire Kiev Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko for his clearheaded opposition to the machinations of President Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yanukovych (“Ukraine’s October vote,” Op-Ed, Monday).

I was a longtime fan of Radio Kontinent because it aired BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and its Polish counterpart, and Ukrainian public radio. As the publisher of Eastern Economist, I was myself an occasional guest on Radio Liberty and a frequent commentator for the BBC in London from 1997 to 2002.

Recently, Radio Era has come on board at the Radio Kiev station and can now be caught even in such remote towns as Yaremche, for which I am extremely grateful. I can at least hear BBC again when I am not in Kiev, although I have not heard Radio Liberty yet.

LIDIA WOLANSKYJ

Publishing consultant

Founder, Eastern Economist

Kiev

Terrorists, beware

Sylvain Charat’s incredible Op-Ed column “Three weapons to fight terror” (Thursday) was awesome, beautifully written and to the point. It is a cry to the civilized world that it is time to unite or be destroyed.

It seems strange that Russia was criticized for stating that it would fight terrorism anywhere in the world after its school disaster, and yet I believe that was the same thing our president declared after September 11.

There is no way we can conquer terrorism with a more “sensitive” approach. Nor can the United States conquer terrorism on its own. Let us unite with Russians, Britons, Australians and any other people who see this as the last call for the civilized world.

DON BLOCH

Jacksonville, Fla.

Short-shrifting science and math

I largely agree with Bruce Fein’s call for education to include history and classic literature (“Rethinking education,” Commentary, Wednesday), but I was made uneasy by his dismissal of science and math as mere “supporting actors,” “bereft of moral insights and inspiration.”

Science and math teach a respect for accuracy; an understanding of what conclusions can and cannot properly be drawn from evidence; and an appreciation of objective reality as something that cannot be ignored or dismissed, whatever one’s wishes, one’s rhetoric or the teachings of any human authority.

Mr. Fein mentions Werner von Braun, a rocket engineer for Adolf Hitler and, later, for the United States. He might ponder the possible connection between the scientific achievements of such heroes as Andrei Sakharov, Yuri Orlov and Fang Lizhi and their dissent against totalitarian regimes built on systematic falsehood.

Granted, scientific education is not guaranteed to produce honesty, courage or any other moral virtue, but neither are the study of history, the reading of heroic literature or even instruction in ethics. Mr. Fein refers to Edward Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” and so he should be aware of Commodus, the son of the stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius, whose education sadly failed to lead him to practice virtue as an adult.

NICHOLAS ROSEN

Arlington . He appeased Hitler, and millions of lives were lost that could have been saved.

The vice president is issuing the same kind of warning to the American people. Do not let history repeat itself.

Do not appease the terrorists.

CARMEN C. CHIMENTO

Brookline, N.H.

Off the deep end

Patrick Michaels’ Commentary column “National Geographic melting down?” (Tuesday) is spot-on. This once-highly respected magazine is so no more.

Three articles on global warming, covering 74 pages in this month’s magazine, concentrate on telling us three things: One, that the Earth is undergoing rapid, sudden climate changes; two, that these are somehow abnormal and bad; and three, that they are caused by humans putting too much carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air, causing global warming.

The first claim of rapid change is pretty much true. The idea that such change is abnormal is not true, and National Geographic even says so on Page 62: “These shorter changes came in bursts, causing the climate to jump from cold to hot to cold again, sometimes in mere decades.” This means such changes are normal.

What National Geographic doesn’t understand is that all those sudden changes in climate happened without humans putting any CO2 into the air. The rapid changes happened anyway. How can anyone be sure that today’s rapid changes are not being caused by the same forces that caused all the other ones? Whatever causes all those changes had, carbon dioxide likely was not one of them.

MICHAEL NEIBEL

Roseville, Mich.

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