- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Disappointing move on Libya

My brother, Charles T. Fisher, was killed when Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. I have serious concerns and am deeply disappointed regarding President Bush’s decision to order the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. government on Libya (“Bush lifts sanctions in reward for Tripoli,” Nation, Tuesday).

It is most tragic that the lifting of these sanctions skirts the issues of morality and justice and that it sends the wrong signal to other terrorists and terrorist nations. Permitting Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi to buy his way out of murdering 270 people is morally wrong and unjust. It would be just as wrong to allow Abu Musab Zarqawi to buy immunity for the executions of American citizens in Iraq this week. The possibility of purchased immunity, no matter how far down the road, for these acts would today seem inconceivable.

If Osama bin Laden were to accept responsibility for the slaughter of nearly 3,000 innocents on September 11 and pay the families of the victims of that tragedy, would the president or America permit bin Laden and those who acted with or for him to return to the world community as citizens in good standing? And can Saddam Hussein purchase freedom?

The White House’s decision to lift these sanctions now is particularly disturbing because serious allegations and ongoing investigations remain as to whether Libya is still involved in terrorist activities. The United States is also investigating allegations that Col. Gadhafi was involved in a conspiracy to kill Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. We do not know what the conclusions of the investigations will reveal, but by removing the sanctions, it appears that we have given Col. Gadhafi the benefit of the doubt.

I have expressed these concerns repeatedly to the State Department and many officials of the administration. As for progress in the ongoing investigation of the largest terrorist attack on U.S. citizens before September 11, the Justice Department has repeatedly responded that it has no comment.

As a lifelong Republican, I express these concerns without a political agenda. I firmly believe that one of the most effective deterrents to terrorism is not negotiating with terrorists. I would hope that the United States would have treated Col. Gadhafi as we would treat any other terrorist.

Other than time, there is no difference between the actions of Col. Gadhafi and Zarqawi, and I would have assumed no statute of limitations.


Chevy Chase

Kyotonomics debunked

Pincas Jawetz’s argument that the United States economy would benefit by following the path of the Kyoto Protocol’s few adherents (Letters, Tuesday) is logically and factually unsound.

Consider his premise: 38 countries of the world — Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Iceland, the United States, etc. — agreed in principle to an energy suppression measure, the Kyoto Protocol.

The same measure was refused by 160 other countries: China, Mexico, India, Brazil, South Korea, and the like. Even among the mere 38, an insufficient number agreed to ratify the treaty to bring it into effect according to the agreement’s own formula.

Only the United Kingdom and Sweden among the pre-May European Union-15 nations are actually in compliance. By remaining among the 160-plus countries with no desire to inflict Kyoto on themselves, by Mr. Jawetz’s logic, the United States is going it alone.

What of those proud, supposedly economically vibrant few who soldier on “in exasperation” with our refusal to adhere?

Other than 10 percent unemployment and next-to-flat economic growth since they undertook this campaign, stubbornly clinging to Kyoto’s prescriptions seems to be working out just fine.

Actually, this experience further dispels the notion that energy suppression paves the road to economic health.

Every major economic downturn in the past century was preceded by the increase in energy prices that is Kyoto’s hallmark. In fact, just wait until the energy rationing really kicks in and the results match pro-Kyoto rhetoric.

Claiming that President George H.W. Bush “supported the Kyoto Protocol” is absurd, if consistently so.

The Kyoto Protocol is named for the conference at which it was drafted, in December 1997. Thematic talks did not even begin until 1995.

President George H.W. Bush was defeated in 1992. If anyone can show me evidence of George H.W. Bush supporting Kyoto, I will show you a Kinko’s copy shop in Abilene, Tex.

As to President Clinton, he indeed signed this abominable treaty, but for the remaining three-plus years of his presidency refused to submit it to the Senate for ratification.

Mr. Jawetz concludes by menacingly intimating the collapse of the World Trade Organization over the Kyoto differences. In his hypothetical, he lays this at the feet of the United States.

This scenario presumes that the WTO — a body created to break down discriminatory trade barriers — is likely to accept the argument that if EU nations decide to do something remarkably silly to themselves, then the United States must either follow suit or be punished.

If any organization that could reach such a conclusion were to collapse, it would be no great loss. Fortunately, it remains as unlikely as the rest of this odd mishmash of Kyotonomics.


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


Separation, properly understood

In his commentary “The balance of power” (Op-Ed, Friday), Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, laments that “many misunderstand the role of the three branches of government — especially the judiciary.” Unfortunately, the Senate contributes to and shares this misunderstanding. By blocking an up-or-down vote of the president’s judicial nominees, the Senate relies upon its procedures to trump the constitutional separation of power.

The constitutional power of the president to nominate members of the judiciary is limited by the power of the Senate to advise and consent, which includes the right to reject the nominee. The Constitution does not confer upon the Senate the right to sit on the nomination. The framers drafted the Constitution in general language, mindful of the need for each branch of government to implement its prerogatives in a suitable manner.

However, our Founding Fathers expected that manner to be legitimate and in the interest of the public. To implement Senate procedures contrary to such intent subverts the separation of powers, the foundation of our republic. It is unfortunate that partisan senators have submitted themselves to such activities.



Homeland security efforts

The front-page story Sept. 10 headlined “Rounding up all illegals ‘not realistic’ ” was not a fair representation of my discussions with the editorial board.

As everyone in attendance will recall, I outlined the historic efforts of this administration. In just the past 20 months:

• We’ve added officers, upgraded equipment and employed the latest technology in our border enforcement efforts.

• We’ve given Border Patrol agents new authority to remove illegal aliens without unnecessary court proceedings.

• We’ve increased apprehensions and removals of illegal immigrants both on the border and in the interior of the United States.

• We’ve increased partnerships in unprecedented ways with federal, state, local and tribal entities to better coordinate our efforts along and near the border, particularly in high-traffic areas such as the Arizona desert.

These new enforcement efforts were not reflected in the story. To be fair, they should have been. In addition, the story unfairly referred to my comments about the benefits of legal immigration to American society as somehow implying that I supported illegal immigration. Illegal immigration is wrong and should be subject to enforcement actions.

Immigration issues evoke deep emotions in our country. News coverage of immigration issues should be fair and balanced. In my view, this particular news story was not.


Undersecretary for border and transportation security

Department of Homeland Security


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