- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 9, 2006

France doesn’t see it

Wednesday’s letter from the French ambassador to the United States, Jean-David Levitte, minimizes the threat to the democratic institutions in his nation from an ever-more radicalized Muslim minority (“No ‘intifada’ ”). Unfortunately, the rise of fundamentalist radical Islam is not confined to France but is endemic to most of the major European nations that have substantial Muslim populations.

The common threads are intolerance for other religions and a deep-rooted anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias. Does the ambassador believe the riots that have occurred in Muslim neighborhoods are based solely on lack of opportunities and jobs for the youths in those areas?

Instead, the violence, which has been well documented by other sources and frequently ignored by the French government, is the product of an ever-increasing militant Muslim population that with its current birthrate probably will achieve a majority in that nation by 2060.

Too many European nations have failed to see the real thrust of their increasing Muslim population, namely dominance of that continent and destruction of the democratic way of life, to be replaced by a theocracy dedicated to intolerance.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

On the record

I appreciate very much the space devoted in Monday’s Embassy Row column to developments in Sri Lanka based on my address to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute on Oct. 31 (“Talking to terrorists”).

However, I note with some concern that the first paragraph injects a negative context to the speech, which was not intended to accuse any particular country. Moreover, at no stage did I characterize the pressure brought on the Government of Sri Lanka by foreign countries as “hypocrisy.”

The main purpose of the speech was to address the usage of terminologies such as “Tamil homeland,” “self-determination” and “Tamil aspirations and grievances,” which are being used without much understanding of the historical and contextual details. The speech, as the column points out, did also seek to bring out the irony of Sri Lanka having to negotiate with a group of terrorists, whose track record is well known.

My plea was that while the international community is pressing Sri Lanka to negotiate with a group of terrorists, they have failed to appreciate the agenda of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) based on their past track record and the declared policy of seeking a separate state in the North and the East of Sri Lanka by resorting to terrorism.

That was why, while referring to the position taken by the international community, I said that their plea to negotiate with the LTTE “can be best described as seemingly contradictory, but conditioned by circumstances.”

I can assure you that the government of Sri Lanka is fully satisfied with the current level of U.S. engagement with Sri Lanka in helping the country deal with the challenges posed by terrorism and is moving toward a negotiated political settlement, which could satisfy all communities. The banning of the LTTE as a terrorist organization in 1997, the recent arrest of 18 LTTE agents in the United States — who attempted to purchase military hardware including surface-to-air missiles, bribe State Department officials and engage in money-laundering activities — are ample evidence of the unequivocal position the United States has taken on the LTTE and terrorism faced by Sri Lanka.

BERNARD GOONETILLEKE

Ambassador

Embassy of Sri Lanka

Washington

Applause for Gaithersburg

Kudos to the Gaithersburg City Council for voting down the establishment of a day-laborer center there (“Labors cease in Gaithersburg,” Editorial, Wednesday). I was appalled by the former plans to authorize the center to serve mostly illegal aliens.

I do not approve of using Montgomery County taxpayers’ money to subsidize illegal aliens and/or the establishment of a day-laborer center for them. I am against illegal immigration, and providing jobs only encourages the practice more. Sanctions should be initiated and enforced against establishments that use illegal workers.

I say definitely “no” to any proposed center for day laborers to gather in Montgomery County. This is just the wrong thing to do. Illegal aliens in this county are a burden and drain on law enforcement, housing, transportation, traffic and the economy. Let’s hope the Montgomery County Council takes a hint from this and passes similar laws countywide.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

Don’t blame Rumsfeld

I didn’t have a serious problem with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. I think most people understand, or at least sense, that he took the fall for the president’s poor conceptualization of how to defend our country (“Rumsfeld resigns under pressure,” Page 1, yesterday).

Mr. Rumsfeld’s job was not to set the course of our military policy. His job was to enable the military to function competently. Under his leadership, our military accomplished one of the greatest victories in its history: the invasion of Iraq and the toppling of Saddam Hussein. It’s not Mr. Rumsfeld’s fault that it was the wrong mission, and it’s not his fault that the commander in chief had no clue, and still has no clue, about what to do next.

The events of September 11 were gigantic in American history. Many assumed that because it was such an important event, the president who was in office was up to the job. He wasn’t, of course — nor were any of his competitors for office up to the job, either. Mystical romanticism would teach us that great times produce great leaders, but our experience with President Bush taught us that no such thing is true.

During the American Revolution, we had George Washington. During the Civil War, we had Abraham Lincoln. During World War II, we had Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and, much better, Harry S. Truman. After September 11, we were unfortunate enough to be stuck with Mr. Bush.

None of this was Mr. Rumsfeld’s fault, and I hope history won’t record it as if it were.

MICHAEL J. HURD

Bethany Beach, Del.

Outraged

I was disgusted to read the Page One article “Politics from the pulpits” (Monday). The article reported on the Rev. Delman L. Coates’ sermon at the Mount Ennon Baptist Church in Clinton.

The Democratic then-nominee for the Senate, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin was sitting in the front pew. Mr. Coates used the sanctity of the pulpit to make disparaging remarks about those who supported Lt. Gov. Michael Steele for the Senate.

He went on to associate supporters of Mr. Steele to the likes of unsympathetic black people from history such as the black man who shot Malcolm X or the slave who alerted the master to Nat Turner’s rebellion. He then went on to label black supporters of Mr. Steele “Barabblicans” and supporters of Mr. Cardin “Jesuscrats.”

Why is Mr. Coates permitted to endorse Democratic candidates from the pulpit without his church loosing its tax-exempt status? It is against the law for the church to sponsor a candidate, and the IRS should investigate this incident.

Second, how is it that Mr. Coates can desecrate, demean, dishonor and insult God by using the name Jesuscrats to denote supporters of the Democratic representative? It is outrageous. Those in the congregation who stood and applauded his sermon also need counseling.

ZOLTAN KOROSSY

Kensington


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