- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 3, 2005

Walter Reed ‘vigils’

Your description of CodePink: Women for Peace’s activities outside Walter Reed Army Medical Center is wrong (“Abusing wounded heroes,” Editorial, Wednesday). We do not hold anti-war demonstrations outside Walter Reed; we hold weekly vigils that draw attention to the plight of soldiers and call for more support for veterans. We believe the vigils have helped achieve positive results for injured soldiers, such as greater Veterans Affairs funding and a rollback of attempts to make soldiers pay for their own meals and phone calls.

We often receive encouragement for the vigil from wounded soldiers, their families and Walter Reed staff, and we are joined at the vigil by members of Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out. Although some people occasionally show up with signs that don’t reflect the respectful tone of the vigil, most of the people who participate hold signs with slogans such as “Up VA Benefits,” “Real Support Means Better Benefits” and “Fund the Wounded, Not the War.”

It’s true that CodePink’s position is that the troops should come home from Iraq now, but we also want to ensure that they’re well cared for when they return.

GAEL MURPHY

Co-founder

CodePink: Women for Peace

Washington

Trouble in Cyprus

The depiction of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as “the breakaway Turkish Cypriot region” (“Officials seek to avoid crisis over Cyprus,” World, Wednesday) is incorrect and unfair to the Turkish Cypriot people, who voted overwhelmingly for the unification of the island in the referenda of April 24, 2004, while the Greek Cypriots decisively rejected it.

Historically, the Turkish Cypriots never broke away from a legitimate Cyprus government but were thrown out of one by force of arms by their Greek Cypriot partners in 1963. Relevant United Nations and international press reports bear testimony to the fact that the Cyprus crisis of that period was not the result of secession of the Turkish Cypriots but an act of usurpation of political power by the Greek Cypriots aiming to unite the island with Greece. Even when declaring independence in 1983, the Turkish Cypriots left the door open to an eventual solution of the Cyprus question.

However, all efforts since then to unify the island, including the latest U.N. initiative (the Annan Plan), have been frustrated by the Greek Cypriot side, which is bent on dominating the island and reducing the Turkish Cypriots to the position of a second-class minority instead of an equal partner. Treating the Turkish Cypriot state as a “breakaway region” only encourages the Greek Cypriot leadership in its intransigence and does not enhance prospects for a settlement.

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

Education and earnings

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan (“Tying skills to wages,” Editorial, Sunday) rightly focuses on “the failure of our society to enhance the skills of a significant segment of our work force.” This failure has lead to the bimodal distribution of income in this country. The haves and the have-nots are the educated and the uneducated.

The blame is placed on the poor math and science literacy of our high school seniors, but no solution is offered. We must do a better job of teaching math and science in our high schools. Most math and science teachers are not mathematicians or scientists, but education majors who took a smattering of higher-level math and science in college.

Those who actually majored in math, physics, computer science or engineering are in the private sector making a lot more money than they could as teachers. (There are a precious few, such as my sons’ second-grade teacher, a “retreaded” architect, who take significant pay cuts for the love of teaching, but they are the exceptions.)

We cannot continue paying teachers without regard to their other opportunities. Outside of teaching, those who have degrees in engineering, mathematics and the sciences command much higher salaries than do those who majored in French, English and history. (They often command higher salaries than even their managers, who majored in business, just as some professional athletes are paid more than their coaches.) If we are serious about math and science education in our public schools, we must hire scientists and mathematicians, pay them while they train to be teachers and pay them a salary that is as good as they could get elsewhere.

JACK SCHEIBLE

Springfield

Day-labor center only encourages illegals

Calling the influx of millions across our border “immigration” makes a mockery of the facts (“A nation of outlaws,” Forum, Sunday). No one is immigrating into our country; they are migrating northward from Mexico and Central America. Now the Herndon Town Council has aided and abetted the demise of our way of life, our culture, our laws and our language by its 5-2 vote in favor of a day-laborer center catering to the onslaught.

Any society losing faith in its heritage and history is doomed. That includes the English-based culture of the United States. Whether my ancestors came from Africa, Poland, Germany or Italy, I am, like it or not, living in an English culture. Our laws are based on that country’s common law, our language and traditions are from that land as well.

Even though our federal government fails to enforce immigration laws, that is no excuse for local municipalities to ignore them. I applaud the Judicial Watch lawsuit against the Herndon Town Council. In my view, the members of that council who voted to overthrow the laws of the land should also be tried for treason.

ROSALIND NESTER ELLIS

Baltimore

Another exceptional postman

Reading your American Scene (“Postman honored with Bronze Star,” Thursday) brought to mind my brother-in-law, Bruno F. Fabbri (a retired postman), who fought for almost 3 years in World War II (Africa, Italy, Normandy and Belgium).

On Aug. 18, Bruno was awarded a Bronze Star for his valor while fighting in Normandy with the 9th Infantry Division. He was wounded two times during June and July 1944 — once by grenade and, 30 days later, after recovering from his wounds, by mortar. (He was awarded the Purple Heart with Oak Leaf Cluster.) Bruno was returned to his unit and fought until the end of the war in 1945. The Bronze Medal and other medals were awarded 60 years later. His military record was lost at the end of the war. Just recently, his full record was re-established.

Bruno did not suffer long-lasting wounds, like Joe Bowser, but his were still life-threatening, and he retired as a postman in Woodland, Calif., where he resides now, at age 84.

JAMES E. LE GETTE

Severna Park

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