- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 24, 2006

Kerry’s emotions

Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, emotionally promoted his amendment to get the troops out of Iraq by July 2007 but was defeated soundly Thursday, getting just 13 Democrats to support his position (“‘Empower’ Iraq, pull out troops, Kerry says,” Thursday, Page 1). Mr. Kerry’s plan causes one to remember young Lt. Kerry going to France in August 1971 to meet privately with North Vietnamese and Viet Cong emissaries to the Paris peace talks. Victorious Viet Cong Gen. Vo Nguyen Giap couldn’t have been more appreciative of Mr. Kerry’s help, and after the peace treaty publicly acknowledged Mr. Kerry’s and Jane Fonda’s contributions to motivating the Viet Cong to fight on to victory.

In response to those of his own party who accuse him of maneuvering for a position in the 2008 presidential race, Mr. Kerry already has scuttled any hope for that nomination — just as he did with his inane statement that he voted for $87 million in funding for military operations and reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan “before I voted against it.” This time Mr. Kerry is “allowing” President Bush another six months to get the troops out of Iraq after earlier calling for withdrawing troops by the end of the year. Voters will relate this remarkable piece of generosity to a story the late Rodney Dangerfield told: A doctor told a sick man that he had but six months to live. Because the patient hadn’t paid his bill, the physician gave him six more months.

W.H. SMITH

Palm Desert, Calif.

Enterprise in Africa

The recent African Growth Opportunity Act meeting held in Washington has been a source for much concern and debate within many African governments and the U.S. Congress. Mpho Malie of Lesotho referred to AGOA as “a matter of life and death” (“Life or Death,” Embassy Row, World, June 14). This certainly is not a true account of the real problem African countries face. One of the provisions, due to expire in 2007, is that countries must produce apparel from cotton grown in Africa if they are to continue enjoying the benefits of AGOA. Countries are complaining that 2007 is too soon and that they need more time.

The solution for AGOA-eligible countries lies in developing more competitive, vertically integrated production of cotton to textiles and the apparel industry if they are to continue exporting apparel to the United States.

Farmers in many African countries have abandoned growing cotton because of unpredictable prices, thanks to U.S. cotton subsidies.

AGOA was intended originally to benefit small- and medium-size enterprises as well as large businesses and state-owned enterprises. However, most of the AGOA benefits have only attracted foreign firms benefiting from the cheap and abundant labor.

If African countries are serious about being real players in the global trading system, they must realize, first and foremost, that a conducive investment climate is key. Countries need to focus on fighting corruption, investing in transport infrastructure and encouraging private-sector financing.

But the biggest lesson from all this is that there is a need for African governments to diversify enterprises and markets and avoid overreliance on good will from external policies over which they have no influence.

SHREYA SHAH

Intern

Atlas Economic Research Foundation

Arlington

On immigration, enforce the laws

Are you missing the problem? That’s the question that came to mind after reading Friday’s editorial “Good politics, good policy.” Apparently, you assume that Congress, acting properly, can fix the illegal alien problem. True, Congress can do some things — it could close ridiculous loopholes that don’t allow state or local police to detain transiting illegals.

But the fundamental problem with illegal aliens would still remain: If the chief executive of the United States won’t enforce the laws of the land, nothing will change.

As a voting Republican for most of my adult life, I’m dismayed that presidents simply ignore existing laws and fail to ensure that departments carry out their prescribed functions and don’t let things slide.

In response to the administration’s weak lament that there’s no way to deport 11 million illegals, I shout, “No, that’s not right.” They came in one at a time; they can be deported one at a time. But such backbone-demonstrating behavior would mean that the executive branch would have to fulfill its constitutional mandate to enforce the laws of the land. Democratic or Republican, presidents just haven’t been doing that.

They have been selectively failing to enforce one law at a time. That’s why our republic is failing. That’s why it may well continue to fail.

Lt. Col. HERBERT SMITH JR.

Air Force (Retired)

Las Cruces, N.M.

Free to be

Your June 22 article “ACLU: Miami can’t pull pro-Cuba books” (Nation, Wednesday) addresses the challenge of censorship faced by public school and local libraries, as well as the difficulties involved in beginning a balanced and open discourse about the current state of U.S.-Cuban relations. The Miami-Dade County school district’s entirely politicized and hardly democratic efforts to remove books such as “Vamos a Cuba” from school libraries exemplifies the recent tendency to eradicate children’s exposure to “controversial” subject matter.

The Miami-Dade school board has deemed the book “inappropriate for young readers,” citing “inaccuracies and omissions about life in the communist nation” as justification for pulling copies of the book from school libraries. Rather than shield children from opposing viewpoints, teachers should point out the propagandistic elements in the text to students — or perhaps present an alternative book which encompasses opposing viewpoints — instead of stamping out any opportunity for students to critically analyze life in Cuba.

Miami-Dade students — many of whose parents are Cuban expatriates or relatives of exiles — have access to a wide range of texts and have the freedom to openly express their opinions, unlike many of the Cuban children in “Vamos a Cuba.” Schoolteachers and critics of the book should explain to students that thanks to the rights granted under the First Amendment, every person in the United States can express his or her own views, emphasizing that not everyone throughout the world has such privileges.

One parent who was a political prisoner in Cuba and “complained about the books’ depiction of life under communist rule” should realize that his call for the removal of the book from the school libraries exemplifies the sort of authoritarian action from which he surely fled. It would better serve the Cuban emigre to attend one of his child’s classes and explain to his son or daughter’s classmates what political persecution entails. One would think that a person who was persecuted for his political affiliation and beliefs, and who sought refuge in the United States, would value the political freedoms, particularly the freedom of speech, which Americans readily exercise.

CHARLENE VAN DIJK

South Hadley, Mass.

Freedoms at home

Your June 22 article “ACLU: Miami can’t pull pro-Cuba books” (Nation, Wednesday) addresses the challenge of censorship faced by public school and local libraries, as well as the difficulties involved in beginning a balanced and open discourse about the current state of U.S.-Cuban relations. The Miami-Dade County school district’s entirely politicized and hardly democratic efforts to remove books such as “Vamos a Cuba” from school libraries exemplifies the recent tendency to eradicate children’s exposure to “controversial” subject matter.

The Miami-Dade school board has deemed the book “inappropriate for young readers,” citing “inaccuracies and omissions about life in the communist nation” as justification for pulling copies of the book from school libraries. Rather than shield children from opposing viewpoints, teachers should point out the propagandistic elements in the text to students— or perhaps present an alternative book which encompasses opposing viewpoints— instead of stamping out any opportunity for students to critically analyze life in Cuba.

Miami-Dade students— many of whose parents are Cuban expatriates or relatives of exiles— have access to a wide range of texts and have the freedom to openly express their opinions, unlike many of the Cuban children in “Vamos a Cuba.” Schoolteachers and critics of the book should explain to students that thanks to the rights granted under the First Amendment, every person in the United States can express his or her own views, emphasizing that not everyone throughout the world has such privileges.

One parent who was a political prisoner in Cuba and “complained about the books’ depiction of life under communist rule” should realize that his call for the removal of the book from the school libraries exemplifies the sort of authoritarian action from which he surely fled. It would better serve the Cuban emigre to attend one of his child’s classes and explain to his son or daughter’s classmates what political persecution entails. One would think that a person who was persecuted for his political affiliation and beliefs, and who sought refuge in the United States, would value the political freedoms, particularly the freedom of speech, which Americans readily exercise.

CHARLENE VAN DIJK

South Hadley, Mass.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide