- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 26, 2006

Downplaying Jewish suffering

John Leo described the failure of some U.S. newspapers and news services to acknowledge that Ilan Halimi, who was tortured and murdered by a Muslim gang in Paris, was targeted because he was Jewish (“Unreported violence in Europe,” Commentary, Saturday).

During the Holocaust, U.S. and British officials likewise sought to downplay the fact that Jews were being singled out by Adolf Hitler and persecuted because they were Jews. The Allies feared that too much emphasis on the plight of the Jews would increase the pressure to grant haven to Jewish refugees.

A meeting of the American, British and Soviet foreign ministers in Moscow in October 1943 issued a statement threatening postwar punishment for Nazi war crimes against conquered populations. It mentioned “French, Dutch, Belgian or Norwegian hostages … Cretan peasants … the people of Poland” — but not Europe’s Jews, even though they were the primary victims of the Nazis.

The Roosevelt administration’s Office of War Information instructed its staff to avoid mentioning that Jews were the main victims of Nazi atrocities. Coverage of the Nazi mass murders would be “confused and misleading if it appears to be simply affecting the Jewish people,” they were told. Even FDR’s 1944 message commemorating the first anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto revolt — a Jewish uprising against the Germans — did not mention the Jews. With good reason did Arthur Szyk, the world-famous artist, remark that Europe’s Jews were being “treat[ed] as a pornographical subject — you cannot discuss it in polite society.”

Obviously there are significant differences between what happened to Europe’s Jews during the Holocaust and the anti-Semitism in Europe today. But the tragedy is that there are similarities as well — including the desire by some to downplay Jewish victimization.

RAFAEL MEDOFF

Director

The David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies

Melrose Park, Pa.

Bush has it wrong on immigration

President Bush says he will not accept amnesty for illegal aliens, but he still wants a guest-worker program that rewards illegals with legal status (“Bush shifts emphasis to safe borders,” Page 1, yesterday). This sounds like liberal doublespeak from an administration that has by and large failed to enforce our immigration laws for more than five years, including cracking down on employers who have broken our immigration laws with impunity.

Mr. Bush says that he wants to find a legal way to match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do. He fails to add that Americans will not work for slave-labor wages and conditions.

The president’s guest-worker program is just another clever ploy to supply corporate America with an unending supply of cheap foreign labor. His administration has a consistent track record on pursuing cheap foreign labor policies that undercut the American worker (and legal immigrants). He advocates expanding H1-B visas to import more lower-paid foreigners to take hi-tech and engineering jobs from Americans while also encouraging the outsourcing of American companies and good-paying jobs of all types to other countries.

These economic policies allow all sorts of American jobs to be filled by cheaper foreign workers, which depresses wages and over time will destroy the American middle class and economy.

At its core, this cheap-labor globalism devalues citizenship, is anti? American and will bring down the once-patriotic Republican Party, as abandoned middle-class conservatives stop voting or vote for a third party. Unfortunately, this will help the Democrats who are also for open borders and globalism. Alas, hardworking, patriotic Americans are currently without representation, especially in the Senate.

LEWIS SPECTOR

Doylestown, Pa.

Chaplains and soldiers’ needs

Sailors and Marines, while deployed, deserve the same treatment with regards to their spiritual needs as every other American citizen — the right to be ministered to by, in their case, a chaplain. Those demanding that the armed forces rid themselves of these services to prevent a conflict between church and state are ill-informed at best.

Navy chaplains are taught to minister to everyone’s religious needs, whether they are Catholic, Evangelical or Jewish. While deployed at sea, larger ships usually have more than one chaplain serving the entire group. However, if only one chaplain is available, he or she is to serve everybody with a generic service to God.

Some chaplains complain of their right to First Amendment guarantees to speak as they see fit, but that not only goes against their charter, but it surely puts them and their personal agenda ahead of their congregants’ needs.

When I commanded a large amphibious ship loaded with Marines, we were fortunate to have three chaplains — one Catholic from the ship’s crew and two Protestant chaplains, one each from the embarked Marine and Navy amphibious staffs. They each provided services to all our sailors and Marines in the entire group each Sunday via the holy helo (helicopter).

These dedicated chaplains sought to minister to their worshipers and were not interested in emphasizing their First Amendment rights to free speech at the expense of these extraordinary men and women in uniform.

In fact, the nightly prayer over the ship’s announcing system at taps was shared rotationally by these three chaplains in a generic prayer to allow us all to be with our God for a few minutes of soul-searching before bed or the next watch.

This spiritual service has served us well throughout our history and I suggest individual chaplains learn that their place is to serve their diversified flock and that the Navy hierarchy quit mandating what is to be said from the pulpit.

Commanding officers have been chosen by senior Navy and Marine Corps leadership to lead, let them lead. I’m sure they can handle a recalcitrant chaplain who is not serving the needs of his shipmates. After all, the morale and welfare of the crew is the No. 1 priority of commanding officers.

RAY WIKSTROM

Captain, U.S. Navy (retired)

Jacksonville, Fla.

Canada’s dubious health-care solution

The Sunday Times published Dr. Alex Gerber’s second column criticizing the U.S.’s health-care system (“Health-care reform: Be patient,” Commentary, yesterday),whiletouting Canada’s (and coincidentally taking gratuitous potshots at the Bush administration).

Granted, the U.S. health-care system is in need of some repair. The Canadian system, though, is not the way to go.

In countries with socialized medicine(euphemistically called single-payer systems) access to medical care is characterized by long wait times. People in need of surgery and other necessary procedures are put on long, sometimes year-long, waiting lists. If they die before they get to the head of the list, all the better. That keeps costs down. Ultimately, Dr. Gerber should realize, there is no free lunch.

In touting the Canadian system, Dr. Gerber cites Canada’s lower infant and maternal mortality rates compared to the those in the U.S. Those figures are meaningless. He does not say whether the infant mortality figures include attempts to deliver very low-weight babies in the U.S. He also does not say whether his figures are factored for the U.S.’s multiethnic character, and especially its very large recently arrived illegal-alien population. Their health characteristics would mirror those in their home countries, not of established U.S. citizens. Hence, it would not be surprising to find the immigrant population having a high infant and maternal mortality rate, and thereby driving up the overall U.S. rate.

The current U.S. health-care system, primarily of employer-funded health insurance, is a holdover from the government’s imposition of wage and price controls in World War II. A better solution would be to get the employer out of the health-care business. That would allow people to make their own health-care decisions, which is what they do for auto insurance, hazard insurance, life insurance and so forth. Dr. Gerber thinks the government is the answer to the health-care problem. In many ways, it is the problem.

JACK RUTNER

Silver Spring

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