- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2004

Free of politics

President Bush’s recent announcement of his intention to bring back 70,000 U.S. troops stationed overseas has stirred critics on the left. They accuse the president of playing politics and of potentially offending our allies. I believe it is the critics who are playing politics. The real question is whether this is good policy and in the best interest of the United States.

Forty years ago, I headed a study called “United States Air Force Project Forecast,” which looked ahead 10 years to make technology and policy recommendations to the Department of Defense. One of our major recommendations was to build large transport aircraft capable of “global reach” (the plane that eventually was built was the C-5).

Here’s what we said in the Project Forecast report: “True global air mobility, which can provide world-wide deployment and support of military forces is required. Loosening alliances and unpredictable political leanings of many independent nations do not permit realistic estimates of available base systems a decade into the future. The problem of overflight is similarly uncertain. Maximum independence from overseas basing and overflight privileges must be achieved.”

That statement was free of politics and remains true today.

GEN. BERNARD SCHRIEVER

Air Force (retired)

Washington

Marion Barry returns

It is reported from ancient history that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. One modern-day equivalent is former District Mayor Marion Barry, who smoked crack cocaine while the District of Columbia burned (“Barry unseats Allen in his comeback,” Page 1, Wednesday).

Mr. Barry’s years of mayoral “leadership” brought the District to its knees in every way and made him and D.C. voters laughingstocks and the stuff of late-night talk-show comedy.

Marion Barry has risen to see another day, having won a primary election and being expected soon to occupy a seat on the D.C. Council, representing the poorest quadrant of the city. Obviously, those who voted for Mr. Barry have demonstrated that good governance is of no importance to them and that they do not take their choices for office seriously.

Clearly, truth is stranger than fiction in the world of politics.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Rather unconvincing, con’t.

To understand the actions of CBS News and anchorman Dan Rather regarding their possible involvement in the questionable authenticity of documents concerning President Bush’s National Guard service (“Whodunit?” Editorial, Wednesday), listen to former CBS reporter Bernard Goldberg in his 2002 book “Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News.” Among Mr. Goldberg’s observations about CBS: “If I’ve learned anything after all these years as a network newsman, I know this much: never — never — underestimate how low news executives, and TV people in general, will go.”

Mr. Goldberg says Mr. Rather’s current boss, CBS News President Andrew Heyward, once confided, “Dan can’t distinguish between mainstream, legitimate criticism and criticism coming from extremists. It’s all the same to him.”

Mr. Heyward also said, “If anyone around here ever takes Dan Rather on, he’ll find a way to get even.” Mr. Goldberg would know. CBS terminated him not long after his heretical views about liberal bias there became known.

Without the further proof CBS apparently is unwilling to give, we may never know the full extent of what CBS News knew and when it knew it. It is time Dan Rather and his colleagues at CBS provided the kind of truthfulness they always demand from America’s corporations.

ROBERT BERRY

Montgomery Village

Naked truths

In “The naked truth” (Commentary, Thursday), former stripper Elisabeth Eaves argues that health concerns, crime control, community quality and morality aren’t good enough reasons for citizens to try to prevent strip clubs from invading their own neighborhoods. Why? Because sex already has saturated society through MTV, Abercrombie & Fitch catalogs, the Internet and Super Bowl burlesque. So why, Miss Eaves argues, do “crusaders” hypocritically single out strip clubs?

In fact, legislation and citizen activism are addressing all of the aforementioned sex-related abuses. The House of Representatives recently passed a broadcast decency bill, and the Senate is considering a decency amendment this week. Concerned Women for America, Focus on the Family, Redskins coach Joe Gibbs and many others have demanded changes at Abercrombie & Fitch. And legislation such as the Child Online Protection Act has attempted to protect children from degrading Internet activity (if not from judicial activism).

Elsewhere, Ms. Eaves has conceded about stripping, “I pretty much concluded that it does more harm than good.” Surely that’s an understatement, according to law enforcement experts and humanitarian groups, who note that strip clubs provide a common entry point for forms of modern-day slavery such as prostitution and sexual trafficking. Besides the virtual or physical enslavement, degrading abuse and violence that afflicts victims of human trafficking, these women and children almost surely will contract sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS from patrons who treat them like meat. Anyone who would assert libertarian or First Amendment arguments in defense of strip clubs ought to look into the vacant eyes of these victims destined for death by disease and ask them about free speech.

JONATHAN IMBODY

Senior policy analyst

Christian Medical Association

Ashburn, Va.

Fishy science

In his column on the recent scientific report documenting the effect of recreational fishing on marine fish populations, Gene Mueller employs the often-used “if I don’t like the science, attack the scientists” ploy (“Study on sport anglers is suspect,” Sports, Sept. 8).

The highly regarded journal Science recently published the findings of a peer-reviewed scientific study that concluded that sport fishermen have a greater effect on declining ocean fish populations than previously thought. The Pew Charitable Trusts supported the independent research, which was undertaken by fisheries biologists at Florida State and Duke universities as part of a decade-long effort to strengthen the scientific underpinnings of fishery management in the United States.

The study to which Mr. Mueller’s article refers does not blame sport fishermen for the problems affecting U.S. fisheries, as he asserts, but simply points out that they contribute to problems of overfishing in some fisheries and that efforts should be made to address these problems before they get worse.

Rather than attacking scientists, we would be better off working together to fix the problems in both recreational and commercial fisheries in this country before we end up with far fewer fish as well as fishermen to catch them.

JOSHUA REICHERT

Pew Charitable Trusts

Philadelphia

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