- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2006

Time for ‘fruitful dialogue’

The article by Andrew Borowiec headlined “Turkish land offer rejected by Greeks? (World, Monday), repeats a common mistake on the Cyprus issue by describing the legitimate Turkish intervention of July 1974 as an “invasion,” but it nevertheless exposes the Greek Cypriot behavior of automatically rejecting every offer made by the Turkish Cypriot side aimed at reconciliation and an eventual solution, regardless of how genuine and well-intentioned the offer may be. It is indeed ironic that when presented with the domestic remedy for compensating for their loss of property, as suggested by the European Court of Human Rights in its ruling on Dec. 22, 2005 (in the case of Xenides Arestis v. Turkey), the Greek Cypriot side has chosen to display yet another rejectionist attitude on the pretext that it might imply “legal recognition” of Northern Cyprus.

It will be recalled that the property issue, together with a host of other issues surrounding the complex Cyprus question, such as the displaced persons of both sides (the Turkish Cypriots having nearly 100,000 displaced persons since the onset of the conflict in 1963), was dealt with in the U.N. settlement plan (the Annan Plan) that was rejected by the Greek Cypriot side in the referenda of April 2004. The recent negative attitude displayed by the Greek Cypriot side with regard to the decision of the Turkish Cypriot Property Commission is yet another indication that obsessive preoccupation with recognition and lack of political will continue to dominate the other side’s agenda.

At a time when efforts are being made to rejuvenate the dialogue and the two leaders are scheduled to meet face-to-face soon for the first time in two years, it is our hope that a more constructive approach is adopted by the other side, facilitating a fruitful dialogue.

OSMAN ERTUG

Representative

Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus

Washington

Thanking Sgt. Caldwell

The accolade for Staff Sgt. Michael Caldwell in the “Nobles and knaves” editorial on Saturday was fitting and reminds us yet again to ask: “Where do we find such men?”

The editorial contained, however, an attempt at a quote that, although appropriate, was not attributed and was inaccurately delivered. George Orwell said, “We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence upon those who would do us harm.” Far too few of our citizens pause to remember this, even during this period, when we are highly susceptible to such harm.

It also would be good for us to remember what Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Thank you, Sgt. Caldwell. Get well soon.

DR. MARK A.H. SMITH JR.

Linden, Va.

NYTgot it wrong

Being a government watchdog and being a spy are two different things. The New York Times (“The right not to know,” Editorial, Saturday) says it has an obligation to the public to watch government officials and hold them accountable for their actions. I respect that. Investigative journalism can bring down a president, as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein of The Washington Post proved during Watergate.

However, this is not Watergate. There are critical differences between the two. The Nixon administration spied on Democrats; the Bush administration spies on terrorists. When confronted with the Watergate report, Mr. Nixon lied to the American people. For months, he claimed that neither he nor anyone else in the White House had had anything to do with Watergate. When confronted with the New York Times’ report on bank surveillance, President Bush confirmed the program and defended his decision. Beyond that, the executive branch did not illegally overstep its power. The September 11 panel recommended such programs.

The New York Times stated that the terrorists already knew about the program. Some terrorists may have had an idea — fair enough — but did every terrorist in every terrorist organization know about the program? The idea that every terrorist was avoiding bank transactions because they all knew the White House was monitoring bank records is ridiculous. Even after the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times, plus every broadcast and print media company in the world, covered Mr. Bush’s reaction, some terrorists probably still don’t know about it.

The New York Times can say the program is ineffective, but on what grounds? It surely doesn’t know how many terror attacks this program has prevented.

The New York Times says it feels a strong obligation to the public, and it should. However, is the public any better off? It’s public that the administration was tracking the bank records of terrorists. It appears the administration is doing something right. However, the United States government has one less tool in fighting the war on terror. The public is better off? Why?

MARTIN SAAVEDRA

Kensington

Minimum wage facts

The minimum wage constitutes government coercion against both employers and employees (“Senate rejects minimum-wage amendment,” Nation, June 22). By mandating a certain level of wages, the government violates the rights of both employers and employees to reach a voluntary agreement based on their independent judgments of what is in their best interests.

Those who provide jobs have a right to set the wages they are willing to pay. And those who are willing and eager to work for relatively low wages — either because they are unskilled or inexperienced or because they would rather have a low-paying job than no job — have a right to do so.

In a capitalist system, the price of labor (i.e., wages) is determined in the same way as all other prices and as it should be: by the individual judgments and voluntary decisions of buyers and sellers.

DAVID HOLCBERG

Media research specialist

Ayn Rand Institute

Irvine, Calif.

There is so much rhetoric flying around regarding the minimum wage — mostly from Democrats and leftists, but also from uninformed people — that it is hard to know where to start. I guess those who tout it as a means to a living wage should be addressed first, because that is usually their first argument.

The minimum wage does not assure that any person will have or keep a job. It just assures that those who are able to remain employed will have wages of a certain amount per hour.

It is hardly a living wage to those individuals whose jobs are lost because the minimum wage was adjusted upward. If the minimum wage is raised, rest assured that many businesses will lay off enough people to maintain the same level of profit and reinvestment.

Generally, a business pays its workers what the market will bear, not what is considered fair by some impartial and well-meaning socialist bureaucrat.

If one looks at places such as McDonald’s and Burger King, they are paying their lowest-paid employees much more than the current federal minimum wage because that is what the market will bear and what the companies can afford.

Then there is the consideration of differing wage areas. Just as the federal government recognized many years ago that a $30,000 annual salary buys you more in Montana than in Washington, D.C., and so changed its wage structure, so do businesses.

That makes the institution of a federal minimum wage a bit tough to regulate and administer fairly. If a state wants to set a minimum wage, let it, as that is its right, not the federal government’s.Theminimum wage was never a good idea, no matter how well meant.

NORMAN HENDRICKSON

Bowie


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