- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

Despicable conduct

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, is a disgrace to public service (“Temper flare,” Inside Politics, Nation, Monday). Her recent derogatory comments and her verbal threat to potentially harm President Bush reveal a lot about her character and the essence of who she really is.

Her apparent inability to deal with pressure and highly stressful conditions should serve as no potential excuse for her vociferous assertion that if she hears any criticism from President Bush, she might have to “literally” punch him.

In other words, Mrs. Landrieu is blatantly stating she could commit a physical assault against the president.

For a female public servant who likely believes she is capable of swimming with the big fish in the world of politics, her words have demonstrated that her demeanor and behavior have sunk well below sea level.

In essence, she has denigrated herself to the level of a criminal, who, by virtue of her threat to the president, could be charged with a felony and — in fact — should be.

Mrs. Landrieu is certainly no role model for young, aspiring public servants. Like mud that splatters, her apparent egregious lack of judgment and her street-scrapping mentality only serve to tarnish the reputation of politicians in general and lend support to the notion, held by many, that politicians are often not well respected.

Perhaps Mrs. Landrieu needs to learn a lesson of hard knocks. She should be criminally charged, prosecuted and — if convicted — land her in jail for a while to contemplate her despicable display of conduct.


Adjunct professor

Department of Criminal Justice

George Mason University


Rebuilding New Orleans

House Speaker Dennis Hastert was correct. It makes no sense to rebuild New Orleans just like it was: a city built below sea level protected by a patchwork quilt of levees and an underdesigned and poorly engineered pumping system. But as the speaker further explained, done correctly, New Orleans will be and should be rebuilt.

More important, New Orleans needs to be rethought. New Orleans needs to become a community that is engineered and designed to live with water rather than in fear of water. To put the problem in perspective, if Venice, Italy, can exist 365 days a year with water, New Orleans can be redesigned to coexist with water for a few days each year, if necessary. But that requires some rethinking.

It probably means a smaller community. It probably means engineering utility systems and pumping systems that are elevated and protected above the projected level of floodwaters. It probably means designating some of the lowest land areas as water-gathering reservoirs to relieve the pressure of incoming floodwaters and to move water along while breaches are repaired. It probably means redesigning buildings so that ground-floor areas below expected floodwater levels can withstand a flood for reasonable periods of time. It probably means sky bridges and vertical evacuation shelters scattered throughout populated areas. And it probably means flood protection levees that either have redundancies (like the Dutch), or more easily reparable features.

What an amazing and exciting challenge it would be to create our own American Venice, mostly dry but ready for water should an act of nature or man again turn a makeshift torrent of water loose upon its magnificent and culturally unique corridors.

When New York City was faced with the awful tragedy of September 11, design teams competed for the challenge of rebuilding the World Trade Center so that the stunning image of the Twin Towers might be re-created with less risk and less danger of a historical repeat.

The time is now right for a national competition among our nation’s best and brightest engineers and architects to rethink and re-engineer New Orleans so that it can be re-created with less risk and a more assured future.

Katrina will not be the last storm to assault New Orleans, but it should be the last one to render New Orleans so desperate that we harbor thoughts of abandoning it.

There will be no jazz funeral for this once-great city if we are wise enough to give it the chance to live, not just until the next Katrina, but through all the perils that it and other great American cities face in so many different forms. Let us challenge the genius of American innovation to show us the way, even while the last polluted pond of floodwater is being pumped from the streets of New Orleans, and while we still grieve the terrible toll of human suffering and death the city, its sister parishes and the state of Louisiana have endured.


President and CEO



A $3 million waste?

The Aug. 24 article (“Hill panel hit for going soft on China issues,” Nation) correctly states that the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has turned into a partisan committee, but he fails to mention two other problems that plague the $3 million-a-year organization.

First, few of the commission’s members are Chinese economic experts, yet it is their job to examine “national security implications of trade and economic ties” between the U.S. and China. Second, the USCC is composed of nearly the same leadership as the now-defunct Trade Deficit Review Commission and has generated virtual copies of the previous commission’s findings.

Numerous government and private organizations are also studying these issues. Together, they are able to provide a thorough, well-rounded analysis without using taxpayer funds.

U.S. foreign policy toward China requires sober and objective analysis, and we urge Congress to take a closer look at whether the USCC is providing this type of feedback. If not, there are better ways to spend $3 million.



Citizens Against Government Waste


Accountability at Turtle Bay

I am not surprised to see Kofi Annan exonerated by the commission that is purportedly investigating the oil-for-food debacle (“U.N. corruption cited in Iraq oil-food scandal,” Page 1, Thursday).

The United Nations will be chastised severely for its inept administration of a program that was supposedly designed to allow the innocent people of Iraq to survive, even while U.N. sanctions were in effect to bring down Saddam Hussein. Billions of dollars were stolen on Mr. Annan’s watch, with the probability that much of it was eventually diverted for use to kill American troops, and he gets a pass, while his administration is chastised. There were tens of billions stolen. Someone needs to be put in jail on this one. But all that is going to happen is that a few worthless bureaucrats are going to be criticized.

As Harry Truman once put it (in writing on a sign on his desk), “The Buck Stops Here.” Mr. Annan is responsible; the buck stops right at his door. If he is not criminally indictable, then he obviously is accountable for being incredibly stupid.

Mr. Annan and members of his administration over which he presides on the East River should all be seeing the world through a set of iron bars. Paul Volcker and his “committee” have done their best to cover up one of the most heinous crimes ever committed against humanity.


Abingdon, Md.

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