- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A Roe question

Bruce Fein attacks Michael Steele for not accepting the dogma of the Roe v. Wade abortion decision in his piece “Abortion nimbleness” (Commentary, Tuesday). He dislikes the fact that Mr. Steele holds out hope that the democratic process may reverse Roe v. Wade’s flawed jurisprudence. A majority of law scholars, conservative and liberal alike, acknowledge the decision as a pathetic piece of legal work justifying judicial overreach.

Mr. Fein offers no defense of Roe yet tells us to bow in homage to the high court. He would never speak to the overreach of the courts concerning marriage or property rights because once the courts have spoken, no matter how arrogant, self-righteous or contemptuous of the democratic process, it is written in stone.

I wonder how a legal precedence that justifies infanticide is beyond reproach. Recall that the American Medical Association determined that there is no medical necessity for the performance of partial-birth abortion.

In this light, please explain to me why a pregnant mother who consumes illegal drugs is subject to prosecution for the harm she is causing her unborn child, but a doctor who partially delivers a baby of nine months’ term is protected by our highest court?

MICHAEL SIEWERTSEN

Huntingtown, Md.

No ‘intifada’

I would like to respond to your editorial, “A permanent intifada in France?” (Thursday).

Last year’s unrest in France can in no way be likened to an intifada, whose context is entirely different, and it had nothing to do with Islam either. Let me first inform you that, after the tragic bus torching in Marseille, in which a woman was gravely injured, prayers for her recovery are being recited in the synagogues and mosques ofthe city. The case is currently being investigated and four suspects have been placed in custody. The French Government is committed to providing a firm response to any criminal act.

Let me also add that Michel Thooris, who you are free to quote extensively, is the head of the Action Police union, an organization that has not managed to gather enough support among the policemen to have representatives elected to the Professional Consultative Council of the Police.

France is a tolerant country. According to a poll released by the Pew Institute last June, it boasts the highest number of people who hold a favorable opinion of Jews (86 percent compared with 77 percent in the United States) and the highest number among Western countries that hold a favorable opinion of Muslims (65 percent compared with 54 percent in the United States).

The main reason for last year’s riots was indeed the rioters’ feeling of being alienated both socially and economically. Equal opportunity has become a national priority, and both a law and a plan of action were adopted this year promoting concrete responses in education (tripling the number of scholarships available to students from troubled neighborhoods as well as the number of boarding school programs and apprenticeship programs), housing (to transform poor neighborhoods into more lively places), and job creation (establishing 15 new “opportunity zones” in which businesses that create jobs may operate tax-free for five years). A High Authority to Fight Discrimination, empowered to impose sanctions in cases of proven discrimination, was established.

The French Government is fully committed to addressing the long-term challenges of discrimination and unemployment some of these young people are facing.

JEAN-DAVID LEVITTE

Ambassador

Embassy of France

Washington

Pulpit politics

In “Politics from the pulpits” (Page 1, Monday), the Rev. Delman Coates of Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton blatantly campaigned for candidate Ben Cardin. He compared Republicans to those who persuaded the Jews to demand the freedom of Barabbas instead of Jesus. Just to make sure the congregation knew who the “good guys” were, he used the terms “Jesuscrats” and “Barrablicans.”

One attendee admitted that Mr. Coates’ sermon probably had steered some in the congregation away from voting for Republican Michael Steele. He said, “The pastor brought the point home for those of us who are on the fence.”

No matter the outcome of this election, for Maryland and everywhere else, one fact remains: When Democrats openly campaign in churches, even including exhortations from the pulpit on whom to vote for, that’s OK — but when a Catholic priest at Mass talks about voting for the pro-life candidate, or when a church distributes voter guides, liberals lecture about separation of church and state and talk of stripping the church of its tax-exempt status for daring to take part in politics.

What’s wrong with this picture?

MARY MIGALA

Hummelstown, Pa.

Judgment on Saddam

The headline “Saddam ordered to hang for 1982 massacre” (Page 1, Monday) demonstrates the negative propaganda emitted by the news agencies reporting on Iraq. The article asserts that “some fear [the conviction of Saddam] could push the country into all-out civil war.” This canard is without credible basis. Other than the U.S. military, there is no organization in Iraq capable of waging all-out war.

The groups committing violence in Iraq are terrorists or thugs. They have small arms, car bombs and roadside bombs of varying degrees of sophistication. They have no major weapons systems and no safe haven in which to recruit, equip and train major military units. They are deadly against innocent civilians, wage gang-style warfare against opposing groups and generally avoid direct confrontation with the U.S. military. They know that if they mass for all-out civil war, they will be annihilated.

KENNETH A. HAAPALA

Fairfax

Saddam Hussein may be the incarnation of evil, but he still deserves more than the kangaroo court provided by an invading nation, the United States. How providential that the verdict was perfectly in sync with today’s midterm elections here at home.

Yesterday’s editorial “Saddam’s fate” pointed out that the trial took place “in an Iraqi court, imperfect and assassination-plagued.” After the billions of tax dollars spent on Operation Iraqi Freedom and the sacrifices involved, Americans must not betray our ideals to a venue that appears out for revenge.

The entire war has been about “outsider expectations,” and the fate of Saddam should follow in kind. I see nothing to be gained by a lust for vengeance and retribution.

I never plan to “step outside the expectations game that now dominates Western discussion of Iraq.” I respect my European, Christian culture, heritage and history. Today is not the time to abandon the traditions we have taken centuries to achieve.

ROSALIND ELLIS

Baltimore

Save the sea turtles

The article “10,000 sea turtles authorized for kills” (Nation, Friday), describing the murder of many sea turtles with no consequence, points out the gross incompetence of Washington when it comes to protecting the environment.

The “gadget that allows the endangered creatures to escape from fishing nets” to which the writer refers is called a turtle extruder. Last time I looked, it cost about $75. The so-called poor fishermen around the world claim that they cannot afford them, which is hogwash. It is a conscious decision to exterminate some of the most incredible creatures on Earth.

The government has approved $300 billion for the war in Iraq; you would think it could buy turtle extruders for every nation’s fishermen. This is truly an environmental crime.

SUSAN TELLEM

Executive director

American Tortoise Rescue

Malibu, Calif.

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