- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The U.S.-Indo pact

The case for United States civilian nuclear cooperation with India subject to permanent International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards is even stronger than Helle Dale deftly elaborates (“Trusting India,” Op-Ed, yesterday). Civilian nuclear power would make both countries less vulnerable to oil or gas blackmail from nations such as Iran; slash greenhouse gas emissions in the aftermath of the World Meteorological Organization’s report that they reached a historical peak in 2004; accelerate India’s market-opening initiatives in banking, pensions, insurance, retail and infrastructure; and, most important, consummate a strategic partnership in fighting terrorism and extremism, promoting democracy, human rights and Middle East peace, and preventing rogue nations from acquiring nuclear weapons. The strategic partnership will stagnate rather than flourish if Congress rebuffs President Bush’s long-headed initiative, akin to President Nixon’s opening to China.

RON SOMERS

President

U.S.-India Business Council

Washington

Don’t defend Hamas

Op-Ed columnist Michael Scheuer (“How Bush helps jihadists,” Monday) says President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, members of Congress and others “rejected dealing with the democratically elected Hamas government unless it abandons its pledge to defend Palestine against Israel, presumably a chief reason Palestinians voted for it.”

Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) is not “pledged to defend Palestine against Israel.” Rather, as its charter makes clear, it is pledged to destroy the Jewish state and establish an Islamic theocracy in all of what was the British Mandate of Palestine west of the Jordan River — Israel, the West Bank and Gaza Strip. For example, Hamas’ charter claims that “the land of Palestine has been an Islamic [trust] throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection. No one can renounce it or part of it …”

Further, Hamas is not even “defending” the West Bank and Gaza Strip against Israel. Palestinians rejected Israel’s offer of a state on virtually all the West Bank and Gaza Strip in exchange for peace in 2000 and 2001. That was fine with Hamas because, as its charter makes clear, “the so-called peaceful solutions and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” Again quoting the charter, “our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave…” and is part of “the Chain of Jihad” that goes back to “Holy War” in 1936 (an intifada before the establishment of Israel).

Mr. Scheuer manipulatively substitutes “abandon its pledge to defend Palestine against Israel” for the actual requirement facing a Hamas-led government for U.S. and international aid: a permanent end to terrorist attacks, recognition of Israel’s legitimacy and acceptance of previously negotiated Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

A better headline might have been “How Scheuer helps jihadists.”

ERIC ROZENMAN

Washington director

Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America

Washington

Michael Scheuer’s Op-Ed column yesterday, “How Bush helps jihadists,” materially misrepresents the Bush administration’s position on Hamas as well as misrepresenting Hamas’ political platform, both as it regards Israel and, ironically, as it regards al Qaeda. It is wrong to state that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or any other government figure condemns Hamas for “protecting” Palestinians against Israel or even has called for Hamas to dissolve the Palestinian security services and give up the right for Palestinian armed defense. What the secretary of state has demanded is that Hamas give up the past campaign’s ambiguous semiembrace of suicide bombing targeted against a “Zionist entity” labeled as an illegitimate state — or face a cutoff of government-to-government funds.

This is neither a rejection of democracy nor a call to oppress Palestinians and starve their children. It is recognition that it is not a self-evidently good thing to give American funds to an organization that cannot wean itself from demanding the liquidation of a U.N. member-state that remains not only an American ally in the region, but a functioning power that will not calmly accept genocide if Hamas cannot move beyond a liquidationist stance.

We may note, however, that Hamas has unequivocally condemned al Qaeda and stated that al Qaeda in no way represents Hamas and that Hamas in no way invites or wishes to accept Osama bin Laden’s support, directly or indirectly.

PAUL R. FREEDMAN

Falls Church

Propaganda from the Left Coast

Clarence Page (“Oscar backlash?” Commentary, Sunday) applauds the making of “message movies” such as “Crash” and “Brokeback Mountain” by a Hollywood propaganda machine that sees America through its tinted limousine windows as a racist, sexist, homophobic society.

Judging by box-office receipts, America is sending its own kind of message. Last year’s receipts dropped 7.9 percent worldwide, 6 percent in the United States, over the year before. The best-picture winner, “Crash,” was 49th, and “Brokeback Mountain” was 26th in box-office gross. “Munich” was 64th, “Good Night, and Good Luck” was 89th and “Capote” 100th.

Where are the movies about the heroism and sacrifice of our soldiers in Iraq, who are killed supporting democracy in that country while building schools and reopening hospitals? Instead, we get “message” movies such as “Syriana,” which finished 91st, another Hollywood paranoid fantasy in which the message is that oil companies and the CIA are out to kill any moderate pro-democracy Arab who wants to help his people. Right.

George Clooney, who was chosen best supporting actor for his role in a movie about how oil companies murder people, says he is proud that Hollywood is “out of touch,” and it certainly is. The Oscar for best supporting actress went to Rachel Weisz of “Constant Gardener,” a movie about how drug companies murder people. The award for best song went to “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp.” I’m sure it is.

It is worth noting that “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” a film based on Christian writer C.S. Lewis’ books, grossed more than all five of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ best-picture nominees combined.

Gone are the days when the Hollywood elite knew the difference between good and bad, when movies such as “Wake Island” and “Back to Bataan” rallied the folks back home. I’m not asking for one-sided propaganda — Hollywood already is providing that — but where are the anti-terrorism movies, and would John Wayne ever tell Clint Eastwood, “I wish I knew how to quit ya, pilgrim”?

DANIEL JOHN SOBIESKI

Chicago

An ally in Pakistan

With regard to Arnaud de Borchgrave’s column “Pakistan the imponderable” (Commentary, March 9):

The claims in the article are not borne out by facts on the ground. Some of the facts related to Pakistan’s role in the war on terrorism highlighted by Mr. de Borchgrave himself belie these allegations.

The U.S. leadership has all along expressed its appreciation for Pakistan’s role in unequivocal and unambiguous terms. Most recently, President Bush did that during his historic trip to South Asia. Criticism of an ally like Pakistan without valid grounds cannot in any way be helpful in meeting the common challenge of terrorism.

M. AKRAM SHAHEEDI

Press minister

Embassy of Pakistan

Washington

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