- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2005

McCain’s compromise a winner?

I have enormous respect for Thomas Sowell and almost always agree with him, but his conclusion that Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, emerged as the winner from the Senate’s “compromise” on the constitutional option for bringing judicial nominees to a vote seems off the mark (“The McCain mutiny,” Commentary, Monday).

True, Mr. McCain gains in the short term from the praise lavished on him by the national media elite, but Republican primary voters don’t much care about the elites’ opinion — and if they care, it’s to register a contrary viewpoint. Republican operatives and grass-roots voters are not likely to forgive Mr. McCain for his mutiny, and it is their support — not that of the mainstream media — that he will need to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

As for the Hobson’s choice of Mr. McCain vs. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton: That’s a horrible prospect the voters likely will never face. First, Mr. McCain would have to get nominated, which wasn’t awfully likely before he led the “Spineless Seven” in revolt and is even less so now.

The “compromise” might prove a winning hand for Mr. McCain only if the Democrats stick to it and resist the temptation to filibuster future judicial nominees — and we all know that isn’t going to happen.



New Zealand not a pacifist country

The subhead “Australia takes up military slack for pacifist, anti-nuke neighbor” (World) jumped off the page at me when I was reading your Friday edition. The headline is simply incorrect and very misleading, as is much of the content of the article.

Far from being isolationist and pacifistic, New Zealand has always made a significant contribution to international security often quite disproportionate to the small size of our country — just 4 million people. Your readers may be interested that, in fact, New Zealand:

• Fought alongside the United States in every major conflict of the 20th century.

m Has deployed military personnel for reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Afghanistan, New Zealand is the only non-NATO country leading a Provincial Reconstruction Team.

m Has deployed our elite Special Air Service Special Forces to Afghanistan to work alongside U.S. forces against Taliban and al Qaeda elements. Our SAS received a joint presidential citation for its efforts in Afghanistan, a very rare honor for foreign units.

m Has deployed military assets to Operation Enduring Freedom, including a frigate and P-3 Orion aircraft to support interdiction operations in the Persian Gulf, and C-130 aircraft for tactical air support.

m Has participated in more than 50 peace-support operations around the globe since 1990 in places such as the Middle East, Timor-Leste, the Balkans, Somalia, Cambodia, Haiti, Bougainville and Sierra Leone.

• Is implementing a major re-equipment program for our defense force, including the purchase of six new naval ships, two Boeing 757s, 105 light armored vehicles, medium-range anti-armor weapons, and the refurbishment and upgrade of our C-130 and P-3 Orion fleets.

• Has just announced a very substantial package of operational spending that will increase numbers of military personnel by up to 20 percent.

I think your readers will agree that these facts demonstrate that any suggestions that New Zealand is a pacifist country are absurd. As I am sure you will agree, actions speak louder than words.



Embassy of New Zealand


Smoked marijuana is not medicine

I was deeply disappointed to see that The Times would print Common Sense for Drug Policy’s irresponsible and inaccurate advertisement relating to the cannabis-derived product Sativex (Op-Ed, May 18).

This product is a rigorously researched, tested and manufactured prescription medicine. It is standardized in consistency, formulated to ensure proper absorption and precisely regulated in dose. Physicians in Canada, where the product is approved, can feel comfortable prescribing something that a national regulatory agency has concluded is safe, effective and of good quality.

The same cannot be said of crude marijuana ? in liquid or any other form. The ad you published demonstrates that CSDP and other pro-marijuana groups are hijacking a legitimate pharmaceutical program to serve their agenda to legalize smoked marijuana by defining it as a medicine.

That agenda has nothing to do with serving the needs of seriously ill patients. Because such groups see that Sativex is a threat to their agenda, they are trying to confuse the public about the product’s nature.

With this ad, they have gone too far; their argument actually undercuts their goal. If Sativex is just “liquid marijuana,” obviously there is no justification for their continuing to advocate for cruder, untested smoked versions of marijuana.

As a practicing physician, I believe that if they really had the interests of sick patients in mind, they would abandon their support of smoked marijuana and work for the availability of a real medicine.

A medicine needs to be delivered by a safe method (smoking can never pass that test because smoke is toxic); it needs to have a known and predictable dose; and it needs to be approved by the formal process used to approve modern medicines as safe and effective, which in the United States is the Food and Drug Administration. Smoked marijuana fails on all three of these counts.


President, Institute for Behavior and Health Inc.

Former director, National Institute on Drug Abuse


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