- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Terrorists exploit Guantanamo flap

Linda Chavez’s Saturday Commentary column concerning Sen. Joe Biden and also Amnesty International brings to mind a few observations (“Sound bites and consequences,” Saturday).

The comments of various Amnesty International officials comparing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility to Soviet gulags are patently ridiculous and amply refuted by Mrs. Chavez. Any reasonable person will dismiss such comments for what they are: anti-American and anti-Bush liberal diatribes. Mr. Biden’s comments are another matter.

When Mr. Biden speaks, he does so under the auspices of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which he is the ranking Democrat. Mrs. Chavez notes that Mr. Biden appeared on ABC’s “This Week” and stated that the Guantanamo Bay detention facility should be shut down and the prisoners moved to another location.

Implying that there are prisoners who do not belong there, he stated: “Those that we have reason to keep, keep. And those we don’t, let go.” He further suggested that a commission be established to look into the matter.

Mr. Biden’s solutions to what he calls the “greatest propaganda tool that exists for the recruiting of terrorists” are at best naive. If the prisoners are moved, two things will happen. Those who criticized the old facility will merely regroup and direct their displeasure to the new one.

Mr. Biden can be sure the relocated prisoners will disseminate to anyone who will listen to the fictitious tales of abuse they have been instructed to spread. The situation will be much worse because the terrorists and critics will have one more “propaganda tool”: an a priori argument supporting the truthfulness of their assertions.

Why else would the senator suggest release of some of the prisoners, relocation of others and a commission to sort things out? Why indeed? Politics come to mind.

Mrs. Chavez notes that one of the reasons “al Qaeda has proved so deadly is that it understands and exploits Western sensibilities so well.” It would appear that Mr. Biden has not considered the extent to which partisan exploitation feeds the terrorist threat to our country.

ROBERT HARGEST

Alexandria

Saving money with hybrid cars

There are two problems with the analysis discussed in “Think twice about investing in a hybrid” (Letters, Friday). First, a hybrid is a great investment if you want to do your part in helping to cut our dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East.

Second, car buyers beware: The Edmunds.com analysis misrepresents the amount of time people spend driving in congestion, where hybrids give you the best bang for the buck. By assuming only one-third of your driving is in the city, the numbers underestimate fuel savings. Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that people spend about 62 percent of their miles in the city, nearly twice as much as Edmunds.com assumes.

On top of that, the electric motor takes over some of the braking duty from your brake pads, saving you money on replacements. You did catch the fact that, at least through 2006, you can get a $2,000 tax deduction for your hybrid, worth about $600 in your pocket. Some states have additional incentives that you can find out about at hybridcenter.org.

DAVID J. FRIEDMAN

Research director

Clean Vehicles Program

Union of Concerned Scientists

Washington

Trespassers in New Hampshire

In an editorial in The Washington Times on Monday (“Illegals as trespassers”) reference is made to the story that local police in two New Hampshire towns charged illegal aliens for trespassing under state law in an effort to pick up the slack for President Bush and Congress, both of whom refuse to deal with the country’s illegal-alien problem.

I am baffled that in the midst of the war on terrorism, our liberal immigration policy has allowed our southern and northern borders to be wide open for illegal aliens to walk into our country anytime they desire to do so. This makes as much sense as a family purchasing a security system for their home but leaving the back window open.

Both the Republicans and Democrats have an obsession to give corporations cheap labor to perform menial tasks and/or to increase their voting base with new voter blocs. As a consequence, they have forgotten that their major duty is to protect Americans from foreign and domestic enemies by any means possible, including the securing of our borders.

America is a nation of immigrants, but in past generations, immigrants have come into our country in an orderly fashion in accordance with rules and procedures and have taken the necessary tests and oaths to become American citizens to assimilate into our culture.

Today, however, illegal aliens are pouring over the borders primarily to secure quick jobs and obtain rights and benefits meant for American citizens and paid for by American taxpayers. This is not only immoral and illegal, but also very dangerous to our nation’s security and well-being.

The presidential candidate who tackles this issue head-on and adopts a policy of unequivocally securing our borders from illegal aliens will, in my opinion, be a difficult candidate to beat in the election of 2008.

JOHN A. MALAGRIN

Baltimore

• • •

The police in New Ipswich, N.H., are not only tactically smart for charging illegal aliens with trespassing, but they are also touching upon an argument for limiting immigration that overcomes a frequently used libertarian premise (“Illegals as trespassers”).

Libertarian advocates for open borders usually argue that when a willing employer and willing worker exist, other people should get out of the way. The reality is that both workers and employers make use of public property such as roads, sewers, water lines, power grids, etc. These things are the common property of taxpayers. Once the freedom to make contracts exists, individuals proceed to form corporate entities with corporately owned property.

Illegal aliens are trespassers when they make use of these corporate properties without the consent of the owners.

DOUGLAS M. FORBES

Greenfield, Ind.

Specter’s record

In Charles Hurt’s article “Senate Democrats develop new filibuster strategy” (Monday, Page 1), Mr. Hurt erroneously asserts that Sen. Arlen Specter, PennsylvaniaRepublican, agreed to a Democratic request that the Bush administration produce additional unpublished opinions authored by Judge Terrence W. Boyle, a nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

In fact, Mr. Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, clearly stated both in a June 6 letter to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, and then again at the June 9 committee meeting that Judge Boyle had provided sufficient materials to the committee and did not need to produce any further unpublished opinions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee traditionally requests that a nominee provide all of the published opinions and only those unpublished opinions that were reversed or received particular criticism. Judge Boyle dutifully provided the committee with all of his published opinions and those unpublished opinions required pursuant to the committee questionnaire.

Mr. Specter went into extensive detail outlining the committee’s review of Judge Boyle’s opinions — published and unpublished — and explaining his own conclusion that securing additional unpublished opinions would be overly burdensome and unlikely to provide any useful information to the committee. The chairman believes the committee has ample materials for determining whether Judge Boyle merits confirmation.

Mr. Hurt correctly notes that at the June 9 committee meeting, Mr. Specter agreed to postpone the committee vote on Judge Boyle by one week. Committee Democrats, as is their right, were united in seeking additional time to debate this nominee.

Rather than spark a crisis by trying to cut off the debate on a party-line vote, Mr. Specter agreed to put off the vote for one week and in return secured an agreement to limit the debate on Judge Boyle to one hour when the committee next meets, today. As a consequence, the chairman expects the committee to move forward expeditiously on Judge Boyle’s nomination.

MICHAEL O’NEILL

Chief counsel

Senate Judiciary Committee

Washington


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