- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 17, 2006

Interrogation and ‘connecting the dots’

Regarding the Friday article “Republicans defy Bush over detainees” (Page 1), it is a fact that this country has not been attacked since September 11, 2001. This could only have happened because of information extracted from incarcerated terrorists.

It appears that those Republicans who wish to weaken the CIA’s ability to rigorously interrogate terrorist detainees have adopted the Democratic mentality left over from the Clinton days that considered terrorist attacks a law-enforcement issue, not a war for our national survival. These senators are putting more emphasis on the treatment of our enemy, an enemy who has vowed to destroy us in the name of Allah, than on the security of our nation.

It is reported that concerns are that President Bush’s approach to detainees would give more power to the CIA, and would not pass muster with the Supreme Court or would offend some in the international community. Apparently the senators would prefer to give more power to the terrorists. Furthermore, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell’s statement that the administration’s policy would put our military personnel at greater risk can only be considered naive —thinking that if we treat terrorist detainees according to the most restrictive interpretation of the Geneva Conventions, the terrorists will behave likewise.

I agree with Mr. Bush that we should not use extreme physical torture. He has asked Congress to spell out what interrogation techniques are unacceptable. Instead, the Senate, by vague wording, is on the verge of restricting interrogators to methods milder than most college fraternity initiations, the interrogation resistance training given to our own military or the methods the Clinton Justice Department considered acceptable for use against American men, women and children at Waco. I’m sure Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda buddies are getting a good chuckle over this.

We are fighting an enemy who thinks they must, according to the Koran, “… fight and slay the pagans wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war),” (Sura 9:5).

While those who would do us harm are focused on that goal, we find ourselves hamstrung by lawyerly efforts to dissect the Geneva Conventions and concern that we don’t risk, in Mr. Powell’s words, the “moral basis of our fight against terrorism.”

If there is another September 11 because our illustrious senators succeed in passing a bill that weakens our ability to get information vital to stopping such an attack, how will they explain to the next September 11 commission why we didn’t “connect the dots?”

COL. GEORGE JATRAS

Air Force (Ret.)

Camp Hill, Pa.

Why teen drivers are dangerous

A message to all drivers: Once you start the engine of your vehicle, you are on the job (“Wisdom sometimes gained by accident,” Family Times, yesterday).

The job of driving a lethal weapon in uncertain road conditions demands total and unwavering attention be paid to driving. No radio or other distractions such as worries or plan-making to help the mind wander. And certainly no cell-phone use.

To many teenagers, driving is a lifestyle enabled by parents who are cowed by their own children and validated by legislation that allows children to drive before they are emotionally ready. I believe 16 is way too soon. Medical science says the “seat of judgment and self-control,” located in the pre-frontal cortex of the brain, is not fully developed until the child is past his teens.

EMILY BROBST

Springfield

Pope Benedict and Muslim hostility

I wish to commend Pope Benedict XVI for having the courage to express what modern man rarely has in practice the foresight to acknowledge, namely that “violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul” (“Muslim nations denounce pope over remarks,” Page 1, Saturday).

Contrary to the claims of many Islamic leaders, the pope’s comments were nothing more than a decisive and uncompromising renunciation of the present cycle of violence in the name of religion, as well as an invitation to dialogue between religions.

Terrorism is and always will be a show of inhuman ferocity that will never be able to solve conflicts among human beings. Only reason and love are the valid means of surpassing and resolving disputes between people. No situation of injustice, no feeling of frustration, no philosophy or religion can justify such an aberration.

When fundamental rights are violated, it is easy to fall prey to temptations of hatred and violence. Nonetheless, we must keep in check our base impulses and together work to build a global culture of solidarity that restores hope in the future to the young.

PAUL KOKOSKI

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

A careful analysis of Pope Benedict’s recent address in Germany should concern all faith groups and minorities in the West, as it echoes a period of intolerance that still haunts the memories of minority Christian groups, Jews, Muslim and others. The understanding of “Logos” in Pope Benedict’s address differs completely from that of the late John Paul II.

Pope John Paul’s understanding was that Christians, Jews and Muslims had the same God. He encouraged interfaith dialogue. This approach won the hearts of many and addressed positively the crises of faith among Christians. Many returned to the church because of this new, noble approach. Pope Benedict’s view in addressing this crisis of faith is totally opposite that of his predecessor. He has used provocative language, accusing the West of being an “irreligious” secular society incapable of dealing with matters of faith and reason. This view beckons to a church/state approach similar to that demanded by Muslim extremists.

With a new approach, the pope may win the hearts of a few that are being polarized by current world events. But he should reflect the sprit of Jesus and truly promote tolerance and kindness — even to one’s enemy.

NASEER DEAN

New Malden, Surrey, England

The article quoting Muslim leaders blasting Pope Benedict XVI’s remarks on Islam show how hostile Muslim attitudes are toward all other religions.

Arab newspapers commonly publish bitter, scurrilous lies about Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and all others they term “infidels,” and praise Iran’s Hezbollah for starting a war using rockets against Israeli civilians. Of course, the pope is correct, since the fact is the existence of more than 1 billion Muslims today is due mostly to spreading the Muslim faith by the sword. Before A.D. 625 there were Jewish and Christian towns in Arabia. Now there are none at all and no churches permitted for visitors. Those Arabian Christians and Jews were slaughtered, or “converted” by a sword pointed at the throat.

The same happened in all of North Africa, the Balkans, India and the Middle East, and today the Muslim Sudanese government is openly slaughtering black pagans and Christians in a planned genocide. In Britain and even in America, some Muslim “educational” institutions deliberately indoctrinate Muslim children with the notion that they owe loyalty only to an imam’s narrow Wahhabi version of Islam. This is “religious” preparation for jihad against Western democracies by future home-grown terrorists.

HOWARD D. GREYBER

San Jose, Calif.

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