- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 20, 2006

Price controls and gas shortages

I was pleased to see the article “Gas price controls sparked ‘70s shortages” (Page 1, Monday), as it confirmed what I long believed. I lived in Germany from 1975 to 1979, and though gasoline was somewhat more pricey, we filled up without long (or any) lines and smoked on down the autobahn at 120 mph without concern, except to wonder what the problem was back home.

When I returned to the United States, I couldn’t believe the slow progress on the roads, the hordes of cops microwaving drivers and odd/even gasoline buying with long lines of outraged drivers. My one disagreement with the article was that it wasn’t just the inane actions of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter that caused inflation, but also Lyndon Johnson’s act of playing soldier in Vietnam without having the money to pay for it that caused the inflationary spiral of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Thank God Ronald Reagan was elected and did away with price controls. Within months, we were awash in gasoline, and prices were dropping. It’s too bad Thomas Sowell can’t lecture Congress, which, instead of doing something constructive, spends its time trying to put blame on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

JAMES R. CAMPBELL

Arlington

Flawed immigration plans

Proponents of “guest worker” legislation point out that this immigration legislation is not “amnesty,” as illegal aliens residing in the United States will be penalized, for example, by having to pay a fine, etc., and will be required to learn English before gaining legal status as U.S. citizens (“Senate kills amendment to seal border first,” Page 1, Wednesday).

This is a paradox, as there is a requirement that ballots in federal and state elections must have instructions written in Spanish as well as in English. Hopefully this will be settled by Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, and his legislation making English the official language of the United States.

WILLIAM H. SMITH

Palm Desert, Calif.

It’s a sad day for America when more than one-third of the U.S. Senate does not agree that English is the official language of this country. Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, even called this amendment “racist” and further stated that the bill was “directed basically to people who speak Spanish” (“Reid calls language proposal racist,” Nation, Friday). In fact, the bill’s sponsor, Sen. James Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican, is bilingual, speaking Spanish as a second language.

However, this is only one of the many faults in the Senate’s “comprehensive” immigration bill. In another action, the Senate refused to pass an amendment that would have denied illegal aliens Social Security benefits contributed to accounts based on Social Security numbers stolen from legitimate account holders. In many instances, the use of stolen identity by illegal aliens has resulted in cases in which the legitimate holders have lost their credit standing and even legitimate claims for unemployment compensation.

Despite these facts, senators still refused to pass this amendment.

Mr. Reid attempted to block any amendments to the underlying bill until Majority Leader Bill Frist stopped the debate. When the amendments finally were heard in Senate, the flaws in this bill were exposed. In one case, the bill would have allowed more than 200 million new immigrants in the next 20 years.

Theshortcomings in this bill are so numerous that it is impossible to list them here. However, the most egregious item is that the bill is described as a “temporary guest worker program,” which simply is untrue, as the “guest workers” would be given permanent resident status immediately and would be eligible to file for citizenship within five years.

There is no doubt that if it is enacted, the Senate version would drive our total population to the U.S. Census Bureau’s high-side estimate of 500 million people by 2050 and more than a billion by 2100.

BYRON SLATER

San Diego

Turkey’s historical record

Turkey’s response to PKK terrorism emanating from Northern Iraq and its reaction to the politicization in Europe of an otherwise historical debate are two separate matters that were muddled together in the article “Ankara defies pressure to admit Armenian massacre” (World, Tuesday).

Separatist guerrilla attacks targeting Turkey are on the rise, and PKK militants continue to operate out of Northern Iraq. This, unfortunately, is not new. Faced with such a threat, Turkey has every right to enhance security on its borders and take measures it deems appropriate to protect itself from terrorists.

The history with regard to the tragedies that befell both Armenians and Turks during the collapse of the Ottoman Empire is far from settled. Meanwhile, European politicians — not historians — are tampering once again with this sensitive issue for political ends. Turkey has every right to respond to the severe claims regarding its own history by politicians who are not parties to the debate.

At the same time, Turkey is not dismissive of the Armenian claims. Last year, our prime minister proposed that Turkey and Armenia establish a joint historical commission to research, study and seek consensus on this matter, hardly a rejectionist approach. We still await a positive response to this landmark proposal.

On these and other regional issues, Turkey is pursuing solutions that will advance the cause of peace, security and prosperity. We hope others will do the same.

NABI SENSOY

Ambassador

Turkish Embassy

Washington

Detrimental anti-Russian sentiment

Arnaud de Borchgrave’s Commentary column “Target Russia?” (Wednesday) was right on target. Anti-Russian animus by Vice President Dick Cheney cannot be justified by American national interests. In the aftermath of the Cold War and the end of communism, Russia hoped for — and had every reason to expect — a return to the family of Western (i.e., Christian and European) nations. Instead, in many respects, it has been treated with greater contempt than anything directed against the regimes of Vladimir Lenin, Josef Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev.

It should be noted that communism is not a Russian concept. It is an ideology that originated in Germany and was injected by the Germans into Russia in the form of the sealed train carrying Lenin and other top Bolsheviks and then financed by the Western powers of the day. The Russian people were the first and most brutalized victims of communism.

To our own detriment, and I believe Mr. de Borchgrave proves my point, there are those whose hatred of the Russian people is so great that they would even take us back to a Cold War. This would be a tragedy, not just for America and for Russia, but for the world.

STELLA L. JATRAS

Camp Hill, Pa

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