- The Washington Times - Monday, December 26, 2005

Where are the Arabic translators?

As a Maryland resident who recalls the Iraq out-of-country voting in New Carrollton in January, I am amazed we suffer a dearth of Arabic translators (“Needed: Arab translators,” Op-Ed, Thursday). Your newspaper carried story after story about this historic event. Thousands of Iraqis and people of Iraqi heritage raised their purple fingers. This took place all over the United States.

Why are these “Iraq patriots” missing in action as Arabic translators? It is unacceptable that Arabic-speaking immigrants — who number in the millions — seemingly will not volunteer for translating jobs.

As an American who watches the war in Iraq and the toll it is taking on our military and our resources, I am offended that so many in this group remain conspicuously off the radar.



Democrats and domestic oil

The same arguments Sen. John Kerry makes (“Kerry Democratsdemagogue ANWR,” Editorial, Wednesday) against oil drilling in a tiny portion of the Arctic NationalWildlifeRefuge — that ANWR drilling would harm the “pristine” Arctic environment for a “few months” worth of oil and wouldn’t reduce our imports by more than a fraction — were made against drilling in Prudhoe Bay, some 60 miles to the west of ANWR.

The U.S. Geological Survey estimates ANWR contains 10.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil, roughly the equivalent of the oil produced by 41 of the 48 continental states, and which could supply all the oil needs of John Kerry’s Massachusetts for 75 years. At say, $60 a barrel, that’s a lot of money, and a lot of jobs, kept here at home.

Prudhoe Bay has produced 13 billion barrels of oil since 1977 and has an estimated 3 billion left, a moving target as oil-recovery technology improves. Meanwhile, the Central Arctic Caribou Herd, whose habitat includes Prudhoe Bay, has grown from 5,000 in 1977 to more than 31,000, based on Alaska Fish and Game’s latest census.

Another refuge in Alaska, the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, has had drilling onsite for decades, with no discernible harm. Indeed, there are currently active oil and gas wells in at least 36 U.S. wildlife refuges.

The “pristine” environment the greenies talk about is in fact catastrophic and nightmarish. Winter on the coastal plain, where drilling would occur, lasts nine months. Total darkness reigns for 58 days. The temperature drops to 70 degrees below zero without the wind chill. Your spit freezes before it hits the ground.

“ANWR would supply every drop of petroleum for Florida for 29 years,” says Interior Secretary Gale Norton, “New York for 34 years, California for 16 years or New Hampshire for 315 years.” It can also supply Washington, D.C. for 1,710 years, where there is no shortage of hot air.



Can’t shy away

I was extremely disappointed to read your article “Military chaplains told to shy from Jesus” (Page 1, Wednesday). I, like thousands of others, became a battlefield converttoChristianityin Vietnam. At the time, I learned the only way one can enter the kingdom of heaven is through Jesus Christ. Nothing has changed. Remove Jesus, and you gut Christianity. I respect the right of others to pray to their God, but to tell Christians that Jesus is unimportant is heresy. This PC stuff has gotten completely out of hand. It appears our commander in chief needs to assert his Christian beliefs. Talk about potential recruitment problems. I am ashamed our military has come to this. This is not the Army I knew, nor one in which I would serve.


U.S. Army (retired)

St. Marys, Ga.

Santorum goes centrist

It is interesting to note that as he is embroiled in a re-election campaign in which he is trailing his opponent by a wide margin, Sen. Rick Santorum, Pennsylvania Republican, is sprinting from the far right to the political center (“Santorum severs ties to center over intelligent design,” Nation, Friday).

The most recent indication of his ideological shift is his disassociationfrom a Christian legal group which defended the teaching of Intelligent Design versus evolution.

In a 2002 article in The Washington Times, Mr. Santorum endorsed Intelligent Design as “legitimate scientific theory that should be taught in science classes.” Now he puts forth the belief that the group with which he was formerly aligned went too far in pushing its position in court and has sought to soften his words in support of Intelligent Design as science.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the legal group which espouses the teaching of Intelligent Design, exposed Mr. Santorum’s motivation in saying that “he is involved in a very hotly contested Senate race, and it’s probably in his best interest (to disassociate himself from our group).” In other words, Santorum is attempting to be seen as a reasonable, non-fringe, mainstream Republican. Therefore he must run away from his record.

Along with the senator seeing the light for the moment on Intelligent Design, I trust we will also not be subjected during the campaign to any dictate that societymust “rescue” individuals who are in persistent vegetative states, as he foolishly did in the Terri Schiavo matter, turning that family’s horror into a national circus and travesty. Let us enjoy while we can the revamped, reasonable Rick Santorum, which should last only until Election Day 2006.


Upper Saint Clair, Penn.

Repeal the Byrd Amendment

Alan Tonelson’s Commentary article “Protecting Lawful Trade” (Thursday) inaccurately claims that American companies will be deprived of a “bedrock protection” against unfair trade in the absence of the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act, known as the Byrd Amendment, which the House and Senate have voted to repeal. In reality, except for a handful of companies that hit the jackpot — 39 companies received 80 percent of the first four years’ distributions — American manufacturers will be well rid of this law.

Mr. Tonelson admits that the United States has had anti-dumping laws in place since 1921 to guard against unfair trade. But the Byrd Amendment was adopted in 2000 to funnel the antidumping and anti-subsidy duties that level the playing field to private companies, whether they were damaged or not. There was never a requirement to prove any loss, much less the amount of loss.

TheByrdAmendment changed anti-dumping and anti-subsidy laws by allowing companies to double-dip: Companies that participated in trade cases benefited from higher prices resulting from duties placed on imports and pocket the revenues derived from those duties.

While Mr. Tonelson claims that recipients “often spend the duties on productive assets,” his statement tacitly admits that they did not have to. The money goes to the companies with no strings attached and no verification to determine how the money is spent. The Government Accountability Office conducted a review of the Byrd Amendment and found that one company received more than one-third of the $1.2 billion of Byrd Amendment money that has been distributed since 2001, and that five companies received about half of all distributions.

Mr. Tonelson incorrectly states that no WTO rules prohibit distribution of these funds — the WTO ruled to the contrary, and their decision stands. The retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports because of the delay in repealing the Byrd Amendment fall on the shoulders of U.S. companies competing in the global market.

The U.S. oyster, swine and dairy industries are now suffering from retaliation. Why is one group more important than another?

The Byrd Amendment is an extreme example of corporate welfare. Its repeal will not weaken U.S. trade laws and will strengthen both U.S. global competitiveness and stature.


Hogan & Hartson LLP


Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition




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