- The Washington Times - Monday, July 10, 2006

Southern border a war zone

The article “House told criminals swelling alien tide” (Page 1, Saturday) says something Border Patrol agents have been telling Congress for a long time. Congress has elected, until now, to ignore the fact that many illegal aliens have committed other crimes in addition to invading our nation.

The immigration issue has dominated national and state politics this year and forced our bungling Congress to pass legislation that focuses on efforts to curb the illegal alien crisis. The House and Senate have different versions of how to solve this disaster. The House wants enforcement, and the Senate wants amnesty. Neither side can agree, so they have called for hearings to further study the issue. They are merely revisiting what many people have told them all along, that our southern border is a war zone. Congress has called for hearings, not to help the nation but instead to delay decisions until after the November elections. They hope to fool the voters once again by not taking a stand for or against illegal immigration until they are safely in office.

BOB ALLAN

Rochester Hills, Mich.

The bird flu threat

“Karina Blizzard, associate director of the Wildlife and Heritage Service at the [Maryland] Department of Natural Resources” is pictured herding molting and therefore flightless Canada geese above a headline trumpeting “Migratory geese tested for bird-flu virus” (Metropolitan, Friday).

Fact: Though all Canada geese are defined legally as “migratory birds” because they are named on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the Canada geese pictured are not “migratory geese.” They are resident geese that live year-round where they are molting. Why is this little bit of ornithological trivia important? Because testing these geese in particular for bird flu at this time is merely window dressing to give the illusion of government activity and the expenditure of government funds to protect us from avian flu. So, of course, the press, like a hungry loon, swallows the bait hook, line and sinker.

The danger from bird flu will arrive via the truly migratory flocks of ducks, geese, swans, shorebirds and other feathered friends migrating in the fall and winter from areas where they were exposed to infected European or Asian birds on the summer breeding grounds. While our government is looking at those areas and species, neither the government nor the press is addressing the appropriate questions.

If bird flu is found in a domestic chicken flock, a turkey operation or a duck farm, no one doubts for a second that the entire flock will be killed, the area disinfected and replacement flocks forbidden for extended periods. What if bird flu is found in a fall concentration of ring-necked ducks on Rice Lake National Wildlife Refuge or in wintering snow geese on Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge or in the ducks and geese on Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge or along the Platte River in Nebraska or in any of a hundred other places where wild birds transit through or congregate or winter? What of the refuge water? What of the visitors? What of the employees? Will drainage or burning be employed? Will flocks be dispersed or killed? Are any preparations being made for all the legal challenges that will be raised the instant bird flu is discovered or action is recommended?

One further point is worth making. It is “touching” to see the Wildlife and Heritage Service lady and others taking fecal swabs on behalf of human health. Why haven’t the federal wildlife researchers and state wildlife folks nationwide been concerned until now about the millions of these year-round resident Canada geese spreading a significant amount — and wide range — of disease, infection and harmful environmental contaminants in their feces for more than 20 years in every schoolyard, parking lot and municipal park of every urban area and rural town?

This is a significant problem, one that has been avoided and covered up by government and animal rights groups that use methods such as “capture and relocate” and providing dogs to scare away geese as a way to avoid lethal control of any animal or game. This in turn justifies everything from doing away with hunting to “rescuing” animals to treating deadly predators as lovable lumps.

JIM BEERS

Centreville

The truth about Egypt and democracy

In his July 5 Op-Ed column, “Intolerance in Egypt,” Nir Boms drew many selective hypothetical conclusions based on premises rife with disinformation and misinformation. As the space is limited, I will try to set the record straight on three of the many fallacies he stated.

Banning “The Da Vinci Code” movie in Egypt came as a result of Christian and Muslim outrage because it has been perceived by most Egyptians as a sacrilege to Christianity.

As for the blogger Alaa Seif al-Islam, who was picked up by police, he was trying to stir people’s feelings that jeopardized Egyptian security and safety. Having said that, the government has introduced a new law to the Parliament aimed at protecting journalists from arbitrary imprisonment.

Regarding Ayman Nour’s case, we reiterate that the case is far from being political; it is a criminal case to which the Court of Cassation of the independent judiciary branch in Egypt gave its final verdict.

Finally, Mr. Boms has tried through his column to imply that the administration is sending wrong signals to Cairo as it is ignoring what he has labeled a “wave of political arrests.” As Mr. Boms myopically drew his conclusion, we have to remind him that Egypt and the United States are actively engaged in promoting the democratic process throughout the region.

Democracy is a process, and the administration is lauding Egypt for the historical steps it has taken toward its goals.

HESHAM ELNAKIB

Minister plenipotentiary and director

Egyptian Press and Information Office

Washington

Palestinian state a bad idea

I hope Arnaud de Borchgrave is correct in asserting that Israel has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state to emerge in the West Bank and Gaza (“The impossible dream?” Commentary, yesterday). Although his cynicism is tedious, his negative projections are welcome on rare occasions, as in this case.

What the Palestinians have demonstrated amply in word and deed is that they are in no way capable of governing themselves in a productive manner. Aside from Fatah’s thievery and Hamas’ brutality, there is an utter lack of anything resembling a cohesive core upon which to build a just and peaceful society. The recent flare-up is a good example. According to numerous reports, the “credit” for snatching the Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shalit is virtually unattributable. Is Hamas responsible? Which Hamas, the government or the “military wing”? Who controls the parts? Is there an external puppeteer pulling the strings? With whom can fruitful negotiations be conducted? Is this governance or anarchy?

The only core commitment seems to be to the destruction of present-day Israel. There is no apparent interest in creating a functioning state, so why would Israel permit one to be established?

As for the security fence that Mr. de Borchgrave dismisses, let the record show that the number of suicide bombers entering Israel is greatly diminished since the advent of the fence. The only way rockets can come over the fence is if Israel turns the West Bank over to the Palestinians (the mistake made in Gaza), which Mr. de Borchgrave says isn’t going to happen.

DAVID KROSS

Columbia, Md.

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