More than a mea culpa
With regards to Bob Woodward’s recent revelations concerning his role in the Plame affair (“Woodward and the Plame affair,” Op-Ed, Nov. 17): Loyalty to one’s colleagues generally is an admirable trait. Unfortunately, The Washington Post adheres to this virtue to a fault.
Congress did not grant Mr. Woodward the right to withhold evidence of a felony from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, such as that an administration official told him that Valerie Plame was a CIA operative a month before Robert Novak revealed this fact.
The administration gave Mr. Woodward incredible access when he was writing “Plan of Attack” (which apparently was well-received by the administration). Perhaps, Mr. Woodward was deterred from contacting Mr. Fitzgerald out of a fear of jeopardizing his access to senior administration officials. Executive Editor Leonard Downey’s rebuke of Mr. Woodward’s conduct and his subsequent mea culpa were insufficient.Perhapsamore appropriate sanction would be for The Washington Post to terminate Mr. Woodward’s employment unless he gives the royalties from his book to charities (such as hospitals in Iraq or programs to help the families of U.S. troops on active duty).
ETHAN S. BURGER
Irresponsible war critics
The Democrats and left-wing war critics are totally irresponsible in their repeated and damaging criticism of the Bush administration and the conduct of the war in Iraq (“Cheney hits Democrats on war tack,” Page 1, Tuesday). I am very glad to hear that President Bush as well as Vice President Dick Cheney finally decided to strike and fight back against these irresponsible left-wing critics of the war.
The charges by the Democrats that Mr. Bush lied and manipulated intelligence are absurd and should be rejected by all Americans. Let’s just remember that back in October 2002 the Senate voted 77-23 to give Mr. Bush the authority to invade Iraq.
Pennsylvania Democratic Reps. John P. Murtha and Robert A. Brady, as well as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, are just playing dirty politics by their recent criticism of the war in Iraq. We need to be committed to the war on terror in Iraq and discredit the Democrats’ outrageous accusations against the administration.
Let’s support our troops and their valiant efforts, and let’s resolve to achieve a final victory over the insurgency and terrorists who remain and must be defeated in Iraq.
The country now needs to be committed to the war on terror to achieve a victory. As a Vietnam War veteran I fully support the administration’s conduct of the war against terror in Iraq.
WheatonH. James Saxton seems angry that the Saudis aren’t pumping our oil out from under their sand fast enough (“U.S. as OPEC’s hostage,” Commentary, Tuesday). He hasn’t thought it through very well, though. He is right that our dependence on imported oil leaves us vulnerable. But oil from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries isn’t ours till we buy it, and they have a right to produce it at the rate that they see as in their best interests.
The irony is that OPEC’s interests aren’t so different from ours. We can only burn oil once. Demanding more now means getting by with less later. We can have a high peak and a swift decline, or a lower peak with a more moderate decline. OPEC’s efforts to support higher prices may result in a lower peak and more moderate decline, which happens to be in our best interest.
But our interests do differ from OPEC’s. It is a fundamental divergence of interests: they want our money and so do we. Oil production will inevitably peak and enter decline. Many experts believe the global peak will occur before 2010. When oil enters decline, the price will rise and there is nothing OPEC can do to stop it, not that they would want to.
There is something we can do. We can increase oil taxes. We have a choice — we can raise oil prices through a tax increase, or we can wait for depletion and the market mechanism to raise the price. The only difference is that if we wait for depletion to raise the price, all the money goes to OPEC.
No ‘culture clash’
In his Tuesday column (“Fractured flow of intelligence?” Commentary), Michael Maloof claims that “sources” report a “continuing culture clash” at the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) “between CIA’s information collection and the FBI’s goal to seek prosecutions.”
Mr. Maloof’s sources on this point and numerous other assertions in the article are outdated and wrong. Most notably, the TTIC, stood up in May 2003, has not existed for nearly a year; it was subsumed by the National CounterterrorismCenter (NCTC) in December 2004. NCTC, which serves as the primary organization in the U.S. government for integrating and analyzing intelligence pertaining to terrorism, consists of officers from the CIA, the FBI, the departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security and a host of other government agencies and entities.
At NCTC, analysts from throughout the government are working collaboratively, sharing terrorism-related information in a manner that is unprecedented. NCTC officers may come from different organizations and cultures, but they are united in the fight against terrorism and are working tirelessly to keep Americans safe.
Director of Public Affairs
National Counterterrorism Center
Changing course from the Warren Court
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. believes that Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.’s disagreement with the 1962 Supreme Court reapportionment decision (Baker v. Carr, 369 U.S. 186) makes him unqualified for the U.S. Supreme Court (“Biden threatens Alito filibuster,” Nation, Nov. 21). By that line of thinking, Felix Frankfurter was also unqualified. Justice Frankfurter, along with Justice John M. Harlan, disagreed strenuously with the Baker decision. Justice Frankfurter was thought by liberals to be one of the giants of 20th-century law until he started coming down on the “wrong side” in many important Supreme Court decisions.
This is where we are with the result-oriented Supreme Court jurisprudence supported by Mr. Biden and his Democrat allies: There is something wrong, as the Supreme Court sees “wrong”; the Supreme Court will make it right, as it sees “right.” Never mind the text and structure of the Constitution; never mind the history of the enactment of the provision at issue; never mind the views of other branches of government; never mind the court’s own precedents.
To achieve results it and its supporters deem desirable, the court will read things into the Constitution that are not there — e.g., the “right to privacy”; it will read things out of the Constitution that are there — e.g., the 10th Amendment (“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”).
Baker v. Carr was one of the worst of many outrageous Supreme Court decisions of the Warren era, and I am happy that Judge Alito disagrees with it. For those who would investigate whether the Supreme Court direction begun by the Warren court in the 1950s is the correct course, the powerful dissent of Felix Frankfurter in that case is a good place to start.
Baker v. Carr is also one of history’s all-time great hoists on your own petard. That case is the source of the notion that political questions may be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, thus allowing it to intervene in the 2000 presidential election in Bush v. Gore, much to the consternation of Mr. Biden and his allies.
WILBURN L. MOORE