- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 10, 2006

Castro’s victims

Like Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre Jr., I also came to the United States via Operation Pedro Pan (“Cuba’s future,” Embassy Row, Monday). However, that operation most certainly was not a “project by U.S. and Cuban religious groups that persuaded Fidel Castro to allow parents to send their children to the United States.”

The truth is, it was a clandestine operation that facilitated the exodus of Cuban children to the United States.

Ranging in age from 5 to 17, Cuban youngsters were sent to the United States alone by their parents to keep them from being indoctrinated by the Communist Castro regime.

This exodus took place from December 1960 until the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962 closed down direct flights between the two countries. By that time, more than 14,000 Cuban children had been sent to the United States by their parents without the knowledge of the Cuban regime.

The erroneous statement disparages the effort and soils the memory of the many men and women who risked their well-being and were jailed by Fidel Castro for their involvement in Operation Pedro Pan.

OSCAR B. PICHARDO

Redondo Beach, Calif.

Dog law

The law in Spotsylvania County says that we must license our dogs and that to do so we must have a rabies certificate from a veterinarian. Why is that so hard to understand? Delegate Robert D. Orrock Sr.’s bill requiring veterinarians to send information on dogs they vaccinate to the county treasurer so it can be determined whether the dogs are licensed does not provide for a database of information on dog owners, as some critics claim. The counties already have that information when a dog is licensed (“Virginia to curb unlicensed dogs,” Metropolitan, Tuesday).

I make a point of licensing my dogs because it is the law and because the money from licensing provides for good care of shelter animals, the training of animal-control officers and, in some instances, spaying and neutering of shelter dogs and cats.

If everyone took the stance that they did not think it was fair to pay to license their dogs, which is not a personal property tax, we would have a major overpopulation problem. This leads to instances, like that of Dorothy Sullivan, who was “mauled by a neighbor’s [unlicensed] pit bulls” because of an animal owner’s irresponsibility.

People can make all the excuses they want for not getting rabies shots and licenses for their dogs, but the bottom line is that it is the law and this is a law-abiding society.

MAUREEN HAUCH

Vice president

American Dog Owners Association

Fredericksburg, Va.

Lieberman, Iraq and us

Sen. Joe Lieberman’s defeat in the Connecticut primary on Tuesday is being cast by many Democrats as a successful referendum against the war in Iraq (“Lieberman loses primary,” Page 1, Wednesday).

If Republicans buy into this argument, they assuredly will meet the same fate in other states, for the war in Iraq is a war against international terrorism sponsored by devotees of radical Islam — and that is the message Republicans need to get across to the voters of our nation.

The people who are exploding bombs in crowded shopping centers, beheading prisoners, kidnapping and murdering people on their way to work and indiscriminately blowing up buses with children and women aboard are the same people who plotted the September 11 attacks and flew jets into the World Trade Center.

So, even if it is true that a majority of Americans oppose the war in Iraq, it can’t be true that a majority of Americans oppose the war against international terrorism sponsored by Islamic fanatics.

The problem with Democrats is that they look at Iraq and want us out as quickly as possible. This is their greatest vulnerability and could cost them dearly if the American people understand that the fight they want out of is the fight against the enemy of the American people.

When Democrats say they are against the war in Iraq, Republicans need to respond emphatically that it’s the war against international terrorism that the Democrats really oppose. If we cut and run in Iraq, we’ll cut and run from every country the terrorists select as their next example. That will bring us back to exactly what our posture was on September 10, 2001.

PAUL J. WALKOWSKI

Boston

Democracy and terrorists

In “Military power challenged” (Page A20, yesterday) Rowan Scarborough equates the asymmetrical wars fought by Israel against Hezbollah in Lebanon and by the United States in Iraq: “Like U.S. forces in Iraq, Israel now finds itself fighting an unfamiliar foe on foreign land and is trying to adjust with new countertactics.”

The two democracies seem to be taking two steps back for every step forward. Israel’s push farther into Lebanon can be viewed as a negotiating strategy — calibrating its advance to influence the timing and makeup of the mechanisms for bringing the “appropriate” type of peacemaking force into southern Lebanon. In Iraq, the United States and its Iraqi “partners” seem unable to take hold of Baghdad, for example. This shows the limits of “modern” warfare by the standing armies in Iraq and in Lebanon.

Must we become like our asymmetrical adversaries in order to defeat them? We seem to be facing wars of attrition which eat away at our resolve as democracies. At a minimum, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the categorical imperative govern our military conduct. We, unlike our allies, do not use “human shields.” When we violate our laws and norms, as we did in Abu Ghraib, for example, we chastise ourselves, and the world views us on some level as we should wish to be viewed, double standards notwithstanding.

Wars fought by a democratic nation may take longer for us to win, but when the fighting stops, we can look at ourselves in the mirror and proclaim, “It was the honorable thing to do.” Though we cannot live with terrorist attacks, we must still live with ourselves.

This is the heavy and at times fatal duty of free nations but the only way to remain free.

ONA BUNCE

Bethesda

Kudos to bloggers

There has been much talk recently about the implications of Web logs — or blogs — on traditional news outlets and the consequences of this new form of reporting. Though the implications are not entirely clear, one thing is: Blogs provide a much-needed check on news outlets (“Snapshots of propaganda,” Editorial, Wednesday).

Bloggers uncovered a lack of scrutiny by editors of well-established news outlets when they exposed doctored photos published by Reuters news agency. Several bloggers noticed inconsistencies in the photographs and brought them to the attention of the editor and — through their blogs — the world. Finally, Reuters admitted its disgraceful oversight and corrected the photos in question. The bloggers have filled a gap in the previously unchecked field of reporting.

It is despicable that one would pervert photos for the sake of furthering one side of an issue. Moreover, such actions trivialize the tragic deaths that have come about from the Israeli-Hezbollah war. One can only point to the news industry’s — and the world’s — eagerness to portray Israel in a negative light. Clearly, many in this industry will risk their careers to further their personal agendas. Regardless of where one stands on the issues, the press is losing much credibility as its blatant prejudice and bias obfuscate the truth.

Kudos to the bloggers for forcing news conglomerates to provide valid reporting.

DANIEL HALPER

Athens, Ga.

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