- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Disingenuous about surveillance cameras

The Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office is being disingenuous when it says surveillance cameras in violent areas don’t deter crime (“Spy cameras fail to focus on street crime,” Page 1, Sunday).

Convictions for drive-by shootings alone are less than 25 percent in the city, but using existing video technology and simply filming all cars that drive down a high-crime street, it would be easy to identify the car model, license plate and identities of all assailants.

The real reason state’s attorney’s offices around the country are made uneasy by this technology is financial: The expense of building and operating a network is high, and more significantly, the city is exposed to enormous liability in gathering information on criminals but not prosecuting each one. This can be changed by federal liability caps and by some healthy popular outrage at the venal motives that drive the average city attorney’s office.


Carson, Calif.

A Taiwan tightrope

In “U.S. walks a tightrope over Taiwan” (World, Monday) Associated Press reporter Peter Enav states that “China and Taiwan split in 1949, and since then Beijing has never abandoned its position that the island is part of its territory.” This description leaves out some important details.

After the events of August 1945, Gen. Douglas MacArthur directed Chiang Kai-shek to accept the surrender of Japanese troops in Taiwan, and his representatives did so on Oct. 25, 1945. Although the surrender ceremonies were held on behalf of the Allies, the ensuing military occupation of Taiwan was conducted on behalf of the “conqueror” and “principal occupying power,” and that is the United States. At the most basic level, the Republic of China on Taiwan is a subordinate occupying power. In December 1949, it also became a government in exile.

In the postwar peace treaty, Japan renounced the sovereignty of Taiwan without specifying a “receiving country,” so Taiwan has remained under the jurisdiction of the United States Military Government up to the present day.

The Shanghai Communique is an executive agreement to arrange for the future final disposition of Taiwan. All of the executive branch’s actions in walking a tightrope with Taiwan and China can be understood if viewed in this framework.


Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Signing statements and enforcing the law

In his column “Bush vs. Congress” (Commentary, yesterday) Morton Kondracke might have done well to remember that the executive always has the right and duty to select which laws will be enforced and how — just as Congress decides which laws will be funded and how once they are enacted into law. Congress has no right to micromanage the executive branch (much as it would like to do so).

Far from being a threat to the Constitution, President Bush’s signing statements are at least clear indications of the intent of the executive (rather than simply operating in silence). Congress passes laws all the time that are unfunded and therefore unenforceable.

Whether or not to enforce a law is the purview of the executive branch, whatever one may think of Mr. Bush. Line-item veto doesn’t work because Congress controls the purse. Mandating how laws shall be enforced would be line-item execution of the law, a decidedly executive job under the Constitution.



Fallout from Lebanon

In the article “Era of Israeli invincibility is over” (World, yesterday), which addresses the Israel-Hezbollah war, those quoted have jumped to conclusions that are merely pipe dreams.

So-called scholars such as Fawaz Gerges of Sarah Lawrence College (“Israel is a paper tiger after all”) and Shibley Telhami of the University of Maryland (“Israeli deterrence will be weaker and Israel will be weaker”) may be expressing their hopes, but they certainly are not stating fact.

Even former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens is quoted as saying, “Israel’s enemies … will conclude that Israel does not have the stamina for an extended encounter with terrorism.” Mr. Arens is visiting the weakness of the current Israeli leadership upon the people of Israel. The people were ready to go to the wall, but the leadership was not.

One of the many things the Israeli armed forces and the people of Israel do very well is learn lessons. You can bet the Israeli military and the intelligence services are sitting around conference tables going over “lessons learned” and preparing for the inevitable resumption of hostilities that Hezbollah will initiate. The word “hesitation” will not be found in the new war-planning documents.



America and Israel have capitulated before Iran and Hezbollah, and this fact is reverberating throughout the Middle East and the world.

President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Israel proclaimed publicly that they never would go back to the status quo in Lebanon: a terrorist state within a state.

Within a week, that is exactly what the greatest power on earth did. American and Israeli policies not only constitute a humiliating defeat in the war against terrorism, but they also have substantially heightened the dangers their nations and democratic institutions already face.

Mr. Bush’s diplomacy in Lebanon, his weak half-measures in Iraq and neglect in Afghanistan have emboldened a reckless Iran and its Muslim fascist surrogates worldwide.

The world is watching as Mr. Bush relinquishes Lebanon to a triumphant and empowered Hezbollah. He is abandoning Iraq, which, at the rate it is going, will soon turn into another Lebanon.

Mr. Bush, Miss Rice and Israel have shown the world at crucial junctures in the war on terror that they lack the leadership and staying power to prevail. In his second term, Mr. Bush has become terrorism’s greatest enabler.

Mr. Bush and Israel have been tested by Iran and Syria and have failed. By the time Muslim fanaticism takes Israeli and American resolve seriously again, it may be too late.


Ruckersville, Va.

Wrong on intelligence methods

The article entitled “Military at Odds on Intel Methods” (Page 1, Monday) is inaccurate. The author never spoke to the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence, Dr. Stephen Cambone, or either of the undersigned.

When the Department was notified of his intent to publish the article, the Public Affairs office of the Department of Defense informed your reporter that his information was incorrect.

There is no disagreement on the intelligence structure in Iraq. Many of the proposed changes to the Department’s overall intelligence organization are drawn from CENTCOM’s experiences. The intelligence directorate at CENTCOM contributed to the design of those changes.

In turn, Gen. John Abizaid, the CENTCOM commander, has sought the Pentagon’s assistance in replicating in Afghanistan the intelligence structure now in Iraq.


Deputy Under Secretary of

Defense for Intelligence and

Warfighting Support



U.S. Central Command

Director of Intelligence


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