- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 29, 2006

U.N. absurdities

I would like to add my two cents to the excellent analysis written by R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. (“U.N. Mideast absurdities,” Commentary, Friday).

Under its current leadership, the United Nations has failed in every mission on which it has embarked. Aid workers sent by the U.N. become rapists. “Humanitarian aid” for Iraq under the oil-for-food program becomes an opportunity for corruption on an unimaginable scale and includes the secretary-general’s son. The crisis in Darfur enters another year with no relief in sight.

U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan shows his contempt and his bias against Israel, whom he blames for the deaths of U.N. observers in Lebanon. The evidence, however, is to the contrary, as Hezbollah is using the U.N. outposts in Lebanon as shields against Israeli air attacks.

And where were the observers from the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon during the last six years when Hezbollah was building an arsenal of offensive weapons with which to attack Israel?

Were there no reports of this massive buildup of firepower from UNIFIL through the U.N. chain of command? Why wasn’t the U.N. Security Council called into emergency session to deal with the Hezbollah threat and its flagrant violation of U.N. resolution 1559?

Resolutions that offer hope for “peace in our time” are passed, but they have no meaning because they are not enforced. So, the diplomats hold their meetings and conduct their press conferences telling us of their noble work, and the world falsely breathes a sigh of relief — then the bombs explode and the innocents are massacred.

It’s time for the United States to end its participation in this charade.

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

Don’t punish truants

Perhaps John M. Bridgeland should have addressed his commentary “Looking out for dropouts” to the D.C. Board of Education instead of The Washington Times (Op-Ed, Wednesday). The recent adoption of harsher penalties by the D.C. School Board for secondary students who amass five or more unexcused absences in a single class serves only one purpose — to punish. As Mr. Bridgeland emphasizes, what students need to be successful in school is motivation. The insistence of the school board on utilizing “crack the whip” policies does nothing to address the most significant issue: why students would have any unexcused absences in the first place.

Mr. Bridgeland is on the right track in declaring that students need more structured time and greater challenges in school to lower the dropout rate. We must be sure, however, that structured time means safe places to do interesting things, not after-school lockdowns. Instead of focusing on the dangers of too much freedom, we need to focus on the freedoms that all youth deserve without restriction: freedom to dream, grow and achieve success. It’s time for the D.C. School Board to change the conversation and realize that youth are at promise, not at risk.

DARCY JONES

Public policy coordinator

DC Campaign to Prevent

Teen Pregnancy

Washington

America needs offshore oil and gas

Senate Bill S-3711 introduced by Sen. Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico Republican, would, within a year of its enactment, open up more than 8.3 million acres on the outer continental shelf (OCS) for exploration for oil and natural gas (“Senate set to take up Gulf Coast oil drilling,” Nation, Thursday).

The Senate should without further delay open up these vast areas of the Gulf of Mexico for immediate oil and natural gas exploration. At this time, when consumers and businesses in the United States are paying the highest natural-gas prices in the world, the Domenici bill would assure us of a great source of energy.

The House of Representatives passed a version of the OCS reform last month, and I would urge the Senate to move most expeditiously to approve the Domenici bill as soon as possible.

The United States would be foolish not to open these areas up for exploration and production.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

m

It is with interest that I read of the ongoing debate on the merits of offshore drilling on the outer continental shelf (extending some 200 miles from a line that commences, I believe, from the outward boundary of state waters).

This shelf is claimed by the United States for all Americans and not for a select few, such as the state of Florida. Any economic windfall from this area should benefit all Americans (“Senate set to take up Gulf Coast oil drilling,” Nation, Thursday).

In a continued attempt to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, deals are being struck in Washington to appease a few states, notably Florida, in hopes of benefiting all residents of the United States.

The bill would protect from drilling 125 miles of the Florida coast through 2022. Exactly where is this restriction line? Is it measured westward from the Alabama/Florida state line? Is it measured due south from this line for 125 miles and then westward for another 125 miles? The former measurement would affect 100 percent of the Alabama coast and about 33 percent of the Mississippi coast.

One of Florida’s primary industries is tourism. Where would this industry be if not for petroleum products? What is the percentage of U.S. daily consumption allocated to tourism?

Florida doesn’t advertise its benefit from the offshore activities, like being the recipient of abandoned platforms (no longer of utility) for use as artificial reefs, at no cost to the state. The first of these platforms was donated by Tenneco Oil Co. and placed in the Pensacola area in September 1982. Tenneco also donated other platforms a short time later in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area.

And finally, offshore drilling did occur within about 50 miles west of Fort Myers in the early 1980s. Tenneco drilled that one — unfortunately it was a dry hole. I was employed by Tenneco at that time and was responsible for permitting those activities.

It is high time that our elected officials think of all Americans and not just a select few. Will Cuba, through directional drilling in the Florida Straits, tap into oil and gas deposits that rightfully belong to us?

DONALD R. LEBLANC

Inwood, W.Va.

The politics of whine

Harlan Ullman’s prescription for Democratic electoral success is a good one (“Where stands the party of Democrats?” Op-Ed, Thursday). His citation of a Will Rogers quote to the effect that the Democrats are not an organized party may prove prophetic.

I would also like to quote Mr. Rogers. He famously said “I never met a man I didn’t like.” Well, he never met the acerbic Howard Dean, public face of the Democrats, whose braying befits the party’s donkey symbol. He also never encountered Sen. Harry Reid and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the congressional sadsacks.

And while I’m sure the estimable Mr. Rogers could find something to like about the K-twins of Massachusetts, the earnest but liberally lost Sen. Russ Feingold, and the remarkably saccharine John Edwards, I don’t know that the voters on Main Street will.

We’d best hope that the Democrats continue the politics of whine and dissent, rather than recognizing that a positive approach toward fixing what the Republicans have broken might be a better strategy.

PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati

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