- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 16, 2005

A flawed approach on North Korea

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she will not apologize to North Korea for calling it an “outpost of tyranny,” but what exactly will she do to stop it from becoming a major nuclear power (“Rice plans no apology to North Korea” Page 1, Saturday)? For several years, the White House has had harsh words for North Korea but has pursued a dovish and incoherent approach in attempting to resolve this crisis. Several years of six-party talks have only emboldened Pyongyang to build nukes with impunity, thereby allowing the North Koreans to become much stronger and more dangerous. Iran, sensing a U.S. paper tiger, seems to be copying North Korea’s successful intimidation and stall strategy.

The end result of this timid and incoherent policy is that both Iran and North Korea could become major nuclear powers and threats to peace. The White House needs to quickly bring a credible stick to the next round of six-party talks to resolve this urgent crisis. Once Iran sees that the White House is determined to confront North Korea, it will be more willing to negotiate an end to its nuclear ambitions.

LOU VENTICINQUE

Jamison, Pa.

A new bias in the SAT?

This weekend, thousands of high-school students took the new SAT which has undergone the most significant change in a decade (“Students have to take a new approach to acing SAT,” Page 1, Saturday).

The new SAT essay exam may bias college admissions in favor of students with anti-capitalism values. The sample essay question distributed by the College Board, which can be found on the College Board Web site, asks students to discuss whether achievement is best pursued for intrinsic versus extrinsic satisfactions (i.e., competence versus wealth).

Although social psychologists claim they have proved scientifically that wealth and materialism lead to inferior quality happiness, I and others have shown that these studies have no validity. Actually, individuals differ enormously in what makes them happy — for some, competition, winning and wealth are the greatest possible sources of happiness, but for others, feeling competent or socializing may bring life’s greatest satisfactions.

Because many professors are biased against answers favoring the pursuit of wealth — we have had 30 years of junk science on this issue — the College Board exam may unwittingly discriminate against students who are out to get rich, compete or win, in favor of those who just want to be competent for its own sake.

STEVEN REISS

Professor of psychology

and psychiatry

Ohio State University

Columbus

The facts about student loans

Your article “Parties divided on college loan programs” (Nation, Tuesday), leaves out two important points regarding the debate on federal student loan program costs.

First, your article describes the Student Aid Reward Act, a bill to cut government subsidies in student loans, as a Democratic bill when, in fact, it is sponsored by a House Republican — myself. Moreover, companion legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Gordon H. Smith, Oregon Republican. I am surprised that The Times missed these facts given that the proposal in question — eliminating government waste — has long been supported by Republicans.

Second, none of the cited reports or statements on loan program costs compares total program costs, a major oversight considering that the debate is about relative costs. Unexplainably, the article never mentions that every report done by nonpartisan government budget analysts comparing the two loan programs — which provide identical loans to students — shows an enormous difference in total costs. These reports have concluded that subsidizing banks to provide loans costs taxpayers 10 times more than making a loan directly from the Treasury.

Republicans and Democrats alike should be outraged by such waste.

REP. THOMAS E. PETRI

Vice chairman

House Committee on Education and the Workforce

Washington

Hezbollah is just like the Zionists

Joel Himelfarb’s Tuesday Op-Ed column, “Hezbollah’s deadly record,” already has been answered. A number of “Israeli statesmen” were Zionists; terrorism was their business, a means to an end.

The hypocritical pronouncements of people like Mr. Himelfarb have created a worldwide awareness of and resistance to Israel’s dishonest call against Hezbollah. It was Hezbollah’s military arm that prevented Israel from marching into Lebanon.

We have seen consistent double standards extended by the United States to Israel, including its possession of nuclear weapons, violation of U.N. resolutions, illegal settlements, etc.

The United States must act in fairness if it wants to prevent further outbreaks of terror, insurgency and civil war in the Middle East. Israel’s concerns cannot dictate the terms. Hezbollah and Zionism have much in common. As we used to say: “It takes one to know one.” If Israel can give statesmanship to Zionists, it must be prepared for Lebanon to do the same for Hezbollah.

J. SALEMI

West Springfield

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide