Thursday, April 13, 2006

Get out of the Mideast

Harlan Ullman’s insight into the value of John Kerry’s “diplomatic alternative” was logical but lethally flawed (“U.S. leverage on Baghdad,” Op-Ed, Wednesday).

Mr. Ullman assumes that the goal of our invasion was the removal of Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction. Saddam’s previous possession and use of WMDs provided compelling reason, but removing him and them likely was not the primary or even secondary objective of our invasion. President Bush’s real objective was proving that Americans are willing to fight and die to defend our freedom to wage foreign and military policy. In addition, shortly after September 11, the Bush administration withdrew U.S. forces from Saudi Arabia. (U.S. troops in the Muslim holy land was one of Osama bin Laden’s three stated reasons for attacking us.) The failure to ‘get’ bin Laden in Afghanistan by relying primarily on Afghan forces only perpetuated the perception that we feared high U.S. casualties.

The Bush administration’s greatest error remains a failure to understand the primary force driving radical Islamic recruitment and U.S. hatred — our lethal military and political presence in the Middle East. Our invasion and occupation of Iraq only inflamed this reality, making everyone less safe.

Iraqis eventually will solve their own problems with or without us, or a civil war. Any new Iraqi government and the absence of significant U.S. targets will then force out the remaining terrorists. Then the American homeland likely will become a top target.

As Mr. Ullman said, “time is now our enemy.” With every passing day, the increasing power, affordability and global distribution of dual-use technology is providing increasing killing capacity to hateful souls. Nuclear, biological, cyber- and eventually nano-technology will amplify terrorists’ arsenals. Without a world full of U.S. friends and allies or an impenetrable dome over the continental United States, we will be increasingly vulnerable.

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns” are ludicrous. We know what exacerbates terrorists. We know that their killing capacity will only increase with advances in powerful technology and the virtually unrestricted flow of global trade, communications and capitalism. Mr. Bush’s failure to acknowledge this and Mr. Kerry’s failure to convince the majority of voters of this increasingly lethal reality before the 2004 elections is almost unforgivable. Reforming U.S. military, immigration, port security or intelligence policy in an interdependent world isn’t going to make any difference. All Americans will continue to pay a heave economic and lethal price until we recognize the irrefutable insanity of acting independently in an interdependent world.



Sound advice

As usual, Tony Blankley hits the nail squarely on the head in his column giving Republican leaders sage advice about what can be done in the remaining 30 weeks before Nov. 6 to retain control of Congress (“No umbrella men wanted” Op-Ed, Wednesday).

When I read the headline, I assumed Mr. Blankley was referring to Sen. John Kerry, who in his recent speech advocating a premature withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, was all too reminiscent of British Prime Minister Sir Neville Chamberlain in 1938 when he arrived back in London from Munich, carrying his umbrella, waving a white handkerchief and announcing, “Peace in our time!”

In addition to the advice Mr. Blankley gives to House Majority Leader John Boehner and House Speaker Dennis Hastert, I would suggest that they and Republicans running for re-election concentrate on reminding their base of the consequences of a donkey party victory in November.

If the prospect of Michigan Democrat Rep. John Conyers Jr. regaining control of the House Judiciary Committee isn’t enough to frighten voters back to their senses, it probably would be futile to cite the dire consequences to the nation’s welfare were the ilk of Sens. Carl Levin and Patrick Leahy back in their old leadership positions.


Palm Desert, Calif.

When fathers are dads

In the April 2 Forum, writer Carey Roberts stated, “When fathers are allowed to stick around, good things begin to happen” (“Black men, soul brothers,”). We agree.

That’s why President Bush signed into law a new initiative to allow up to $50 million to be spent on programs that promote responsible fatherhood. The Bush administration has requested this for several years, and Congress decided this year to put the plan into action.

The funding will empower local organizations — including faith-based and community groups — to support and strengthen the role of fathers in families. Rather than seeing dads as mere checkbooks, this new focus encourages fathers’ involvement and will give men the education and support necessary to prepare them for the awesome responsibility of fatherhood.

All fathers can be important contributors to the well-being of their children, even when they do not live in the same household. With the president’s fatherhood initiative, we will send a positive, educational and supportive message that fathers matter in the lives of children and families across the country.


Assistant secretary, Administration for Children and Families

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Illegals and the employers

We cannot reform immigration by rewarding illegal aliens while millions of people around the world are waiting in line to get here legally. This would encourage more illegal aliens to come here and also encourage other related illegal activities such as human smuggling, drug smuggling, etc. The legislation debated recently would not fix the problem but rather add fuel to the fire (“Senate kills border-security bill,” Page 1, Saturday).

Prospective legal immigrants are frustrated and helpless. They have to wait in line for sometimes more than 15 years and then go through police verifications and medical checkups to enter this country. Sometimes, they lose their place in line because once children turn 21, they are no longer eligible to apply as a dependent of their parents and must start the process from the beginning.

It is said that the illegals are hardworking and good people, but they broke the law to come here. I know all of my family members and friends waiting in line also are hardworking, good and ambitious people. They would like to get the same deal that the illegal aliens may get, which is to come here and work while waiting for a green card and citizenship instead of languishing in line forever.

I believe that to fix the illegal immigration problem, we have to fix what encourages people to break the law to enter here. The main cause is the employers who hire illegal aliens for low wages; those employers should be taken to task for their illegal and sneaky practices.

Second, the porous border with Mexico: Immigration reform without fixing the border would be like rebuilding New Orleans without fixing the levee system. Without genuine immigration reforms, devoid of politics and ulterior motives, it is guaranteed that we will end up in same quagmire 10 years from now.


Davie, Fla.

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