- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 13, 2006

Give the would-be Hezbos money

When the editor (“Debacle at the U.N.,” Editorial, Wednesday) says a proposal “addresses what President Bush rightly calls the ‘root cause’ of the crisis,” the point is missed by both the editorialist and by our foreign policy strategists.

The proximate cause of this Israel-Hezbollah military action may indeed be the actions of Hezbollah, perhaps enabled and encouraged by the Iranians and/or the Syrians, but they are not the root cause. I submit that the root cause is the hopelessness of peoples suffering from inequality.

Giving the have-nots a realistic chance for a stake in the future addresses the root cause of this conflict — destroying the Lebanese infrastructure does not. Failure to understand and address inequalities dooms our foreign policy to failure.



Naive and dead, or diligent and alive

I think the time is long past when the State Department’s visa service should have been turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol. It is past time to take this critical filter out of the hands of soft-headed diplomats and their foreign hired help and put it in the hands of those who are professionally skeptical and diligent. The French Gendarmerie gets a look at visa applications there. I think the Department of Homeland Security needs to process all visa applications and approve or disapprove them (“3 Egyptian students in custody,” Nation, Thursday).

The State Department has long had a problem with issuing visas to undesirables who simply bribed workers to get their visas. That has to stop. Visas should be issued by Border Patrol agents with input from the FBI and CIA. After all, the visa is our first line of defense against people who hate us.

We might also require all foreigners who come here, including Europeans, to have visas. We could then issue long-term visas to those who are known to be friendly while denying visas to those about whom we know nothing and suspect much.

Persons with no jobs, no visible means of support and no legitimate purpose in life should be the first ones rejected and barred from all airliners coming to the U.S. If we had done that, September 11 might not have happened. I wonder why our government continues to be so naive about the threats to us. You can be naive and dead or diligent and alive. I prefer the latter.


Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Counterterror debacle

The disruption of a major terrorist plot by the British stands in startling contrast to our inept counterterrorism efforts (“Britain foils airline plot,” Page 1, Friday).

Five years after September 11, only a few small groups with wild dreams and no ability to carry them out have been identified. We have yet to find Osama bin Laden. Our forces have mostly abandoned the regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan where the plans are hatched and have become bogged down in Iraq where they are not.

Should a significant terror attack take place here, we have Hurricane Katrina to serve as a model for our response. Have we become safer because of September 11? Hardly.


Edison, N.J.

Appeasing Hezbollah

The current Middle East cease-fire agreement passed by the United Nations is equivalent to placing a Band-Aid on a cancer sore (“Security Council adopts cease-fire,” Page 1, Saturday). All it will do is to give Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors a respite enabling the anti-Israeli forces time to regroup, plan for more devastating attacks against Israel, and use longer and more powerful weapons including the use of airplanes supplied by other enemies of Israel.

If Israel were losing this conflict to Hezbollah, does anyone believe that the United Nations would have even considered passing a cease-fire agreement? It is only because Israel was in the process of wiping the terrorist group out that the United Nations rushed to pass it. The United Nations is not only an ineffective world body, but it is comprised of a majority of nations that hate Israel, the United States and Western democracies. Only after the Israelis are victorious over the anti-Israeli forces, such as in the Six-Day War and the Yom Kippur War, do the enemies of Israel sue for peace.

There have been many peace agreements since Israel became a nation in 1948, even involving former Presidents Carter and Clinton, but have all fallen apart with more violence resulting each time. This agreement with President Bush’s approval will be no different.

Before Hezbollah attacked Israel and kidnapped two of its soldiers, Hezbollah and Lebanon were supposedly under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559, yet Hezbollah embedded weapons and terrorists in the homes of Lebanese civilians and attacked Israel in the presence of so-called U.N. peacekeepers.

Israel wants peace, but will be snookered again by the United Nations and by those who can’t get it through their heads that the only way to defeat evil is to crush it militarily. The lessons of the failure of appeasement that led to World War II seem to have been forgotten.



Don’t hit Bolivia with sanctions

Although the article on Bolivian cocaine is rightfully alarming because of the rise in cocaine production since former coca grower Evo Morales assumed the presidency, Martin Arostegui fails to address the limits of Washington’s ineffective drug policies (“Bolivian cocaine rises with Morales,” Page 1, July 27).

In a somewhat hasty response, Washington now threatens to decertify Bolivia as a fully cooperating partner in the U.S.-led war on drugs, a move that would disqualify Bolivia from preferential trade tariffs and approximately $100 million in aid. Yet in a country where close to two-thirds of the population lives below the poverty line, higher rates on Bolivian products will only encourage the illicit production of coca, a much more lucrative option than the U.S. Agency for International Development’s alternative crop substitution program.

Unfortunately for those indigent coca growers who are simply trying to survive, it doesn’t matter if the plant goes to harmless traditional use or is illegally processed into cocaine by drug traffickers. But it would be wise to recall that previous attempts to eradicate illegal coca cultivation through the war on drugs only resulted in widespread human rights violations against thousands of Bolivian farmers. Washington’s faulty approach aggravated already simmering social tensions, which ultimately led to the election of the pro-coca Morales.

As it becomes increasingly clear that the U.S.-led anti-drug effort can only at best contain illicit cultivation rather than eliminate the poverty that is the root cause of the problem, the time has come to acknowledge the need for a fresh, innovative approach to managing coca in Bolivia and the rest of South America, and forego the usual back-of-the-hand treatment.


Research associate

Council on Hemispheric Affairs


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