- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cyprus, Turkey and Greece

The letter by Annie Charalambous titled “Turkey and Cyprus” in the Wednesday issue of the Washington Times unfortunately repeats the same outdated rhetoric we so often hear from the Greek Cypriot side regarding Turkey’s presence on the island.

The reason why Turkey intervened in 1974 was because of the Greek Cypriot side’s violent 11-year-long campaign (from 1963 to 1974), culminating in the coup d’etat of July 15 that year, to exterminate the Turkish Cypriot people and annex the island to Greece. It should not be forgotten that it was the Greeks who fired the first shots in Cyprus in 1963 and again in 1974.

The author asks the question “since when did an invading force preserve peace?” The obvious answer is that the Turkish troops are not an “invading force”; they have never been described as such either by the U.N. or U.S. in their official terminology. They have kept the peace on the island since their arrival; the Greek Cypriot officials cannot argue with success.

Furthermore, it is curious why the author of the letter makes no mention of the presence of thousands of Greek troops and officers from the mainland, commanding the Greek Cypriot National Guard, which contains 20 Greek Generals in its ranks. Similarly, she makes no mention of the fact that all the issues she is complaining about would have been resolved had the Greek Cypriot side accepted the U.N. plan (the Annan Plan) for the settlement of the dispute presented over 2 years ago and accepted by the Turkish Cypriot side.

BUKET KOP

Second Secretary

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

The ‘obesity epidemic’

Like clockwork, another public health study is released, and commentators dispute its merits (“The soda jerks,” Commentary, Tuesday. Unfortunately, all this bickering only diverts attention from our nation’s obesity epidemic.

Make no mistake, it is an epidemic. About 16 percent of all children and teens in the United States are overweight, and 65 percent of adults age 20 and older are overweight.

If nothing changes, our current generation of children will be the first not to live as long as their parents.

In a nutshell, the problem boils down to Americans consuming more calories than they are burning. The “consuming” receives the most attention. However, the “burning” part is just as important.

For instance, we learn the importance of reading, writing and arithmetic as children, and it resonates throughout our lives. Taking care of your body should receive the same emphasis. Yet a Journal of School Health study found that 92 percent of elementary schools do not provide daily physical education throughout the entire year. In fact, only one state in the nation provides 150 minutes of PE in elementary schools each week.

That is a problem for which true solutions can be found. Arguing over a study connecting soda to obesity will not change the fact that 65 percent of our nation’s adults are overweight. Only all people of all political beliefs working together to find a multipronged solution will.

AARON TALLENT

Director of advocacy,

Greater Washington Area

American Heart Association

Mid-Atlantic Affiliate

Washington

Use private charity, not government confiscation

In reading “Welfare reformed, poverty persists,” (Commentary, Wednesday) by Clarence Page, I am struck by some of the imagery he uses to portray welfare reform. Mr. Page used some quotes from the late Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan, who said on the Senate floor that we were “doing mad things” and that we were attempting to modify the behavior of adults by making the lives of children wretched.

Such imagery is very effective in getting the unwilling to acquiesce and give up their opposition, but it ignores the fact that the nature of a family is that the living conditions experienced by the children are always a direct reflection of the abilities of the parents and whatever actions they take in life. While it may be heartbreaking to see, that is the nature of families, and to insist that the government confiscate my income and that of my fellow citizens to institute programs that Mr. Moynihan and his like-minded cronies deemed necessary constitutes theft, in my opinion, and is not an effective way to provide aid to those in need.

It has always been found to be more effective to render such aid through churches and other private civic charitable organizations than through the bloated bureaucracy of the government. By using the private sector, we are enabling those in need to fight the war on poverty themselves, with money that is not taken against the will of those whose taxes are raised for the purposes of correcting an ill that well-meaning but misinformed persons have identified as being in the realm of government.

The underlying assumption of Mr. Moynihan’s and Mr. Page’s position is that, through confiscation, they are demonstrating charitable personal characteristics. In fact, the reverse is true. In advocating the confiscation of individual wealth to effect changes that they deem necessary for the downtrodden, they are, in fact, stealing from those who object.

True charity comes from private acts performed without an expectation of any kind of remuneration and not by demanding that others pay as well. Were Mr. Page and other like-minded liberals more inspired, they would open their checkbooks and donate privately instead of stealing from me before the money even makes it into my bank account.

Even more, they could refuse any and all tax breaks that are given, preferring to let the money remain with the government for redistribution.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie

American battlefield barbarism

Both Cal Thomas and John Carey appear to be calling for the unrestrained killing of innocent people in order to “win” the war against Hezbollah and al Qaeda. Mr. Thomas in “Not over, over there” (Commentary, Wednesday) quotes columnist Ari Shavit as saying that the Israeli government is “drugged by political correctness” and its “attempt to prevent bloodshed is costing a great deal of bloodshed.” Then Mr. Thomas states that the war against terror “won’t be over until Israel and the West get over moral equivalency and political correctness and fight to win.” Apparently he is condoning the indiscriminate mass murder of civilians such as U.S. forces carried out in Dresden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo, where we did “fight to win.”

In his column “Handicapped by our values,” printed Wednesday next to Mr. Thomas’ commentary, Mr. Carey claims “there is a gap … abyss, in values and moral mindset between America and the terrorists.” He states that the preamble of “Our Declaration of Independence separates us from terrorists.” This would be correct if our great nation matched this profoundly universal document with its actions.

Unfortunately, U.S. military forces under the command of President Bush have violated the “inalienable right” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” by killing scores of innocent Muslims in a war of choice in Iraq. Israel’s murderous response to the kidnapping of two of its solders (not an act of terrorism or an invasion of Israel, but a crime — a serious violation of international law) also resulted in massive loss of innocent life and the denial of the “pursuit of happiness” for nearly a million displaced Lebanese. Hezbollah committed the crime, but the Lebanese are paying the fine.

Many of the so-called “terrorist attacks” against the United States over the past two decades that targeted U.S. military troops, facilities and war machines (the Khobar Towers, the Marine barracks in Lebanon, the USS Cole, the Pentagon and even the World Trade Center) were, according to the laws of war, aimed at legitimate targets — targets we failed to protect adequately despite knowing the intent and capabilities of those who hate us.

The war on terrorism is not like other world wars. In this war, anyone responsible for killing innocent people is the bad guy.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

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