- The Washington Times - Monday, April 2, 2007

‘Green’ hypocrisy

I read with interest the article “Building for a green future” (Page 1, March 18). The picture of the headquarters of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the laudatory phrases about its “greenness” amused me. The article failed to mention that the foundation built this large and rather ugly “green” building in the Bay Ridge Community, long primarily a residential area. The building fronts the Chesapeake Bay and sits smack in the middle of a long-standing critical wetland area of marsh, home to all manner of endangered flora and fauna native to the Bay.

The article may have inadvertently exposed the breathtaking hypocrisy of so many environmentalists whose rules and restrictions are for everyone but themselves.



How ‘I would have voted’

This letter is in response to the article “Ford Splits with Democrats on Iraq,” (Nation, Thursday). Had I been in the Senate, I would have voted in favor of the supplemental. How, after my speech, previous statements and recent campaign platform, one could have interpreted my remarks to the contrary is puzzling.

As recently as three weeks ago, I wrote an op-ed for the Chattanooga Times Free Press outlining a “Plan B” for Iraq. Although the op-ed was written before the supplemental vote, the Plan B approach would not have cut off funds for our soldiers, urges outreach to Iraq’s neighbors and encourages formation of a Democracy coalition, which I talked about in the speech Wednesday.

It is unfortunate that The Washington Times misunderstood my position on this critical issue and reported it wrongly.



Democratic Leadership Council


Think America

When U.S. companies, such as Intel Corp., set up shop in China, they do more than rob Americans of jobs (“Intel chip plant to energize China,” Business, Tuesday). They’re helping to enrich financially, intellectually and militarily a foreign power with suspect designs toward the United States.

Just this January, China flexed its military muscle when it struck one of its weather satellites with a missile to prove its growing offensive abilities in space. In 2005, the feds arrested the Mak brothers for purportedly passing secrets about U.S. weapons and Virginia-class submarines to China. Their case went to trial this past week.

Also in 2005, as reported in The Washington Times, Chinese Gen. Zhu Chenghu said that if America tries to defend Taiwan as it has promised to do, “Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese” with nukes. A few days later, the Chinese government said its general had spoken out of turn. Perhaps. In 2001, a Chinese fighter collided with a U.S. Navy spy plane over international waters. China held 24 U.S. military personnel hostage and stripped the Navy plane for its hardware.

When Intel Chief Executive Officer Paul Otellini says his company’s “goal in China is to support a transition from ‘manufactured in China’ to ‘innovated in China,’ ” what possible advantage does that give the United States? Why place high-tech industry in a foreign country with intentions that have been shown to be unfriendly, if not downright belligerent, toward us? Why empower its cyber-abilities? Don’t such moves simply provide China with a solid industrial base while weakening our own manufacturing foundations, which would be needed if we ever came to blows?

American companies need to start thinking about America.




The article “Vet disabilities not all passing muster” (Page 1, Saturday) included several inaccuracies. The Department of Veterans Affairs’ disability payments are governed by laws passed by Congress. The VA then writes regulations that have the effect of law. The VA complies with the laws or ends up in the dock.

There will be no flood of disabled veterans from this war remotely comparable to past wars. Vets are rarely awarded “total and permanent” — meaning lifetime — benefits. “Lifetime indemnity payments” do not underpin the system, nor are those words used in any of the VA laws. All others are subject to periodic re-evaluation.

There is no mention, to my knowledge, of “loss of earning power” in the enabling legislation for veterans’ disabilities. Unlike Social Security, which bases its disability decisions on the inability to work, the VA does not. It is true that some vets get compensation for “unemployability,” but that’s a very specific law for specific conditions and designed to rehabilitate the veteran so he can go to work.

The article reports, as news, that the average wait for benefits is six months without noting that before September 11, it was about a year. Do the so-called critics of the VA think disabled vets returning from the war zone should get in line in front of those who returned from war two, three, four or 40 years ago?

The fact that the VA and the rest of the government are bloated and sometimes make mistakes is not news.


University Park


The article “Vet disabilities not all passing muster,” concerning veterans’ benefits, gives benefit of the doubt to the military medical exams that are performed just prior to separation. The author alludes to separation physicals given 35 years ago.

It was customary back then for the services’ separation doctors intentionally not to examine for select conditions but to document that they had done so or, conversely, to lie outright about the severity of the condition to save the government money 30 years down the road. It was assumed that GIs eventually would bankrupt Uncle Sam through VA claims. The spending levels that have long since proved unable to bankrupt us were inconceivable then.

I did not get a hearing exam at Fort Belvoir when I separated in 1972. I lost my 4,000 Hz response in my left ear thanks to machine-gun fire in Vietnam. It wasn’t documented in Vietnam because we couldn’t get up to the air base 35 miles away for a week, and when I reported it, the medic shrugged it off as untreatable and didn’t bother to log it in my file. Somehow I got 10 percent disability for it, but I think that was intended to sway me from pursuing a more important post-traumatic-stress disorder claim.

I’m still trying to get compensation for PTSD, which severely hindered me socially and job-wise for a decade after separation, and the VA is throwing every obstacle in my path. It says I was a carpenter instead of a combat engineer, ignoring eight sets of orders that list me as combat engineer. I wish I never heard of the PTSD compensation program.



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