- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 1, 2005

America’s oil reserves

In “Panic at the pump” (Commentary, Wednesday) Walter Williams states that we could produce more oil than we do and asks, “Why don’t we?” Mr. Williams points out that we are the third-largest oil-producing nation. What he doesn’t point out is that we only have 2 percent of world oil reserves and that we only get to produce this oil once. If we had put the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge into production when the oil moguls first requested it, it already would be in decline, leaving us completely at the mercy of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

As long as we still have the ANWR oil underground, we have the option of drilling for it and producing it. Once we do so, however, it is gone for good and can no longer act as a reserve for more desperate times or as a hedge against OPEC’s growing grip on the market. America’s appetite is too great and our reserves are too small for us ever to achieve oil independence again. ANWR oil can play its strongest role while underground, like a much larger version of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. It shouldn’t be used to run our fleet of gas guzzlers a penny cheaper per gallon.

ROSEMARY M. HAMILL

North Potomac

Border-control promises

President Bush’s remark about border control (“Bush assures states border security to be boosted,” Nation, Tuesday) to his supporters Monday in Arizona that “your voices are being heard in Washington, D.C.” reminded me of Abraham Lincoln’s comment that you may fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time.

Sadly, we’ve heard all this before, yet the human tsunami of illegal aliens and drug runners has never stopped overwhelming our borders and devastating our way of life.

The president made several border-security commitments during his last campaign, and his second inaugural address contained this pledge, “My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people from further attacks and emerging threats.” Just after the recent London bombings, Mr. Bush stated, “We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home.” Where are the results from these repeated presidentialassurances? Where’s the common denominator between speeches and operational plans? When will the president realize that the age of American innocence with regard to illegal immigration has ended?

If Mr. Bush really wanted to protect innocent Americans from the ravages of illegal immigration, drug running and the very real dangers of terrorist incursions, he would seal our borders to unlawful entry — now. He would take the lead now because that’s what leaders do. How long has it been since September 11?

MICHAEL SCOTT

Glendora, Calif.

A democracy or a republic?

I have been pondering the proposed new Iraqi constitution (“Iraq’s Sunnis at a fork in the road,” Op-Ed, Aug. 30), and a key point leaves me hesitant: The difference between a republic and a democracy is not a difference of semantics. There is a profound difference between the two. Consider the following definitions from the U.S. War Department Training Manual No. 2000-25, dated Nov. 30 1928:

“Democracy: A government of the masses. Authority derived through mass meetings or any other form of direct expression. Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic — negative property rights. Attitude toward the law is that the will of the majority shall regulate, whether it is based on deliberation or governed by passion, prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results in demagoguism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy.

“Republic: Authority is derived through the election by the people of the public officials best fitted to represent them. Attitude toward property is respect for laws and individual rights, and sensible economic procedures. Attitude toward law is the administration of justice in accord with fixed principles and established evidence, with a strict regard to consequences. A great number of citizens and extent of territory may be brought within its compass. Avoids the dangerous extreme of either tyranny or mobocracy. Results in statesmanship, liberty, reason, justice, contentment, and progress. Is the standard form of government throughout the world. A Republic is a form of government under a Constitution which provides for the election of (1) An executive and (2) A legislative body who works together in a representative capacity, have all the power of appointment, all power of legislation, all power to raise revenue and appropriate expenditures, and are required to create (3) A judiciary to pass upon the justice and legality of their governmental acts and to recognize (4) Certain inherent individual rights. Take away any one or more of these four elements and you are drifting into Autocracy. Add one of more to those four elements and you are drifting into Democracy.”

The U.S. Constitution doesn’t call for a democracy; on the contrary, Article IV, Section 4 requires the U.S. government to guarantee that every state in the union shall have a republican form of government.

In essay No. 10 of “The Federalist Papers,” James Madison wrote, “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths… A Republic, by which I mean the scheme of representation takes place, opens a different prospect and promises the cure for which we are seeking.”

In essay 14, Madison went on to say, “In a Democracy the people meet and exercise the government in person; in a Republic they assemble and administer it by their representatives and agents. A Democracy, consequently, must be confined to a small spot. A Republic may be extended over a large region.”

Finally, in essay 39, Madison offered the following definition of a republic: “We may define a Republic to be… a government which derives all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of the people, and is administered by persons holding their offices during pleasure for a limited period, or during good behavior. It is essential to such government that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion or favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans and claim for their government the honorable title of Republic.”

Democracy is unlimited, unrestricted majority rule. In a republic, by contrast, the government is restricted by law, and may only exercise those powers legally granted to it. The United States of America was founded as a republic. In the new Iraqi political system, when principles of a republic and a democracy clash, which will prevail?

THOMAS M. CRAWFORD

Laurel

A ‘firm stand against terrorism’

Your story on the publication in Turkey of a magazine that supports al Qaeda (“New magazine in secular Turkey lauds al Qaeda,” World, Aug. 22) overlooks a few key points. The magazine in question has so far printed just four issues, and legal proceedings are under way against each of them. Accordingly, the first two issues of the magazine were impounded upon the decision of the judicial authorities.

While extreme cases like these must be confronted directly, the vibrant public dialogue that exists in Turkey is the result of my government’s commitment to fundamental human and civil rights. At the same time, this commitment does not and cannot shake our firm stand against terrorism.

OGUZHAN ERTUGRUL

Counselor

Embassy of Turkey

Washington

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