- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 1, 2006

America is the U.N.’s ‘superpartner’

The June 29 article “18-month U.N. budget approved” (World, Thursday) fails to portray an accurate picture of U.N. reforms to date. By quoting U.S. Ambassador John Bolton as saying “The truth is we haven’t made substantial progress on reform,” the article furthers Mr. Bolton’s disinformation campaign to get Congress to do what he could not — to withhold U.S. funds to the United Nations. The House has already reacted by cutting over $27 million requested by the administration to meet our obligations to the United Nations and other international organizations.

You could have more accurately portrayed the status of U.N. reform by quoting Assistant Secretary of State Kristen Silverberg, who reaffirmed that the United States “opposes any mandatory [financial] withholding legislation that will prevent us from meeting our obligations” and acknowledged that “the ethics office has been established, we have improved whistleblower protections, more financial disclosure, a Peacebuilding Commission” on the State Department’s Web site.

In fact, more reforms have been accomplished at the United Nations within the last year than any time in U.N. history. While not all U.S. goals have been achieved, the reform process will continue and these goals should eventually be met. It is time for the United States to realize that the threats haven’t worked. Our diplomats need to roll up their sleeves and start building consensus the old-fashioned way. The United Nations relies on U.S. leadership. The world needs us to be more than its sole superpower — it needs us to be a super-partner.

DON KRAUS

Executive Vice President

Citizens for Global Solutions

Washington

A few steps toward classlessness

Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley once again showed his true colors in his campaign (“O’Malley stumps as governor announces bid,” Metropolitan, Thursday). He decided to hold a rally a few steps from the governor’s mansion in Annapolis on June 28 at the very same time that Gov. Robert Ehrlich formally announced his bid for re-election.

This is nothing but political grand-standing and cheap-shot politics. Such tactics are tacky and only serve to continue to reveal that Democrats in Maryland will stop at nothing in their futile effort to win in November.

It seems like Mr. O’Malley will take any opportunity to get a photo-op or to step in front of the television cameras and grab headlines.

The battle for the governor’s mansion in Annapolis has just begun, and the Democrats are already perusing it on a classless note.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

It’s the Mexican economy, stupid

I applaud the Times for having the foresight to run the article on Mexican voters’ economic concerns and their relation to upcoming elections (“Economic plans to be major factor in Mexico election,” Page 1, Thursday).

As much of public discourse seems to center on illegals and the immigration crisis, it is crucial for Americans to realize that our own interests are essentially intertwined with those of the Mexican people.

We will never have any reasonable expectation for success in dealing with our immigration issues — no matter what course of action we take — unless we start to contemplate more deeply the factors within Mexico that so meaningfully affect American interests.

MACY HANSON

Tempe, Ariz.

Vaccines and parental decision-making

Elizabeth Whelan’s recent torrent of anti-parental rhetoric (“Cancer triumph and travail,” Commentary, June 15) stretched the bounds of logic. Her only real message appears to be that parents, conservative groups and moral values are the enemy of the scientific elite, who really know what’s best for families.

She states that parental choice in vaccination decisions would usher in “disease profiles approaching those of the Third World.” The fact is, parents already have the right to exempt their children from vaccinations, even those deemed mandatory. All 50 states allow for medically based exemptions — and 48 states allow exemptions for non-medical reasons such as religious or philosophical concerns. And as promising as Gardasil is, it only protects against 70 percent of cervical cancer risk — not 100 percent.

Groups like Focus on the Family celebrate the new vaccines that protect against cervical cancer, and support their universal availability. But we also stand for the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children. Only they — and not Focus on the Family, Ms. Whelan or state governments — should make those decisions for America’s kids.

LINDA KLEPACKI

Analyst for Sexual Health

Focus on the Family

Colorado Springs, Colo.

A cut-and-paste intel job

John B. Roberts II claims that “Bureaucratic rivalry between competing U.S. government agencies…undermines the CIA’s” effectiveness (“Suskind gets it wrong,” Op-Ed, Thursday).

In his effort to denigrate the facts in Ron Suskind’s new book, “The One Percent Doctrine,” Mr. Roberts gives the Pentagon a free pass, characterizing its leadership as victims: “The Pentagon fell for bad intelligence peddled by self-serving informants.”

He left out Doug Feith’s Pentagon intelligence operation, set up as a cut-and-paste crafter of data to support a predetermined agenda. The special intelligence unit that Mr. Feith headed is no secret. His critics include retired Gen. Tommy Franks and Colin Powell’s deputy, Col. Larry Wilkerson.

As time passes and more information gets out, we are learning that, in fact, the intelligence agencies had it right. It was the gang at the Pentagon in collusion with the White House that was busy cutting and pasting its way to war.

JOAN SALEMI

W. Springfield, Va.

Playing politics with North Korea

The approach that Michael O’Hanlon is supporting is founded on a very large and risky assumption (“Preemption and North Korea,” Commentary, Wednesday). The two reactors from the 1994 agreement were truly placed in mothballs. We have no way of validating that assumption. Also, North Korea has continually pursued international dialog with the United States since Panmoonjon because, like all terrorists, it perceives negotiations as a weakness and a path toward appeasement and global political recognition.

Since President Clinton’s secretary of defense, William Perry, and assistant secretary, Ash Carter, did not endorse preemption when North Korea kicked out the International Atomic Energy Agency, their statements have no merit and are only political provocations.

LARRY STONE

Peyton, Colo.


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