- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 10, 2005

Drug reimportation

Allison Lake’s Op-Ed column “Free market principle” (Tuesday) is an outstanding example of how to advocate the undesirable and defend the indefensible. What courage, to argue that sick Americans should have to pay higher prices for their medicines. How exquisite is the sophistry whereby we are told that higher profits for the drug companies are in our own best interest.

Admirable most of all is the loyal defense of the corrupt Food and Drug Administration, which asserts its infallible power and legal responsibility to override our freedom to choose what medicines we believe will make us well. And all in the name of the free-market principle.

Midway through the column, we find this fine oxymoron: “Although the American consumer should be trusted with his own powers of risk assessment, the safety of reimported drugs cannot be assured without massive cost.” (There obviously is no extra cost if we trust the American consumer.)

Actually, we should not blame the author. Originally, and for many years, the FDA had the responsibility of assuring only the safety of our food and drugs. However, in the early 1960s, Congress destroyed our freedom to decide which medicines would be effective for us as individuals. It gave this power to the FDA, as well as the responsibility to decide the “efficacy” as well as the safety of all drugs.



Thus, for more than 40 years, the FDA has made up and enforced the rules that govern the proof of efficacy. The result is a continual and astronomical increase in the cost of developing new medicines.

This is both good and bad for the drug companies. It increases their development costs, but that high cost also shuts out competition, especially from natural drugs, which cannot get patent protection.

This abuse will continue to kill thousands of impoverished Americans who cannot afford the monopoly prices thus imposed — unless, of course, they exert their freedom of choice by importing from other countries.

CARL E. OCKERT

Vienna

Procreation and homosexuality

Homosexual rights supporters Delegate Adam P. Ebbin and Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette vehemently oppose the ban on same-sex “marriage” recently passed by the Virginia House and Senate (“Virginia House approves gay ‘marriage’ ban,” Page 1, yesterday). Both claim it’s discriminatory and intolerant not to consider same-sex “marriage” on an equal footing with traditional marriage between a man and a woman.

Liberals claim they’re for the good of the children, unless it includes maintaining the stability of the traditional nuclear family unit. Many liberals, including many homosexual activists, do not consider a fetus a living being, so it’s no wonder that procreation and raising children within the realm of traditional marriage is meaningless to them.

Messrs. Ebbin and Mr. Fisette are flaunting their homosexuality for self-righteous political gain. Because homosexuals cannot meet the standards of traditional marriage, they use their own plight to tout discrimination and intolerance.

They have chosen to discriminate against the womb of life that heterosexual moral men value as an obligatory honor and homosexual men ignore as a nuisance of nature.

ROBERT T. MOLLEUR

Manassas

Army transformation

The editorial “Restructuring the Army” (Monday) fundamentally distorts the meaning and content of my book “Breaking the Phalanx” and what is really happening inside the Army. What is passing for Army transformation has nothing to do with the expeditionary Army consisting of 5,000-man formations under brigadier generals that I outlined in the 1997 book “Breaking the Phalanx” and my 2003 book, “Transformation Under Fire.”

The editorial’s reported 10- to 15-brigade increase in Army structure has nothing to do with Stryker brigades — these were programmed under the previous Army chief of staff. The explanation for the increase is more serious and frightening: Given 10 divisions with 90 battalions, reduce the number of fighting battalions per divisional brigade from three to two (i.e. 30 brigades of three become 45 brigades of two). It’s a bit like doubling the number of panzer divisions in the German Army for the 1941 attack on Russia by halving the size of each panzer division. The Army becomes less capable with more unneeded overhead and additional support troops inside weaker divisions.

The Stryker brigades are at best paramilitary police formations designed to operate as SWAT teams against lightly armed enemies in peace support operations. The Army’s generals have kept the Stryker land-combat vehicle out of urban fighting in places such as Fallujah and Najaf, where they would have sustained serious losses. Even then, the Stryker-equipped units have remained heavily dependent on air strikes for effectiveness, let alone survival against determined insurgent attacks in Iraq.

Instead of investing in rapid prototyping of more capable platforms inside new organizations, the hemorrhage of scarce dollars into the Army’s intellectually dishonest programs has degraded Army war-fighting capability and sacrificed time — time we cannot afford to lose. Future regional wars in the Middle East and Asia will demand robust Army combat formations with the armored protection and devastating firepower to prevail in close combat.

COL. DOUGLAS A. MACGREGOR

Army (retired)

Ashburn, Va.

No pandering to illegals

Once again the Virginia House has overwhelmingly passed a bill to bar illegal aliens from attending Virginia state colleges (“Bill bars illegals from colleges” Metropolitan, Feb. 4). And once again “fifth column” politicians such as Gov. Mark Warner and State Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. of Winchester will do their worst to defeat it. The reasons opponents use for blocking this effort are spurious and ridiculous .

Mr. Potts rattles on that “it goes against the American dream.” Balderdash. Isn’t it odd that a Virginia lawmaker’s vision of the American dream is the gratuitous pandering to criminal foreign nationals who openly violate the laws of the United States and pick his apples?

Mr. Warner’s thought that it would “add to anti-immigrant sentiment” is preposterous. Anti-immigrant feelings are inflamed by alien criminals being given free rein to “loot” our educational, medical and social infrastructure with the blessing of a Virginia governor.

The victims of this illegal scam are not poor, hardworking, immigrants. The true victims are the citizens and legal residents of the state. Virginians will continue to be the victims so long as they are the only ones in this equation who respect and abide by the rule of law. It is past time to act.

WILSON L. FARIS

Gaithersburg

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