- The Washington Times - Monday, March 7, 2005

Robert Rubin for World Bank president?

Your article “Snow still hasn’t found what he is looking for” (Page 1, yesterday), is thought-provoking. Though he may not be able to rock as well as Bono, an eminently qualified and bipartisan candidate for president of the World Bank is Robert Rubin. Mr. Rubin was President Clinton’s secretary of the Treasury from 1995 to 1999. He played a leading policy role in domestic and international matters. Mr. Rubin has extensive experience in financial affairs worldwide. As Treasury secretary, he helped open trade policy to further globalization and acted to stem financial crises in Mexico, Asia and Russia. Mr. Rubin serves as chairman of the board of the Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), a leading community development support organization in the United States.

ARUN KHANNA

Visiting professor of finance

College of Business Administration

Butler University

Indianapolis

Justices steal states’ rights

“The New Age Supreme Court” column by David Limbaugh (Commentary, yesterday) gives us much to ponder. As a firm pro-life citizen, I am against the death penalty, period. Nevertheless, it is frightening to consider that the Supreme Court imposes its decisions by manipulating our Constitution to satisfy justices personal beliefs.

One possibility was left out of the court’s equation: Teenage gang members (who usually have an older “leader”) can now pick a juvenile member to do the dirty work of killing (a policeman, a rival, a gas station attendant, etc.), and that juvenile will have no fear of being executed for the murder.

The pro-death-penalty folk preach that the death penalty is a deterrent to committing murder. Right or wrong, we will just have to wait and see how high the murder rate by youths climbs now that the “wise ones” have handed them carte blanche to kill at will. A troubling thought is that most of these youngsters have no conception that they can die. Another troubling thought is the very real possibility that we will run out of room in our already overcrowded prison system, which is paid for by the taxpayers. Even though the justices haven stolen a state’s right, hopefully these young criminals will have to spend the rest of their natural lives in prison, without parole. Ever.

MARY ANN SWEENEY

Cranford, N.J.

I appreciate that bashing the European Union is the flavor of the month. However, in her confused argument on the juvenile death penalty, Debra J. Saunders seems to prefer the standards set by Iran, China and (God help us) the Democratic Republic of the Congo to those of the liberal democracies of the European Union (“European justice supreme?” Commentary, Saturday).

As a citizen of Ireland and of the European Union, I can assure your readers that I enjoy much the same liberal rights as do U.S. citizens. Moreover, any EU citizen can go to independent courts to enforce those rights against national governments and the EU itself.

As a lawyer, I have witnessed decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court cited in important constitutional cases in the Irish and EU courts. This is quite natural. There is a common thread underpinning the legal relationship between citizen and state in all liberal democracies. The silly polemics of your columnist should not obscure that fact.

PETER MURRAY

Cork, Ireland.

GOP wooing blacks

Republican efforts to win black votes (“GOP drive to woo blacks via church alarms Brazile,” Nation, Thursday) should be effective because churches are very important to the black community. The Republican Party is also on the Christian side of issues, such as abortion and same-sex “marriage.”

Republicans also support issues that are good for blacks as well as all other Americans. Among other things, they are for vouchers so parents can get their children out of failing public schools, parental notification before an abortion so parents can decide how to deal with an underage daughter’s pregnancy, tax cuts so taxpayers have more of their money to spend, the Marriage Penalty Relief Act so married couples don’t pay more income taxes than if they were single and living together, voluntary investment of part of Social Security so people can earn and keep more for their retirement, and the faith-based initiative so churches can be more effective in solving social problems.

The Democratic Party is in favor of power to control the people. The Democrats prefer big government, high taxes and dependent people who rely on government programs to provide jobs, education (public schools), medical care (Medicare/Medicaid), retirement (Social Security), etc. Under Hillary Rodham Clinton’s program, they tried to take over the health care industry in this country. Big government is like a big plantation except the slaves are now from all races.

ROBERT BOUDREAUX

Waldorf, Md.

Peacekeeping wrongs and rights

Your Thursday editorial “When peacekeepers behave badly,” while critical of the United Nations, acknowledges that action is being taken to prevent peacekeepers from sexually exploiting and abusing vulnerable populations.

Yes, peacekeepers have behaved unconscionably, as I pointed out in my Feb. 22 letter to you. We have acknowledged this as a grave problem, and it is being met with immediate and firm action. We are moving to root out all who may be abusing their duty of care, on all of our peacekeeping operations, and to prevent any further abuse from occurring. Deputy Secretary-General Louise Frechette is traveling to a number of peacekeeping missions to meet with senior leadership and peacekeepers on the ground to drive home the secretary-general’s zero tolerance policy.

You note that U.N. peacekeepers in Haiti were suspended for sex with a prostitute. That is correct: We are cracking down, and there is no room for this behavior on a U.N. peacekeeping mission. Our code of conduct is clear in its prohibition against all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, prostitution and sex with minors. More than 50 blue helmets have been expelled from the mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and countries such as Morocco and South Africa are prosecuting a number of those expelled soldiers on sexual-abuse-related charges. Another person, a civilian, has been dismissed from the United Nations and is in jail in France awaiting trial on charges of pedophilia.

In the meantime, also in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the deaths of nine Bangladeshi peacekeepers brutally killed last week while defending war-displaced civilians in the virtually lawless region of Ituri remind us that peacekeepers continue to give their lives in the service of peace.

For the sake of the millions of long-suffering innocents they have been sent to protect, this terrible stain on the reputation of U.N. peacekeepers must be removed.

JANE HOLL LUTE

Assistant secretary-general

for peacekeeping operations

United Nations

New York

The fatality rates reported among the U.N. peacekeeping missions (“Perils of peacekeeping, Page 1, Sunday) were astounding. In many parts of the world, the U.N. forces are experiencing fatality rates of 10 percent or higher. If the U.S. forces in Iraq were experiencing fatality rates on this order, we would have had 15,000 fatalities by now instead of 1,500. This certainly indicates that our military is very well-managed compared to the U.N. missions. I do not object to the fact that we contribute more than one-quarter of the funding for these U.N. missions; but I hope we are not contributing too many American lives to them.

BOB VAUGHAN

Towson, Md.

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