- The Washington Times - Monday, July 17, 2006

The real cost of illegal immigration

The article “Borderline theater of the absurd” (Commentary, Saturday) fails to mention the fact that laws which have been in place for more then 25 years to deal with this issue of illegal immigration have been unenforced by our government. The statement that illegals pay more taxes than they cost taxpayers is also lacking facts.

The costs to incarcerate illegals who have committed crimes plus the cost to our education system and welfare system are staggering. She also fails to mention the $20 billion-plus taken out of our economy and sent to Mexico every year, along with the depression of wages for American citizens that illegals cause.

Tradesmen now make less than they did 30 years ago.

Our elected officials of both parties are disconnected from the outrage citizens are feeling toward this invasion and will pay the price in November.

LYNETTE WOOD

Glendale, Ariz.

What really happened at Rafah

Readers need the rest of the story on the Palestinians stuck at the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza (“Palestinian militants force open gate, free Gazans into Egypt,” Page 1, Saturday). Rafah is the only crossing controlled entirely by the Palestinians, with only European observers and no Israeli security.

After an Israeli soldier was kidnapped in Israel by Hamas and taken across the line into Gaza — an act of war — Israel closed the Rafah crossing to ensure that the soldier was not taken out of Gaza into the Sinai Desert or smuggled into Lebanon.

The Palestinian civilians in the crossing terminal, however, were offered buses to take them to another crossing, Karnei Shalom, controlled by Israeli security. There the civilians could be checked and allowed to go home, but no unauthorized people would be able to enter or leave the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians refused to use any crossing but Rafah. For that decision, two people including a 15-year-old boy died in the station, according to the Red Cross.

This part of the story is essential to understanding both the position of Israel and the Palestinians, and it should be made available to readers.

SHOSHANA BRYEN

Director, special projects

Jewish Institute for

National Security Affairs

Washington

Hezbollah and terror

As a former member of the multinational peacekeeping force for Lebanon, the violence between Hezbollah and Israel leaves me shaking my head in disgust (“Israel moves to seal off Lebanon,” Page 1, Friday).

Both sides attack each other in the least manly of ways, air assaults and missiles, while recklessly endangering innocent civilians. For me, this whole conflict involving the parent of all terrorist organizations means we in the world of powerful military might have failed. Failed in the matter of finishing off Hezbollah, the one enduring enemy of peace throughout the Middle East.

Surely, both U.S. and international leadership — since the 1979 Iranian terrorists kidnapped Americans at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran through to the 1983 bombing of Beirut International Airport where several of my comrades were camped and now to the current violence — represent collective failure.

After decade upon decade of weak political appeasement diplomacy, resulting in the most minimal of successes, more uninvolved bystanders die in the cross hairs of all sides. Yet, a peaceful coexistence will never result from this approach. If we in the West have learned anything by now, it should have been this.

I am a veteran who still believes in the mission I volunteered for and I can’t understand why we haven’t moved to crush Hezbollah with the same urgency the world united to defeat the Taliban.

I was sickened to my stomach when Yasser Arafat was internationally accepted as a political leader. But the biggest slap in the face, for all Lebanon multinational peacekeeping force servers, occurred here at home when our State Department and president failed to arrest and prosecute Mr. Arafat when he arrived on U.S. soil. Instead, the world’s No. 1 terrorist leader at the time died on his own terms — free.

As sad as I am about the current Middle East breakdown, terrifying both Israeli and Lebanese desirers of peace, I see nothing more than unfinished U.S. business versus Hezbollah. The time to cut the head off of this reprehensible snake is long overdue. Making that task all the more difficult is a hesitant Lebanese leader and the fact that one nation, Israel, has been left to do the world’s dirty work.

A.J. CASTILLA

East Boston, Mass.

Cleaning up the bay

” ‘Impaired’ waters not worrisome to Virginia” (Metropolitan, Wednesday) began, “The public should not be alarmed by a report showing that nearly two-thirds of rivers and streams monitored by the state are polluted, a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) official said yesterday.”

I am glad that the Virginia General Assembly and Gov. Tim Kaine do not share DEQ’s view, having just appropriated more than $280 million for water-quality improvement projects across the commonwealth. This is the largest dedication of clean-water funding in Virginia’s history. With all due respect to DEQ, water pollution data clearly show these funds are critically needed.

Should Virginians — or DEQ — be satisfied to recreate in polluted rivers as long as they don’t swallow the water or eat the fish? Thousands of miles of Virginia waterways and the Chesapeake Bay are so polluted that fish, shellfish and crabs are threatened. That alarms me.

My favorite fishing spot is listed by DEQ as polluted, so I can no longer eat the fish for fear of mercury poisoning. That alarms me.

Dead and sick fish turn up annually in the Shenandoah River, as do toxic algal blooms in the Potomac River, off-the-chart phosphorus levels in the James River and “dead zones” of oxygen-less water in the Rappahannock and York rivers and in huge areas of the Chesapeake Bay. That alarms me.

Rather than downplaying the story or trying to deflect public concern by claiming no imminent health threat, DEQ should acknowledge the seriousness of the pollution in the bay and in the streams flowing through local communities. The fact that two out of every three Virginia rivers and streams tested are polluted is alarming, but much can be done to reverse the situation. To bring our rivers and bay back to health will require continued funding, steadfast commitment, and strong leadership by the General Assembly and the Kaine administration.

ANN F. JENNINGS

Virginia Executive Director

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Richmond

Jihadist bigotry

Diana West’s Friday Op-Ed, “Jihad and terror,” hits the nail on the head. The root of the threat of violence confronting us today is “the Islamization of the non-Islamist world.” And it is a certainty that efforts to examine, reconsider and reverse this assault will be met with “catcall-attacks of ‘bigotry.’ ”

One would expect such a lame response from the enemy. Yet you can bet the farm that the left-leaning press, liberal Democrats and so-called friends of America will sing the same tune. This is as certain as it is incomprehensible.

Think of bigotry in terms of extreme intolerance for the religious beliefs of others. Muslim terrorists strap bombs to their bodies and blow up innocent Christians, Jews and Hindus. This is bigotry. Also think of bigotry in terms of extreme intolerance toward the sanctity of life. Muslim terrorists indiscriminately behead and otherwise mutilate the innocent. This is bigotry.

The “will to resist” such jihad terror and to do what is necessary to defeat the Muslim terrorists’ efforts to transform civilization as we know it is not bigotry. It is common sense. It is an act of survival.

ROBERT HARGEST

Alexandria

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