- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pre-emption is essential

According to Louis Rene Beres in “Deterrence and modern aggressors,” (Op-Ed, Friday) “preventing any form of classical military defeat will no longer assure safety from aggression or terrorism.” But we have options.

In the era of asymmetric warfare, pre-emption/prevention is the right doctrine to defend ourselves. Perception is still a critical factor in asymmetric warfare: It is still relevant to threaten to inflict unacceptable damage on our enemies, but the mechanism for doing that has grown from set-piece battle to defenses against terror attacks on populations and hard targets.

Terrorist adversaries still have to worry about their homeland “vulnerability.” While the ultimate homeland of a new caliphate is still a metaphysical and perceptual goal, Islamofascists still covet the physical territories of Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, Israel, etc. Therefore, we need to build on our multipronged offensive: the military is still relevant, but we need to add supranational bodies of special anti-terrorism forces.

Financial warfare may prove effective, as tentatively demonstrated in North Korea. The war is being fought in more than just the Pentagon. So our “supply lines” comprise financial, ideological and military campaigns, including alternative educational systems to madrassas, targeting poverty and waging the propaganda war to win “hearts and minds.” This “warfare” attacks their recruitment ability with pre-emptive counter-recruitment including these positive economic means of attacking poverty and providing economic incentives.

We are simply redefining the scope of warfare: it may last forever and encompass the globe. We just have to learn to live with a perpetual, simmering-to-periodic-flaring conflict, not totally unlike the Cold War. But terrorists have proven that our homeland can no longer be negotiated into relative safety.



Foot-in-mouth broadcasting

It seems that every now and then, some well-known broadcaster tests the legal limits of what can or cannot be said on the air according to the Federal Communications Commission (“Imus flap likely to open debate,” Page 1, Friday).

Many broadcast stations operate under no guidelines or regulations.

Don Imus exercised poor sportsman-like conduct in his demeaning statements about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.

It’s still not clear to me whether Mr. Imus’ “deplorable, despicable, abominable” remarks were simply part of his rooting for the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team.

For goodness sake, I’ve heard worse in rap and hip-hop music, comedy and spoken-word poetry slams. Perhaps the Rev. Al Sharpton was correct by suggesting that Mr. Imus be fired, but a two- week suspension would have shown the sign of the times for uncensored broadcasting.


Camden, N.J.


In his column “Bleeps … and double standards” (Commentary, Friday), Cal Thomas asks: “Why aren’t these keepers of the First Amendment flame coming to the defense of Don Imus?”The answer is simple: because there’s no First Amendment issue here.

Put broadly, “free speech” in a constitutional sense means that the government cannot tell its citizens what they can and cannot say. Mr. Thomas tries to draw a parallel with the National Endowment for the Arts debate in the 1980s, but that case is distinguished by the fact that government funding for art (“speech” in that sense) was at issue. Here there is no government involvement; the Federal Communications Commission didn’t take Mr. Imus off the air, MSNBC and CBS did.

The First Amendment does not guarantee that you get to say whatever you want without repercussion. In this case, Mr. Imus got to exercise his right to speak his mind and the American public (and more importantly Mr. Imus’ employers and sponsors) exercised the same right with their widespread condemnation of those remarks.

Debates like the one that has erupted in response to Mr. Imus’ comments is an example of the “marketplace of ideas” playing itself out. Here it seems that bigotry and misogyny lost and basic respect won. It isn’t always that way and Mr. Thomas is right to point out the hypocrisy of those that condemn Mr. Imus while turning a blind eye to rappers. But please don’t give this issue more weight than it deserves by insinuating a constitutional issue where there isn’t one.



A democratic fraud

Douglas E. McNeil, director of Marylanders for Democracy, wrote (“Eliminating the Electoral College,” Letters, Friday) to challenge the excellent article on Maryland’s attempt to require presidential electors to cast their votes, not for the candidate who won in Maryland, but for the candidate who received the largest popular vote nationally (“Save the Electoral College,” Commentary, April 7).

What Mr. McNeil neglects to mention is how anti-democratic the goal of Marylanders for Democracy could be. Take, for example, a fictional but entirely possible presidential election in which the Republican candidate wins a narrow popular-vote majority. Maryland in such a contest might well have voted for the Democratic candidate, perhaps even by a wide margin. (No, wait, it’s not fictional: it happened exactly this way in 1968 and again in 1980. In those years Maryland’s electoral votes went to the loser of the national race, who had carried Maryland.) Under Mr. McNeil’s proposal, the majority of Marylanders — who voted Democratic — would have their votes totally ignored by electors required by law to vote for the national popular choice, the Republican. (Gosh, that would have given Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan an additional 10 electoral votes.)

As a Republican, that’d probably be OK by me, except that I believe that the states still count as political entities and that majorities of voters in each and every state should determine how its electoral votes should be cast. Iguess that makes me more of a Democrat than the members of Marylanders for Democracy.



Turkey is the problem

This letter is in response to the article “Denying massacre hurts ties to West,” (World, April 9). In addition to the Armenians, Greek and Assyrian Christians were likewise victims of genocide under the Young Turks and their nationalist successor, Mustafa Kemal. Numerous historical documents emanating from Christian missionaries, relief workers and prominent American diplomats such as Henry Morgenthau and George Horton attest to the genocidal actions of the Turkish nationalists. In addition, actions of the Greek Orthodox Church against Turkish plans in Trebizond, Cappadocia and Smyrna indicate widespread knowledge of the policies.

Chrysostom, the archbishop of Smyrna, was sanctioned by the Young Turks for protesting exterminations of Christians during the World War I. They denied his candidacy for ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople. In September 1922, Chrysostom was brutally murdered as ordered by Kemalist Gen. Noureddin Pasha, who conquered Smyrna from the Greeks. The Western powers, with numerous economic, business and political interests in Asia Minor, tolerated the genocide committed by Turkish nationalists. Western policies toward Turkey remain the great shame of the Western democracies up to the present, as Turkish atrocities continue to be overlooked even today.

The article errs when it refers to Turkey as a valuable ally. The Turkish government is now officially in the hands of Islamic fundamentalists who are being challenged by tyrannical thugs and nationalist extremists in the military. Ankara’s refusal to assist the United States in Iraq is evidence that neither faction supported U.S. efforts. In addition, Turkish nationalists who succeeded in invading Cyprus in 1974 and ethnically cleansing 200,000 Greek Cypriots have set their sights on Northern Iraq’s Kurdish regions.

America should beware of depending on Turkey, for American efforts in Iraq depend heavily on the Kurds of Northern Iraq who have made it clear they will resist any and all Turkish claims to the region.



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