- The Washington Times - Monday, December 12, 2005

Stopping Tehran’s nuclear ambitions

“It is a kind of good deed to say well; and yet words are not deeds.” — “Henry VIII,” Act 3, Scene 2, William Shakespeare

Knowing what needs to be done clearly is easier than actually doing it, as Tony Blankley rightly points out in his Wednesday Op-Ed column, “Iran, the bomb and Bush.” Waiting until a situation reaches a crisis point certainly can mean having to deal with a far worse situation than had it been addressed in a timelier manner. Acting precipitously out of panic, though, as by unleashing the U.S. Air Force on Iranian nuclear sites, can lead to disaster just as surely.

While Mr. Blankley correctly rejects failing negotiations, a leap to what might be an equally infeasible military strike option leaves out any middle ground, which, in fact, may be the best hope for successful regime change in Iran. A third U.S. policy option is to empower the Iranian people through support for Iran’s democratic opposition groups, which might delay or even obviate need for U.S. military action against Iran.

As Mr. Blankley’s column acknowledges, President Bush’s 2005 State of the Union address statement to the Iranian people — “as you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you” — was a clear call for regime change in Tehran as well as for a third policy option, which might end its support for terror, destabilizing Iraq and human rights abuses. By empowering the Iranian people to change their own regime, the West will alter Tehran’s war planning and the regime’s nuclear ambitions.



Because it is vital to the national security of the United States to do what is necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear weapons progress and state sponsorship of international terrorism, it is incumbent on Washington to enlist the support of the Iranian people in this crucial enterprise.

RAYMOND TANTER

Co-chairman

Iran Policy Committee

Washington

D.C. 20004

www.iranpolicy.org

Tel: 202-742-6517 (O)

Tel: 202-333-7346 (C)

New rules for the death penalty

I concur with the conclusions reached by Dan K. Thomasson (“New rules needed for death penalty” Commentary, Wednesday). There is indeed emerging evidence that strongly suggests innocent people have been executed in this country.

In addition, the data support his contention that the criminal justice system’s reluctance to reopen a case often signals an unwillingness to admit a mistake. State legislatures and the U.S. Congress must enact effective, improved reforms to address the many errors that plague the system.

Even with these facts, Congress is considering a proposal — the Streamlined Procedures Act (SPA) — that is neither effective nor an improvement. It will only make a bad situation worse, making it more likely that innocent people will be executed.

The expressed intent of the legislation is to speed up executions by virtually eliminating federal review of these criminal cases. Federal courts effectively would be stripped of jurisdiction to consider cases in which a prisoner’s constitutional rights may have been violated.

Ironically, the bill would not expedite the appeals process because it would overturn a series of Supreme Court decisions, disregard long-established principles of federalism and invite a whole new series of constitutional challenges.

A wide range of individuals and organizations have expressed serious misgivings and opposition to the legislation. The chief justices of all 50 states, the Judicial Conference of the United States, former federal and state prosecutors, and leading conservatives such as David Keene and John Whitehead all are in agreement — the Streamlined Procedures Act is a bad idea.

JOHN F. TERZANO

President

Justice Project

Washington

Flawed environmental logic

How any credibility can be attached to Bill Clinton’s logic is beyond me (“Clinton says Bush ‘flat wrong’ on Kyoto,” World, Saturday).

His statement regarding global warming, “There’s no longer any serious doubt that climate change is real, accelerating and caused by human activities,” is extremely dangerous to the study of climate change. It limits research to a single entity, humans. It is strictly a strategy to redistribute the resources of developed countries through a global socialistic tax. It ignores the study of complexity with regard to predicting climate change. It ignores the integration of plate tectonics, the Earth’s rotation on its axis, gravity, the sun and the fractal heating components that have made up the composite weather characteristics since the beginning of the planet’s atmosphere.

Nature will always prevail; humans are simply concerned about what they can control and not about providing a realistic approach to the power of nature.

LARRY STONE

Peyton, Colo.

Preserving East Potomac Park

Steve Nearman is observant, accurate and correct in his analysis “East Potomac Park doesn’t need to feel like Mall” (Weekend Athlete, Sports, Sunday).

East Potomac Park is a gem of greenery in this most wonderful part of our city that should not be turned into a thoroughfare or a parking lot with concession stands, etc. that would deprive District residents of a key location for safe walking, running, inline skating, biking, tennis, swimming and golf. East Potomac Park, part of the national park system, provides some much-needed space for physical exercise and recreation to many of our underprivileged District residents. With the obesity epidemic ever increasing in our nation, the unique opportunity for active physical leisure and recreation so close to the geographical center of Washington should not be curtailed by making East Potomac Park an extension of the Mall. We urge all residents of the District to get involved by urging the appropriate officials to leave this park alone and seek other sites for any expansion of the Mall.

AL MORRIS

Chairman

Long Distance Running

Potomac Valley Association

USA Track and Field Association

Washington

Ambiguous policy on torture

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice did the right thing when she affirmed, “The United States doesn’t engage in torture” (“Rice satisfies NATO on torture,” Page 1, Friday).

Like a word that can be interpreted simultaneously as itself and as its opposite, our policy on torture should be paradoxical.

If we codify, as Sen. John McCain would like, a ban on what amounts to torture, then we have put ourselves in a semantic box. Terrorists, for example, will know that if they are captured by U.S. troops, they can never be forced to reveal secrets that alert us and our allies to potential harm through, for example, terror attacks .

However, if we suggest, as neoconservatives such as journalist Charles Krauthammer would like, that we will not rule out torture, we will be seen, at a minimum, as hypocrites, defying international conventions and our own model of how responsible nations should behave.

So what should we do?

We should declare that we ban torture. Then, if terrorists in our custody defy us, let them discover firsthand the vagaries of ambiguity…

ONA M. BUNCE

Bethesda

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