- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 8, 2006

Trading with Taiwan

As the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office begins working toward a proposed free-trade agreement with South Korea (“U.S., S. Korea working toward trade accord,” Business, Tuesday), another important trading partner remains ready and willing to negotiate with the U.S. toward the same goal.

That partner, Taiwan, did about $57 billion worth of business with the U.S. last year, making it America’s eighth-largest trading partner. Taiwan sits on a geographic and cultural crossroads that allows its businesses unique access to Asian markets, and with a per capita gross domestic product of $15,120, it possesses as attractive a consumer market as any found in Asia. A U.S.-Taiwan free-trade agreement stands to provide a boost to these already impressive numbers, benefiting American industry, especially in the machinery, automotiveandagriculture industries.

With its important role in the global economy as a hub for technological innovation and manufacturing, Taiwan is as ideal a candidate for an FTA as the U.S. will find. It is therefore in the United States’ best interests to seize the opportunity and take its economic relationship with Taiwan to the next level.

YEH-CHIN KUEI

Taipei Economic and Cultural

Representative Office

Washington

Behavioral history

Jordan Lorence’s article “Wedlock amendment no breach of federalism” (Commentary, Wednesday) makes a case based on the assertion that Utah was denied statehood until it “finally gave up its demand for legalized polygamy.”

Utah never demanded legalized polygamy. In fact, years before it finally was granted statehood, Utah had been willing to outlaw polygamy in its proposed state constitution.

The majority of Utahans were Mormons for whom, at that time, polygamy was seen solely as a religious practice within their church. Polygamy was never legal in Utah, and because Mormons viewed the practice as purely sectarian, they never applied for legal marriage licenses. In short, the Mormons were never polygamists in a legal sense.

Because of this, the Senate passed the 1887 Edmund Tucker Bill, which made a crime of “illegal cohabitation” — or having sexual relations with anyone other than your legally recognized husband or wife.

For the first and only time in U.S. history, adult men and women were arrested for consensual, non-prostituted sex. (The Edmund Tucker Bill was overturned 90 years later.)

Utah’s unparalleled 43-year struggle for statehood was the result of the federal government’s trying to divest the territory’s Mormon majority of their political power. Sex (polygamy) was used to win national support for the effort, and because sex sells, the Mormon Church in the end renounced polygamy (after the federal government seized its property).

Despite this, a century later, there are more polygamists in Utah than ever before.

If any lesson can be drawn from the fascinating but virtually forgotten chapter in U.S. history, it is that it is impossible for the federal government to control the private sex lives of consenting adults.

ROB LAUER

Astoria, N.Y.

U.S. is not the enemy

Thank you for publishing Douglas MacKinnon’s “Torture as defined by the media” (Op-Ed, Wednesday). It is refreshing to see that some news organizations are interested in the welfare of the country. Too often it seems that reporters are concerned more with sensational headlines than the safety of fellow U.S. citizens.

Between the rising media trends of disclosing classified national security programs and massive exaggeration of possible governmental missteps, it seems that they would have everyone forget that these actions have saved thousands of Americans from pain, suffering and even death.

What do I care if the CIA is transporting admitted terrorist leaders through other countries or keeping them in secret prisons if it saves U.S. lives? It is obvious that if they go through regular classified channels, the New York Times and others will stop at nothing to publish that.

Why should it bother me that the National Security Agency is listening to the conversations of individuals in the U.S. who are talking to known al Qaeda operatives overseas?

I would expect them to, do that; it is the most logical step in preventing more attacks on our soil. Why do we feel the need to leave Iraq before it is secure? Regardless of our opinions about why we went in, the fact is that we are there now, and if we leave, it becomes the largest al Qaeda breeding ground in the world.

Let us not forget who the enemy is. It is not the evil U.S. government trying to burn the Bill of Rights, as it seems recent reporting would have us believe. It is the terrorists and their co-conspirators who attacked our citizens and declared war on our way of life. I applaud your organization’s courage to stand up for what is right rather than follow along with the practice of trying to create scandals to get headlines.

KEVIN M. BRANNON

Alexandria

Boys and girls together

I may be in the minority among golf enthusiasts, but I would like to speak in support of my part-time Palm Desert neighbor at Bighorn Golf Club, golfer Michelle Wie, and comment on statements of Washington Times reader Pat Patterson, who claimed that for her comrades on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, Miss Wie “is nothing more than a chimera: big drive, long legs, no titles,” and does not deserve the sponsor exemptions she has enjoyed (“Bogey(wo)man,” Letters, Wednesday). Admittedly, the young Hawaiian does have a big drive and long legs and, thus far, no titles and missed qualifying for the Masters this year —by five strokes.

Just as Tiger Woods draws the biggest galleries, Miss Wie attracts thousands to watch her play and gives the LPGA Tour a needed spark that her “comrades” should well appreciate rather than disparage.

BILL SMITH

Palm Desert, Calif.

As an intermittent follower of various professional sports, I am curious about the fascination with some woman trying to “qualify” for a tournament that previously was all-male. Golf phenom Michelle Wie’s bid for the U.S. Open is but the latest of such high-visibility attempts by female professional golfers, tennis players and others. I wish them all well, but these news items never seem to mention the flip side of such campaigns.

If it is laudable and newsworthy to focus on female athletes trying to qualify for previously all-male tournaments, why aren’t men allowed to qualify for and play in previously all-female tournaments? Certainly it would be opportunistic for male professional wannabes, and it would elevate and sharpen the competition by doubling the qualification pool.

Finally, because male-only pursuits — from boys’ schools to men’s clubs — have been vilified and discouraged such that women are believed always to improve them when entitled to entry, wouldn’t women’s sports benefit as well from male participation?

There seems to be more at play here than just sports.

JIM BEERS

Centreville

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