- The Washington Times - Monday, June 19, 2006

Honoring public service

For his journalistic contributions to public service and public safety, Washington Times columnist John McCaslin received the 2006 Hodding Carter Journalism Award for his “Inside the Beltway” column from the Northern Virginia chapter of the American Society of Public Administration. Speaking of public safety, Chief Charles H. Ramsey of the Metropolitan Police Department was present at the awards banquet to receive a 2006 Public Service Award (“Grandma’s boundaries,” Inside the Beltway, Thursday).

Mr. Ramsey was recognized for his outstanding efforts in community policing as well as initiation of the Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit that takes a proactive lead in community outreach and actual policing in the community. The chief was also noted for his establishment of the Holocaust education program, “Law and Society,” that now has more than 20,000 officers and recruits nationwide learning about the role of the German police during the Holocaust. The program stresses the importance of understanding that all police officers must respect life and treat individuals with respect and dignity.

Mr. Ramsey also was recognized for his cross-borders initiatives and his non-territorial approach to policing. His cross-borders initiatives and cooperative efforts with Prince George’s County and neighboring jurisdictions have had significant effects on car thefts, guns and gangs. The chief also was commended for his collaborative efforts with other agencies following the regional sniper attacks and the September 11 terrorist attack at the Pentagon.

The award banquet had a reunion effect, of sorts, due to the fact that former U.S. Park Police Chief Teresa Chambers was the keynote speaker and retired U.S. Capitol Police Chief Terrance W. Gainer was in attendance. Mr. Gainer’s presence and contributions to public service were acknowledged, and the chiefs were recognized as the “greats” who had worked together in the past.

Public servants generously give of themselves, and a large portion of their lives is devoted to public service. The awards recognize the value of their service with gratitude, and these persons serve as role models.

KAREN L. BUNE

Council Member

American Society of

Public Administration

Fairfax

Special Operations Forces and the war

Thank you for publishing Joseph Goulden’s generous review of my latest book, “To Dare and to Conquer: Special Operations and the Destiny of Nations, from Achilles to Al Qaeda” (“Nuclear spying, shadow warriors,” Books, June 11).

He is indeed correct in taking issue with my awkward phrasing of the backgrounds of those commandos who serve in what is popularly known as Delta Force. I should have been clearer on this highly sensitive point: Such extraordinary warriors of course rise from Airborne and Special Forces, but their experience additionally reflects surprising qualifications in such inordinately meticulous, often solitary skills as automotive mechanics and the handling of personnel files. Those are distinct and telling points from how these entrepreneurs of violence are popularly perceived.

As for the reviewer’s dismissal of my policy conclusions — particularly how U.S. Special Operations Forces fit into the current struggle, and their abrasions with the CIA — I’ve just addressed these matters head-on in two opinion pieces in the New York Post. Surely Mr. Goulden is himself not pleased with all aspects of how the war on terror has been conducted since, say, the first attacks on New York in 1993.

DEREK LEEBAERT

Washington

Dubious constitutional amendments

As ridiculous and insulting as it is that the president and Congress are wasting their valuable time and energy on the enactment of a constitutional amendment to preclude homosexuals from marrying, even more absurd and offensive is the effort now gearing up to enact an amendment to prohibit burning of the American flag (“Panel advances Old Glory protection,” Nation, Friday).

Both political ploys are geared to luring “values voters.” In these cases, the targets are the gullible and foolish members of the electorate.

Surely the proponents of the amendment to “protect” the flag would acknowledge that they have not undertaken this action due to an epidemic of such incidents. The only places where our flag is consistently burned is in many of the nations whose citizens despise us. If the amendment is enacted, would we plan to send law-enforcement officers overseas to put a stop to the disrespect of our flag?

The message behind the proposed amendment is clear, unmistakable and shameful: As Americans, we of course believe in free speech, unless, that is, the speech is really offensive to us. Then, it will be prohibited by law.

The vote on this amendment should be carefully watched. Those who vote for it are either panderers who wish to turn away from the freedoms that have made our country great or those who are too cowardly to vote in the manner that they know is right due to the political fallout that would ensue.

Flag burners feed on press coverage and citizen reaction. Imagine how quickly we could ensure that flag burning would never again occur if we provided no attention to the publicity seeker. The best way of protecting our precious flag and all that it stands for is not to ever consider an amendment to ban its burning.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

The M16’s limitations

“Army ammo” (Inside the Ring, Friday) exposed the Army’s most self-serving report and waste of money I have seen in 33 years of Army service.

I have fired all Army small arms used since World War I, have a federal firearms license, reload all types of ammunition, and have killed many animals with all calibers of weapons.

The soldiers in Afghanistan who complained about the lack of knockdown power of the M16 are correct. The Army wasted $3 million of taxpayer money on a report that is wrong in reporting marksmanship to be the problem. I have run numerous Army firing ranges and marksmanship of the average soldier is not a problem. Fear, excitement, raging adrenalin and physical exertion on the battlefield are the problem with placing accurate shots. Shots can’t always be well placed in fast-moving combat situations.

This is why large caliber bullets make such a big difference. Hit someone with an M16 5.56 mm bullet in the arm and there is a flesh wound and the enemy keeps fighting. Hit him with a .30-caliber bullet and his arm is gone and he stops fighting.

The 5.56 mm M16 bullet is about the size of a .22-caliber rifle bullet that only travels at higher velocity. Would you rather to go into combat with a .22-caliber rifle with lots of lightweight ammo or a high-power hunting rifle with perhaps fewer .30-caliber bullets but which will do the most damage?

With modern materials, the Army should be able to provide a lightweight .30-caliber rifle with ballistics similar to the wonderful M1 Garand or M14 that only needed one .30-caliber hit to totally disable or kill an enemy soldier.

Army brass could have simply gone to the library to read ballistic tests done before acceptance of .30- and .45-caliber weapons in earlier years, rather than wasting my tax money to prove what they wanted to hear about the little M16 .22-caliber bullet.

ART BACHMAN

Gum Spring, Va.

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