- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Kerry in the truth trenches

Dan Thomasson calls charges that Sen. John Kerry lied about his Vietnam record “utterly discredited” (“Tough time in truth trenches,” Commentary, Sunday).

I do not know where Mr. Thomasson gets his news. It must not include The Washington Times. Mr. Kerry said he was in Cambodia during the Nixon administration, and he was not. Mr. Kerry said he was awarded his first Purple Heart when he was wounded by the enemy, but his own diary says he had not yet met the enemy in combat. Mr. Kerry testified before Congress that soldiers had committed atrocities in Vietnam, but he later said his statements were “over the top.”

Mr. Kerry indeed seems to face tough times in the truth trenches, whatever Mr. Thomasson thinks.


Potomac Falls

Annan’s hypocrisy

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan spoke out of both sides of his mouth when he stated that the U.S.-led war in Iraq was illegal under the U.N. Charter, but hypocritically, he remained silent when President Clinton supported NATO bombing of Yugoslavia without asking for the approval of the United Nations nor of the U.S. Congress (“Annan makes peace with Powell,” Page 1, Saturday).

Those who oppose President Bush’s policy toward Iraq demand to know, “Where are the weapons of mass destruction?” and “What have the Iraqi people ever done to us?” Yet they didn’t seem to care when their wag-the-dog president supported bombing the Serbs for 78 unmerciful days even though the Serbs did not have weapons of mass destruction and did not attack us. Nor were they much of a threat to us.

Mr. Annan, who has yet to answer for the U.N. oil-for-food scandal, now seeks to make peace with Secretary of State Colin Powell because he knows which side his bread is buttered on.


Camp Hill, Pa.

Protect free conscience on abortion

“Doctors object on moral grounds” (Nation, Friday) reported that the House of Representatives recently voted to prohibit government authorities from requiring any health care professional or institution to perform or pay for abortions.

Our Founding Fathers obviously would applaud this protection of individual liberties and conscience. Yet when D.C. officials faced this hot brewing battle a few years ago, they pushed free speech and freedom of religion aside and nearly plunged the capital into a health care crisis.

In July 2000, the D.C. Council thumbed its nose at faith-based hospitals and other conscientious objectors by passing a bill to force D.C. employers to provide health-insurance coverage for contraceptives and abortion-causing drugs — regardless of providers’ ethical or moral objections. The council’s unscrupulous decision left conscience-driven hospitals and charities with no other choice than to shut down rather than violate vital religious and ethical principles.

The imperious mandate raised the specter of sick and dying patients lining up at City Hall demanding to know why pro-choice legislators had taken away their doctors’ choice and imperiled their own life-saving health care. Only a pragmatic pocket veto by the mayor, under threat of congressional intervention, stopped that measure and averted the potential shutdown of faith-based hospitals and charities.

Dissenting at-large Council member Harold Brazil, who had lobbied to add a “conscience clause” exemption to the mandate, reminded the council at that time, “James Madison once said, ‘Conscience is the most sacred of all property.’ ”

Since the D.C. debacle, abortion activists have hotly pursued their conscience-crushing campaign to make others provide and pay for their abortions and birth control. Of course, they can’t easily explain why employers’ health-insurance plans, designed to help employees defray the cost of treating illness and disease, should suddenly be made to pay for preventing or ending a healthy pregnancy. Nor can they justify why providing relatively easily obtained contraceptive and abortifacient drugs requires violating the conscience rights of those who remain morally opposed to such practices.

Pushing reproductive rights toward reproductive mandates seems certain to backfire in the court of public opinion. The irony of trampling individual liberties and conscience rights while marching under the banner of “choice” will not be lost on the American public.


Senior policy analyst

Christian Medical Association

Ashburn, Va.

No cold shoulders

Arnold Beichman says Canada is waging a “cold war” against the United States (“Canada’s cold shoulder to U.S.,” Commentary, Monday). In support of that bizarre claim, he says Prime Minister Paul Martin is “another America-hater.”

Mr. Beichman fails to provide the reader with any facts to substantiate that claim. How the head of a government that is on the verge of agreeing to participate in the United States’ missile-defense system could be an America-hater is rather mysterious. Mr. Beichman adds that former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau was “ultra-left.” One wonders then where he would put American politicians such as Franklin D. Roosevelt or Rep. Richard A. Gephardt on the political spectrum: “supra-left,” maybe?

Mr. Beichman relies on two declarations by an obscure member of parliament with no national profile except for outbursts of protests she generated when she made her disgraceful remarks.

He also mentions, in a rather confused way, the fact that Al Jazeera can now be broadcast in Canada. Certainly, any advocate of freedom of speech would agree that one needs a serious reason to bar a broadcaster from the airwaves. Al Jazeera is a special case and may sometimes go beyond what is acceptable. The relevant Canadian regulatory agency agrees with this assessment, as it happens: Al Jazeera will indeed be monitored and censored, something unique in the history of Canadian television. That was left ambiguous in Mr. Beichman’s column.

There is something potentially embarrassing in Mr. Beichman’s argument about Al Jazeera. I noticed that Dish Network also broadcasts Al Jazeera. Does it censor it as Canadian broadcasters do? If they do not, then Mr. Beichman will have to apply to the United States the same words he applied to Canada: “We can assume [the country] is permitting from its own soil a pro-terrorist broadcaster to send terrorist, anti-American propaganda.” How ironic.



Socialized medicine

Dr. Alex Gerber carefully avoids the term “socialized medicine” in describing his answer to America’s health care dilemmas (“Broken health care system,” Commentary, Sunday), but “Medicare for our entire population” that is “financed by a nonprofit, single-payer government agency” is precisely that.

Using Canada as an example, Dr. Gerber waits until the second-to-the-last paragraph to describe one of the primary shortcomings of such a system: “long waits for care because of a shortage of hospital beds, medical personnel and advanced diagnostic techniques.” But not to worry — the inevitable shortages caused by socialized medicine around the globe won’t happen in America.

The good doctor’s prescription reminds me of the story about the woman who enters the delicatessen and asks, “I need some hamburger meat — how much a pound?” When the man behind the counter answers “$3,” she exclaims “So high? The butcher down the street charges only $1.99.”

“So,” the man replies, “why didn’t you buy your hamburger there?”

“Because he’s out of it,” she answers huffily.

“Well,” the deli man says, “if I were out of meat, my price would be $1.99, too.”


Oak Hill

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide