- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 8, 2006

Remembering a true patriot

Although usually referred to as a hawk, the late Caspar Weinberger proved in reality to be a dove (“Weinberger remembered as tough, ‘compassionate,’” Nation, Wednesday). He transformed the U.S. Defense Department, which had been left severely shattered by the Carter administration. Mr. Weinberger’s modernization of the U.S. military, which Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld is continuing, led to the end of the Cold War, as both Mr. Weinberger and President Reagan understood that it was not enough just to contain the Soviet Union and rely upon mutually assured destruction (MAD).

It should be recalled that Mr. Weinberger had opposed providing military equipment to Iran and that according to his own account, he did not know that proceeds from the Iranian arms sales were going to support the Nicaraguan Contras. Mr. Weinberger later stated that he had warned the administration at the time that the direct transfer of arms from the Department of Defense to Iran would be a violation of the Arms Control Export Act.

In a notable speech in November 1984, titled “The uses of military power,” Mr. Weinberger listed the following among major tests that ought to be applied when the United States considers the use of combat forces abroad:

“The United States should not commit forces to combat overseas unless the particular engagement or occasion is deemed vital to our national interest or that of our allies…. If we decide it is necessary to put combat troops into a given situation, we should do so wholeheartedly, and with the clear intention of winning…. The relationship between our objectives and the forces we have committed, their size, composition and disposition, must be continually reassessed and adjusted if necessary… [And] the commitment of U.S. forces to combat should be a last resort.”

Sadly, but without bitterness, Mr. Weinberger had to endure the politically motivated indictments over the Iran-Contra affair. His enduring legacy, however, will be that of a true patriot.


Indian Wells, Calif.

Bipartisan immigration concerns

Tony Blankley and I have nothing in common. We are not just miles apart in political philosophy, we are infinitely cubed apart on almost every issue, except immigration.

Mr. Blankley’s March 29 Op-Ed column, “Mexican illegals vs. American voters,” was dead-on. As a lifelong very proud Democratic liberal, I not only support the bill proposed by House Judiciary Chairman F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., but after September 11, I thought the first things our government should have done were to gather up all illegal aliens and ship them back where they came from.

Let’s not let the politicians in Washington divide us. This is a bipartisan issue, and I am just one of many, many Democrats who believe we should do whatever is needed to secure the borders, and the Democratic presidential candidate who will secure the borders is the candidate who will earn my support.


Harrisburg, Pa.

Pending natural-gas problems

Ben Lieberman looks at rising natural gas prices and sees a “simple and obvious solution”: Drill in the few places currently off limits by law (“Easing the natural gas crunch” Commentary, Monday). It’s simple, obvious and wrong.

High prices aren’t the problem. The problem is that natural gas is finite. It can be used only once, and American natural-gas production has peaked and is declining. High prices are part of the solution. High prices will cause us to conserve it and develop alternatives.

Natural gas is used for home heating, water heating and the generation of electricity. We can reduce its use with better insulation, more efficient appliances and lighting, and renewable energy such as solar water heaters. However, natural gas also is critical to the production of nitrogen fertilizer. We couldn’t produce nearly as much food without it, and it will be much harder to replace natural gas for this use.

It’s this usage that makes our remaining natural-gas supply critical to our nation’s security. Until we have reformed agriculture to get by without natural-gas-based inputs, we must be assured that we have enough for our farmers. We won’t if we have already burned it.



Too much consensus in the press

What Michael Barone is describing in his column “News standards, practices… and propensities” (Commentary, Wednesday) is not a propensity, it is the evolution of the power structure of the mainstream media created in the 1970s. The left has determined that it can conduct social engineering through the media and the education system. It can bypass the successes in communication charts, graphs and facts of the Reagan and Perot models with consensus and moving the opinion page to the front page. Any mistakes are simply retracted on Page 27.

In this manner, it can say what it wants without accountability, regardless of the facts, while holding those who have integrity to the facts accountable. This allows redefining “is,” turning a Nixon-like enemies list into a simple database, making huge profits in the commodities market, and overriding federal and state legislation with legal interpretations. What it has not accommodated are the values of those the left is attempting to change and the dynamics of technology. The same technology that carried Bill Clinton to success has led to the Democrats’ decline in power. The consensus of CNN, the New York Times and network news doesn’t carry the day against values and a dynamic network of millions of bloggers.

The facts will define the story instead of opinion. There already are attempts to mitigate this power-brokering vulnerability, especially after John Kerry and the swift-boat veterans, and Dan Rather and President Bush’s National Guard service. This agenda will not go away in the 2008 elections. It limits politicians to integrity and removes doublespeak from their alternatives.

Freedom of speech is our most valuable instrument in controlling the stewardship of our vote. If we allow it to be 90 percent controlled by one political party, we are destined to move from democracy to global socialism.


Peyton, Colo.

Appreciating Pakistan

Pakistanis are very bitter about the use-and-dump-type treatment meted out to Islamabad by Washington (“A back of the hand,” Op-Ed, Friday). By supplying nuclear technology to India and denying it to Pakistan, Washington is saying to the Pakistanis that they should live under the leadership of Hindu India in South Asia.

To safeguard U.S. interests but contrary to its own, Pakistan has supported an anti-Islamabad Karzai government in Kabul. Additionally, the Pakistani army is active in tribal areas to flush out any residual al Qaeda elements. What more can Washington ask? Yet Washington continues to pressure Pakistan to do more, not realizing that Pakistanis are tired of Washington’s demands to “do more” and have reached a saturation point in doing the U.S. bidding.

It is time for Washington to realize the value of Pakistan’s help and treat it like a real friend instead of hired-cum-coerced help.


Juneau, Alaska



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