- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2005

An intelligent debate

Jay Ambrose is to be congratulated on the insightfulness of his Friday Commentary column, “Unintelligent on intelligent design.” For too long, the controversy surrounding Darwinian evolution and creationism, now in its present form of intelligent design, has divided those who believe in scientific evidence and those who believe in God’s divine intervention.

Is it not a far greater acknowledgment of God’s infinite wisdom to believe He simply set the basic conditions for life on this planet, knowing where evolution and natural selection would go, and then went away to do something else?

If we are to believe in God’s superior intellect, as the creationism/intelligent design adherents say they do, why must we insist on bringing the acts of that intellect down to our primitive level of understanding?



Understanding nuclear deterrence

Robert Monroe is dead wrong on the Nonproliferation Treaty (“Defining deterrence,” Commentary, Thursday). The treaty does not “approve” of the United States’ and four other countries’ possession of nuclear weapons. The treaty merely acknowledges the existence of nuclear weapons states at the time it was signed, in 1970. Further, it requires that “Parties to the Treaty undertake to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament…” This cannot mean that the United States is “expected to design, test and produce new nuclear weapons as needed,” as asserted by Vice Adm. Monroe. Nor could there be any rational basis for interpreting the underlying bargain of the treaty as one where nonnuclear weapons states agree not to acquire nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons states agree “to try to prevent them from acquiring them.” The bargain we made was to give our weapons up in return for a promise from others not to acquire them.

Indeed, the treaty was due to expire in 1995. In order to obtain the agreement of the nonnuclear weapons states to extend it for an indefinite period, the United States promised “systematic and progressive efforts for nuclear disarmament in all its aspects,” including such measures as a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and periodic five-year reviews. At the 2000 review, the United States promised “an unequivocal commitment to the total elimination of nuclear weapons” together with other steps, such as making nuclear disarmament measures irreversible. It cannot be claimed that the United States is acting in good faith with its previous commitments when it pursues new, more usable nuclear weapons. The best way to protect against nuclear proliferation is for all nations to give up their nuclear arsenals under strict and effective international control. The longer we keep them and threaten to use them, the more likely it is that additional countries will acquire them.



Global Resource Action Center for the Environment

New York

Hughes’ visit to Al-Azhar is ‘right move’

Diana West’s article “Faux pas trifecta” (Op-Ed, Friday), tries to indict, in a selective and distorted manner, the views of Sheik Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, on jihad — interpreting what he said as an instigating call to assault American and British soldiers, or to describe it as a crusade. The least I could say about this piece is that it is an example not only of misinformation but disinformation at its best.

The writer failed through her research to mention that Sheik Tantawi, in an interview, said over and again that jihad does not mean a war of Islam and Christianity. He said, “The meaning is not what arises in the minds of a few, because we as Muslims call for peace and for preventing war, and Patriarch Shinoda (head of the Egyptian Coptic Church) and Pope John Paul II agree with us on this matter — as do Germany, France, and Russia, and many other countries in the Christian world. We all support peace and oppose war on the Iraqi people or the Palestinian people.” This information is quoted from MEMRI itself.

The latest of his statements on this issue was from his interview with Al Hurra in 2005 where he recalled that on September 11 he insisted on issuing a statement condemning this terrorist attack on the very same day. He also said, “Those who carry out bombings in buildings and among peaceful people, whether in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Palestine, America, or anywhere else in the world, are criminals by any standard.” As for what Abd Al-Sabour Shahin said last month about September 11,even though that has not been documented, he only speaks for himself.

We believe it was the right move for Karen Hughes to visit Al-Azhar, the cradle of modern and tolerant Islam in the Middle East. We laud her for taking such a step. As for the ones who have a myopic vision, we assure them we will not stumble over their hurdles.



Egyptian Press and Information Office

Embassy of Egypt


Turkey on the right path

As a Turk and an American, we join in seeking to straighten out the record in the face of Frank Gaffney’s gratuitous and mischievous diatribe against Turkey (” ‘No’ to Islamist Turkey,” Commentary, Sept. 27).

This kind of misleading column causes damage to a relationship that was critical in ending the Cold War and will be critical in rebuilding U.S. image and influence in the Middle East.

Without attempting to correct every erroneous statement, we make a few points:

• Turkey repeatedly has been a target of “Islamofascist” terrorism in the past few years. To suggest that it would knowingly tolerate “green” capital to fund this same terrorism is an accusation that falls of its own weight. Turkey has a booming economy and is receiving investment from all over the world. Should it refuse investment from the Middle East because some Middle Eastern countries are the object of Mr. Gaffney’s blanket condemnation?

• The state-controlled imam hatip schools were undersubscribed this year because of changes in the law that made it harder for graduates of those schools to continue to higher education.

• There is no way to turn a secular court in Turkey into an instrument of “Shari’a” law any more than it is possible for U.S. courts to subvert the separation of church and state. Both would need a constitutional change that is not being contemplated anywhere.

• The Turkish media has never been as free as it is today. Turkey is one of the very few democracies in the Middle East.

• Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not pushing the media into anti-Americanism. Mr. Gaffney would do well to look into the real causes of a phenomenon that is widespread throughout the world.

Turkey is, in fact, one country that can be helpful to us in coping with this development. It is articles such as Mr. Gaffney’s that stoke the fires of anti-Americanism.

To be sure, Turkey has a long way to go before it will be ready to join the European Union. No one, including the government of Turkey, is claiming that it is ready. It is well on the way to making the changes necessary to join the union and has completed many to date.

Rejecting it outright at this point would serve the Islamofascists who so concern Mr. Gaffney by creating a forum in which they can work — one isolated from the West that today is providing the incentives for change.


Kuzguncuk, Istanbul



Former secretary of defense


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