- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 6, 2006

Webb wrong on Syria

In the article “Webb faults Bush handling of Middle East crisis,” (Metropolitan, Saturday) James H. Webb Jr. displays an uncanny lack of historical perspective and a failure to understand that experience is supposed to be the best teacher. Yet history has a bad habit of repeating itself disastrously.

Mr. Webb, running against Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican, complains that President Bush is not reaching out to Syria for its assistance in negotiating a cease- fire in Lebanon. He echoes the sentiments of the Syrian ambassador to the United States, Imad Moustapha — not exactly the support any candidate for the U.S. Senate should crave.

Apparently, Mr. Webb is unaware that the United States reached out to Syria in 1993 to arrange a cease-fire and a cessation of rocket attacks by Hezbollah against Israel. In 1996, Hezbollah broke this agreement and again launched rockets into Israel, resulting in an Israeli response. Then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher recently bragged that he shuttled between Damascus, Beirut and Jerusalem, resulting in an agreement bringing this hostility to an end. Now, 10 years later, we have a repeat of history, a greater disaster, and a complaint that Mr. Bush is not reaching out to Syria. Mr. Webb just does not get it. Where has he been?

Diplomacy does not work when dealing with Hezbollah. Agreements in 1993 and in 1996 meant absolutely nothing. They only stopped Israel and enabled Hezbollah to rearm for still another attack. This time, contrary to the wishes of the Webbs of this naive world, Israel must do everything it can to destroy this terrorist capability.

Mr. Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice understand what Mr. Webb still does not comprehend — that the only way to defeat terrorism is to destroy it, not enter into still another cease-fire agreement. The free world is facing a threat to its existence from Islamic terrorism. Mr. Webb needs to understand that Hezbollah is a component of this threat.

WARREN A. MANISON

Potomac

Why government won’t shrink

In his column, “Government shrinkage goal,” Grover Norquist wrote, “The modern conservative movement’s goal is to cut the cost of government as a percentage of the economy in half over the next 25 years,” (Commentary, Thursday).

This goal will not be achieved for the same reason it has not been achieved during the 26 years since the election of Ronald Reagan. Most Americans want the government to help them get through life.

If one feels something strongly it is easy to overestimate the number of people who feel the same way, and it is easy to underestimate the difficulty of converting others to one’s persuasion. Mr. Norquist and other economic reactionaries benefit from a political revolution they did nothing to create, and one which is jeopardized by their political activism.

The current Republican ascendancy exists because white blue-collar workers and lower middle-class white evangelicals left the Democratic Party during the late 1960s and 1970s and began voting Republican. They did not leave the Democrats because they became so prosperous that they no longer wanted the reforms of the New Deal. They left because the Democrats angered them on social issues, even as they became less prosperous.

If the Republican Party tries to advance Mr. Norquist’s agenda it will make mistakes as serious as the mistakes the Democrats began to make four decades ago. Mr. Norquist should console himself with the knowledge that those Democratic mistakes have prevented the Democratic Party from exploiting the growing income gap.

JOHN ENGELMAN

Wilmington, Del.

Pandering and the minimum wage

The National Education Association bears much of the blame for our citizens’ flawed understanding of the American system of free enterprise (“Blame game follows death of minimum-wage bill,” Nation, Saturday). That group’s leadership is so politically allied with the Democratic Party that it doesn’t want lower-wage-earners to figure out that a minimum-wage increase actually results in fewer jobs being available because it costs employers more to hire them.

The cry for a minimum wage increase thus is hypocrisy from politicians pandering to get votes.

Further, with companies gleefully hiring cheap labor from Mexico, our own workers can’t afford to support their families at the rate illegal aliens are glad to accept.

EMILY BROBST

Springfield

Scapegoating Israel

Thank you for Victor Davis Hanson’s column “It’s not just about land” (Commentary, Saturday), noting that the Arab world uses Israel as a scapegoat for its own failures.

However, Mr. Hanson fails to clarify the extreme lengths to which the governments of the Arab world have gone in scapegoating Israel. These regimes do not just blame Israel for all their failings. Rather, like Nazi Germany, they actively deny the humanity of Israelis and Jews worldwide, and indoctrinate their people to become “willing executioners.”

Throughout the Arab world, children are taught in schools and summer camps and through the government-controlled media that Jews are not human beings, but rather “apes and pigs.” In the United States, a program glorifying a child’s venomous references to any racial, ethnic, religious or other group would be universally condemned for its promotion of hate.

The result of this deliberate inculcation of anti-Semitism is a willingness by Islamist terrorists raised in this culture of hate to engage in acts of barbarity that simply defy human conscience. The bombings by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah of Israeli buses and pizzerias packed with women and children are testimony enough to the Islamists’ hate. But perhaps even more telling is their willingness to look into the eyes of women and children and then cold-bloodedly kill them.

One of the Lebanese prisoners whose release Hezbollah is demanding in return for kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev is Samir Kuntar. On April 22, 1979, Kuntar stormed the family home of Smadar and Danny Haran in northern Israel, causing the deaths of Danny, 28, and the couple’s daughters Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, in a horrific and gruesome spree. Hezbollah and its supporters regard Kuntar as a hero destined for eternal paradise, and seek to free him so he can kill more Israeli children.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir once lamented that there will be peace in the Middle East only when the Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate Jews. Sadly, given the willingness of much of the Arab world to poison the minds of its children with extremist hate, that day may not come for a long, long time.

STEPHEN A. SILVER

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Morning-after pills for everyone?

The Food and Drug Administration’s plan to sell the morning-after pill without a prescription to women over 18 years of age and with a prescription to females under 18 is pure nonsense. Who is going to try to enforce the under-18 restriction? Are the pharmacists going to become pill police? (“FDA considers easier access to morning-after pill,” Nation, Tuesday).

Doesn’t anyone, including the FDA, see how the restriction will be nullified by 18-year-olds buying the pill for younger teens or younger teens using fake IDs? Doesn’t anyone see that older male sexual predators could buy the pill for their younger female victims?

The pill also contains a high dose of estrogen, which is a carcinogen. So what we are hearing from the FDA is that it is OK to expose 18-year-olds to carcinogens without a prescription and younger girls with a prescription.

The FDA needs a huge dose of common sense.

RICHARD A. RETTA

Rockville, MD 20854

301 424 4225

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