Romantic dreamers and political reality
Arnaud de Borchgrave’s splendid column “EU at 50: Listless?” (Commentary, yesterday) is a reminder that romantic dreamers simply don’t understand politics. Throughout Western history, from Rome to Hitler, political leaders have attempted to impose their imperial sway on all of Europe, including Britain.
All have failed because the European peoples and cultures are too diverse and too proud to accept any overarching sovereignty, including one imposed by parliamentary means. And what, pray tell, is wrong with cultural diversity and national sovereignty? The goal should be responsible political diversity in which one state does not seek to impose its rule on other states.
Of course, there are many things short of political unity that can contribute to political stability and economic health, including the widely accepted euro and fair trade and currency practices.
ERNEST W. LEFEVER
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Environmentalists have it wrong
Walter Williams’ column “Global warming heresy” (Commentary, Saturday) was, as always, a good piece. However, I think Mr. Williams is a little late coming to the party in giving the British documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle” rave reviews. He correctly pegs “Swindle” as “a documentary that devastates most of the claims made by the environmentalist movement,” but where has he been for the three weeks it has been all over e-mail chains as well as the Internet?
Further, Mr. Williams doesn’t plow any new ground in discrediting the global-warming claims of the so-called environmentalist movement, but in his last paragraph, he does hit on what I think is the dirty little secret and the key point about this “movement” that the “Swindle” documentary makes, which is: “There are literally billions of taxpayer dollars being handed out to global warming alarmists.” Not that there aren’t a lot of “true believers” in the global-warming movement, but I would suggest that the vast majority of them, especially leaders like Al Gore, are really in it for the money.
Suzanne Fields highlighted many of these “consequences” in her column “The inconvenient truth” (Op-Ed, Feb. 22). Among a number of examples, she specifically pointed out, “In his new book, ‘Eco-Freaks,’ John Berlau … catalogs the tragic mistakes imposed on the rest of us by the environmentally correct. After Rachel Carson published ‘Silent Spring,’ DDT was banned nearly everywhere. Most of her ‘evidence’ later turned out to be all wrong, but 2 million poor Africans die every year of malaria that DDT was on the way to eradicating. Al Gore, of course, blames global warming.”
“The Great Global Warming Swindle” brings us up to date by vividly showing us more examples of these very real consequences. In particular, it highlights that, as a direct result of the global-warming movement and unlike almost all of the “environmentalists,” millions of Africans are forced to live without electricity (along with everything else that electricity would bring with it) every day of their lives because the environmentalists have opposed the construction of power plants.
We see mothers with very young children forced to cook over open fires on the floor, not in a fireplace, and all of them must live their shortened lives with the smoke that accompanies all of these daily fires.
In my opinion, these examples are the real “devastation” of the environmentalist movement.
COL. BLAKE J. ROBERTSON
Marine Corps (retired)
Needed:a new vision of primary care
Dr. Robert Zarr is right to support a universal health-care system (“Playing catch up on health care,” Letters, March 23). However, it is of concern that in those countries where universal care is found, primary-care doctors are the foundation upon which the system rests. In the United States, by contrast, fewer doctors are choosing primary care, as recently pointed out by the American Medical Association.
Because a serious shortage of primary-care physicians already exists, nurse practitioners with physician supervision are providing primary care in so-called retail clinics that are cropping up in chain drug stores and malls. A better, long-term answer to the challenge of increasing the number of primary-care doctors, and one that could have been phased in 20 years ago, would be to shorten their training time. Right now, college, medical school and residency for primary care take up 11 years. However, the training period probably could be shortened by three to four years without diminishing quality. Most specialties are driven by research but primary care less so.
Clearly, a new vision of primary care is needed. The old vision of the primary-care doctor as a superdoc who takes care of patients in the intensive care unit, on medical wards and in nursing homes; delivers babies; and sees office patients has accomplished little more than bring on premature physician burnout and dissatisfaction. It even has increased doctors’ exposure to malpractice litigation.
The lack of primary-care physicians will be felt even more acutely as the 40 million or so people without health insurance suddenly become covered under universal care. Primary care is at the tipping point. Which way it tips will greatly determine the success of universal health care.
DR. EDWARD J. VOLPINTESTA
Thank you not only for standing up for horses, but also for exposing the outrageous behavior at the Department of Agriculture (“The horse is saved,” Editorial, Friday). I hope you will continue to be a champion for animals and for government working for us, not corporations.
Pelosi is right
The White House complains about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Syria, and yet it is because of this administration’s lack of leadership that Mrs. Pelosi’s principled visit takes place, and I thank her for her effort (“Pelosi heading to Syria despite Bush objections,” Nation, Saturday).
Nearly six months ago, the Iraq Study Group (ISG) recommended talks with Syria and Iran — with all of Iraq’s neighbors, in fact — to find some way to stabilize the Middle East. With tensions growing with Iran, I applaud Mrs. Pelosi’s effort, especially because Gen. David Petraeus notes there is no military-only solution to the ongoing conflict in Iraq.
My two sons have served on the ground in Iraq and have been sent to the Middle East in five wartime deployments. They do not want to see their efforts come to naught and think this administration should do whatever is necessary to bring stability to the country in which they received injuries and lost brothers in arms.
Rather than complaining about Mrs. Pelosi’s efforts in their typical politicized reaction, the White House, like my sons and myself, should be very grateful to her for her vision and desire to bring stability to the region by following the ISG recommendations.