- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 4, 2006

Keep troops in Iraq

I agree with everything Bruce Fein wrote in “A least-bad alternative?” (Commentary, Tuesday), except his basic premise. Unlike Mr. Fein, I believe troops — eventually NATO, the United Nations or an Arab force — should never be withdrawn from Iraq. I have the old-fashioned view that conflict must be managed if it cannot be resolved satisfactorily.

If we leave Iraq now, we will be a superpower in retreat — akin to some perceptions of Israel’s departure from Gaza. Moreover, retreat leaves world stability in peril.

The civil government in Iraq enjoys less popular allegiance than the mullahs. This means the country is likely to be ruled under sharia. When the fighting stops, the country could be divided into three parts. The Kurds could go to war with Turkey for Turkish Kurdistan; Iran could annex the Shi’ite south; the Sunnis, with the support of al Qaeda, among other Sunni groups, will keep Iraq an open wound. The turmoil could be abruptly stopped by a Shi’ite nuke from Iran.

Perhaps in the future, Iraq will evolve into some kind of “Islamofascism in one country” rather than a member of a supranational caliphate. Unlike Mr. Fein, I believe we can permanently “postpone the day of reckoning,” because miracles can happen — with careful planning.

ONA BUNCE

Bethesda

Violence on the border

The article “Violence on border at record high” (Page 1, Thursday) highlights the continuing lackadaisical attitude regarding immigration law by President Bush and Congress.

Marcy M. Forman, the director of the Office of Investigations for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, readily admits that her office doesn’t have the funding or staffing to respond to all calls from local enforcement regarding immigration violations.

There is a direct link between controlling illegal immigration and national security. A nation cannot have open borders and still solve their immigration crisis or win the war on terrorism.

Since the president has seen fit to deploy the 82nd Infantry to guard the Iraq-Syria border, then he should first be willing to guard our own borders with our military. It’s sickening to think that our federal government seems to have no regard for the fact that millions of veterans fought and died to keep our country free and safe from illegal invasion. Instead, its message is that these heroes died in vain.

BOB ALLAN

Rochester Hills, Mich.

Your article “Violence on border at record high” reports that according to Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, 139,000 criminal aliens were apprehended last year.

If Border Patrol estimates of one arrest for every five entrants are accurate, there were another 600,000 criminal aliens added annually to the illegal aliens roaming our streets.

The reports of criminal hostility between those crossing the Mexican border illegally and the local police amount to an insurgency. The fact the Bush administration has failed to secure our borders leads me to believe that this administration is clearly guilty of gross malfeasance.

How is it that we have stationed our troops around the globe to protect foreign borders while ignoring the deadly war along our border with Mexico? Is it necessary for another terrorist attack to happen before we take action? Believe me, the next attack will be much worse than September 11, 2001.

BYRON SLATER

Border Solution Task Force

San Diego

Debt-limit hike is tragically important

An upcoming vote in the Senate to increase the nation’s debt limit has been covered in the media, but only as a minor story. It should instead be featured prominently (“Bush’s ‘07 budget calls for $2.7 trillion spending,” Nation, Feb. 6). It is a highly significant landmark in the crumbling of our nation’s fiscal stability.

Through the efforts of a liberal-spending Congress that has been led by a big-government president who is a Democrat in Republican’s clothing, our staggering $8.2 trillion debt will stagger some more, as a $781 billion rise in the debt ceiling will be necessary in order to avoid a disastrous government default on its obligations.

The president tells us that the profligate spending is the result of a necessary war in Iraq and the effects of a recession. In citing these explanations, he attempts to take the American people for fools, something that has worked well for him in the past.

Anyone who expected the Bush administration to be a model of fiscal prudence and genuine conservatism, and who is honest in their assessment of him, must conclude that his presidency has been a bitter disappointment. He has turned off the path to surplus and steered into the ditch of massive deficits for at least years to come. Clearly, if the president had been a Democrat and had spent as he has, including putting forth a major new Medicare prescription entitlement, he would be denounced daily by Republicans as a tax-and-spend liberal who must be hounded out of office.

It is virtually certain that on a partisan vote, with Republicans voting “aye,” the debt ceiling will be increased yet again. This is an occasion that should be marked by shame and disgrace, as it signifies a nation that refuses to live within its means, the government continuing to be seen as the provider of first resort.

OREN M. SPIEGLER

Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

‘Bound away’ from Virginia

I find it amusing that our elected officials in Richmond are finding yet more ways to waste taxpayer money while they are supposed to be working for us. The latest example is the failed House measure to make “Shenandoah” the official state song (“State song still silent,” Metropolitan, Thursday). Oh, but there is the minor sticking point that the lyrics of the song talk about people leaving the state. No worry. Change a few words here and there, and no one will know the difference.

Perhaps it is better that our officials occupy their minds with such trivia, rather than to “help” the citizens of the state in their usual fashion. Our previous governor, a Democrat, orchestrated the largest tax increase in the history of the state, to cover a purported shortfall in state funding. It was only after the laws were passed and the cash was flowing that they discovered there was no shortage and that the state had a surplus.

Not to be outdone, our current governor, also a Democrat and a rising star in the party, wants an even larger tax increase. He is smart enough to say that this money is needed for transportation, so that his proposal will be more palatable to taxpayers who spend too much time sitting in gridlock.

Lest you think the Democrats are the only bad guys, let’s look at the loyal opposition. In Loudoun County, the Republican-dominated board of supervisors is considering a county budget that will raise property taxes about 20 percent for each homeowner. This follows a similar increase last year, in which I saw my monthly mortgage payment increase by more than $300 to cover these higher taxes.

Surprisingly, the majority of speakers at the budget meetings are advocating that the board adopt this bloated budget. By their own admission, most of these speakers represent county employees and other latter-day vampires who have developed quite a taste for taxpayer blood. I suspect that most citizens cannot attend these meetings because they are stuck in traffic or are working multiple jobs to be able to survive.

People who came to Virginia for the low taxes are wondering what happened. Is it any wonder that the middle class is leaving the state in droves? Almost weekly, we talk to friends who are moving because they are tired of the high taxes, the traffic and the politicians who deliver nothing but more taxes and more broken promises. We don’t know one person who plans to retire here. Nobody can afford it.

So maybe the state should adopt “Shenandoah” as the official state song and should keep the lyrics intact. Then those who are driving out of the state can take comfort in the refrain: “Away, I’m bound away …” as they search for a place where the politicians still remember that government is supposed to be the servant of the citizens, not the other way around.

CLARK KIDD

Potomac Falls

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