- The Washington Times - Monday, March 13, 2006

U.N. disappoints in Darfur

Yesterday’s Op-Ed column by Nat Hentoff, “Sudan’s war criminals,” offers a concise explanation of the Darfur problem and why it is a problem for the “rest of the world” to resolve. Mr. Hentoff’s rebuke of U.N. inaction goes to the heart of the most critical issue faced by the United Nations, that of relevance.

The United Nations clearly failed to respond to the Rwandan tragedy, and even if just a few could have been saved by U.N. action, it would have mattered greatly for those who could have been saved. Are the people of Darfur “unworthy” of being saved from genocidal slaughter? Mr. Hentoff’s question resounds throughout the world when he asks, “If the United Nations cannot end this horrifying mass suffering, what is its reason for being?” The world wants to know.

NEIL ARNOLD

Fort Belvoir

Bonds and baseball outrage

In consideration of the fact that he has declined to deny the claims lodged against him in a new book, it would appear that a prima facie case has been made that baseball star Barry Bonds used performance-enhancing drugs for years, i.e., that he achieved athletic prowess through cheating (“Book puts Bonds on steroids in ‘98,” Sports, Wednesday).

Mr. Bonds remains an active Major League Baseball player, and at this point, he would encounter no apparent barrier to being admitted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

When one examines the case of beloved former Cincinnati Reds slugger and “hustler” Pete Rose, comparing him to Mr. Bonds and other supposed villains of the game, it is clear that the sport’s outrage is highly selective. Mr. Rose remains barred from baseball and from admittance to the Hall of Fame based on admissions that he wagered on baseball while he was active in the sport. He did not cheat, did not expectorate in the face of an umpire, did not jump into the stands to engage in a brawl or engage in any other type of assault. With the exception of the gambling claims, Mr. Rose has been a model citizen and one who has brought honor to his team and himself.

How is it that the priorities of Major League Baseball have become so out of whack that someone said to have committed relatively minor infractions is shunned for life while those who truly have tarnished the sport and themselves may return to enjoy the roar of the crowd?

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper St. Clair, Pa.

Beware the political fallout

The Democrats could win big in 2006 if they link the ports debacle with other national security dangers resulting from our unlimited free-trade policies (“Political edge in ports fallout,” Page 1, Sunday). National security doves such as Sen. Charles Schumer were quite effective in masquerading as hawks and generating public outrage because they were dead right on the security issue. The intensity of the public outrage shows that many Americans disagree vehemently with President Bush’s free-trade policies, which benefit corporate elites and dictatorships at the expense of our national security.

The ports controversy also has exacerbated a growing split in the Republican Party between America-first conservatives and the libertarian Wall Street wing (which believes that unlimited free trade and open borders are good for America). Many patriotic conservatives could stay home in 2006.

Unless Republican lawmakers break with the president on many of his free-trade policies, they will lose their majority in 2006 as shrewd and opportunistic Democratic politicians outflank them, at least with their rhetoric, on patriotism and national security. Both House and Senate Republicans need to back Rep. Duncan Hunter’s legislation to permit only American companies to own and operate our critical infrastructure. This bill would force the Democrats to put their votes where their mouths are. To be consistent, this bill should include gradually ending all current foreign ownership, especially by the Chinese-owned company Cosco (China Ocean Shipping Co.) in Long Beach, Calif., sneaked in by executive order under former President Bill Clinton.

In addition, congressional Republicans need to review our ongoing detrimental trade policies with China, which also compromise our sovereignty and national security. Decades of free-trade giveaways under both Republican and Democratic administrations have enabled this communist nation to expand and modernize its ominous military, which includes nuclear weapons, without relinquishing its repressive iron grip on its people.

MICHAEL MARK

Warrington, Pa.

Writing on the “Losses in the PR wars” (Commentary, Sunday) Dan K. Thomasson makes one error and misses one important point.

His error is that he says the administration suffered “a major defeat on outside control of U.S. ports.” Our ports are controlled by locally elected port authorities, and DP World, the Dubai-based port operator, just would have operated some terminals at those ports. To suggest otherwise lends credence to those opposed to the deal by repeating the story that foreign entities would control our ports.

The point Mr. Thomasson either misses or ignores is that the review of the proposed contract sale was an administrative effort conducted in accordance with law, and no government public relations effort should be undertaken to sell or defend the contract sale. Unfortunately, our liberal media joined forces once again with the likes of Sen. Charles Schumer, who is trying to divide the country on this issue for his personal political gain. Mr. Schumer was one of those who initiated the emotionally charged story, now obviously widespread and difficult to counter, that Arabs would “control our ports.”

MARVIN R. MURRAY

Alexandria

Scheuer on American foreign policy

In the lead editorial yesterday, “Israel’s election quandary,” the description of the situation in Israel as elections loom was right on. However, Michael Scheuer’s opinion piece (“How Bush helps jihadists,” Op-Ed, yesterday) was almost entirely wrongheaded. Few of his examples reflect American foreign policy; most have to do with U.S. law and with dumb chance. Hamas, for example, cannot, by law, be funded by the United States because Hamas is on America’s list of terrorist entities.

The unfortunate prison incidents and the cartoon dust-up cannot be described as American foreign policy. They were isolated incidents reflecting the poor or questionable judgment of a few individuals. The ports brouhaha died a democratic death imposed by the popular will of the American people. As for India, I cannot think what the president had in mind; perhaps he’ll tell us sometime.

Mr. Scheuer’s column also contains some not-so-subtle digs at Israel. For instance, he refers to decisions taken in “Washington and Tel Aviv,” not Washington and Israel’s capital, Jerusalem. He also sneers at America’s proclivity to support the only democratic country in the Middle East by concluding that “America will destroy any regime that threatens Israel.” What’s his preference?

In sum, The Times did an excellent job of explaining Israel before elections. I was especially struck by the understanding that although Israel may withdraw from many parts of the West Bank, the Israeli army will remain to prevent another Gaza and to defend the eastern approaches to the country. Israel will not simply crouch behind its security fence and hope for the best.

DAVID KROSS

Columbia, Md.


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