- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 21, 2007

A portrait of Pelosi and Reid

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are quite the dynamic Democratic duo (“Reid says Bush told Iraq war lost cause,” Page 1, Friday).

In their urgency to declare the Iraq effort a failure and cede that critical landscape to Islamist terrorists, they are giving the concept of the loyal opposition a bad name.

Perhaps Mrs. Pelosi and Mr. Reid could pose for a portrait to replace the artist Grant Wood’s iconic “American Gothic.” We could call it the new American Gothic, one that celebrates political opportunism over loyal opposition.

PAUL BLOUSTEIN

Cincinnati

Coping with the massacre

The shooting rampage at Virginia Tech that struck the campus and traumatized the surrounding community with news of more than 30 individuals dead leaves reverberating effects of shock and horror that extend beyond the confines of Blacksburg, Va. (“Massacre at Virginia Tech,” Page 1, Tuesday). Winding down the final weeks of spring semester, the senseless deaths of those on campus produces a reaction of wrenching grief and tremendous loss.

Life in that town has suddenly changed in a most unfavorable way, and the community is in crisis. This is an incident of mass trauma that leaves deep emotional wounds. This crime is another raw, devastating statistic to add to the annals of school violence and criminal victimization.

The students, parents, school employees and members of the neighboring community are suffering the impact of secondary victimization. Stunned by the reality of the events and accepting the significance of their losses is a large burden they have to bear. The impact of it all will be unlimited in time and scope.

Skilled victim specialists and crisis responders are vital resources that must be utilized immediately and over time to deal with this tragedy. First responders must not be overlooked. They, too, will need attention to their reactions and their grief. A situation of mass trauma affects the entire community, and the needs of everyone there must be thoroughly addressed.

Blacksburg can be comforted in knowing that communities throughout the country share their grief and understand the tremendous losses they have suffered. With National Crime Victims’ Rights Week approaching — April 22-28 — we remember the victims and, as a nation, we come together once again.

KAREN L. BUNE

Adjunct Professor of Victimology

George Mason University

Fairfax, Va.

Prevention and pre-emption

In response to the letters titled “Global justice” by Debbie Metke and “Take the civilized path” by Mark Bachelder published Thursday: Both writers seem to be participating in historical revisionism when promoting the idea that our war with Iraq was solely based on the concept of pre-emption.

Iraq and the United States has been in a technical state of war since the invasion of Kuwait in 1991. The anti-war left is ignorant of the fact that an armistice agreement is only a conditional ceasefire — just like we have currently in North Korea. A technical state of war exists until a peace treaty is signed. In other words, the absence of a shooting war in international law doesn’t equate to the absence of a state of war until such a peace treaty is signed. In Iraq, we resumed the shooting war because Iraq continually and without regard to consequence violated the armistice agreement and committed multiple acts of war against the United States and Britain. Specifically, Iraq continued shooting at U.S. and British aircraft after it was defeated in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. This is a clear act of war, worsened by the fact that it is a violation of its own armistice agreement.

Over 12 years these acts continued and three successive administrations attempted to bring Saddam Hussein in line with the very agreements he had signed. Even the Clinton administration acknowledged that he was someone that we’d have to deal with militarily, demonstrating that by ordering air strikes in 1994. Yet, Iraq continued to violate the armistice agreement by not destroying its extensive arsenal of chemical weapons, such as sarin gas artillery shells that we have discovered, numbering over 500. Sarin gas is a weapon of mass destruction, and, unlike mustard gas, has a long shelf life.

Up until our resumption of the shooting war in 2003, Iraq continued to play a shell game — one month agreeing to inspections and then next month suspending inspections and all the while attempting to shoot down our aircraft patrolling in the no-fly zones. These and the other 17 violations of the U.N. resolutions all played a role in our decision to resume the shooting war with Iraq. So, pre-emption was not the sole basis on which we resumed the war with Iraq.

Yet pre-emption has it’s place and is appropriate, as President Kennedy displayed in the Cuban Missile Crisis when he ordered the naval blockade of Cuba, an act of war. And pre-emption could have prevented World War II had we employed it then as well when Nazi Germany violated the Treaty of Versailles.

In the president’s 2003 State of the Union speech, he clearly said that we cannot allow Saddam to have “any” weapons of mass destruction — that would include those already in their arsenal created pre-1991 that we have now discovered. While the prewar intelligence was incorrect in Iraq having an on-going WMD program, the sanctions were on the verge of concluding and, as the Duelfer report revealed, Iraq was attempting to reconstitute it’s program by any means. The letters to the editor on Thursday would have us ignore the lessons of World War II, just watch the threat and do nothing, whether it’s Nazi Germany violating the Treaty of Versailles or Iraq violating the armistice agreement.

The history of the Iraq war hasn’t been written, contrary to Sen. Harry Reid’s premature conclusions that the war is lost. Ironically, it was the Democrats’ very criticism, prior to the 2006 election, that not enough troops are in Iraq. Now with the “surge” is adding more troops, it is the Democrats who are withholding the very remedy they have been calling for the past two years.

While Americans are understandably frustrated with the slow progress in Iraq, Democrats only offer guaranteed defeat, and thus harm the U.S. foreign policy and our armed forces in the field to gain politically. And you wonder why Americans don’t like politicians?

SERGE WING

Alexandria

m

Mark Bachelder destroys his argument halfway through his letter “Take the civilized path,” (Thursday).

He says, “Pre-emption is not a recipe for prevention. It is a provocation of yet more violence.” He then says that our best hope for security is by advancing our military’s current counterterrorism measures being implemented in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere. Many are those measures are preemptive.

It is well and good to try to make friends by civic projects, but in most impoverished areas of the world those projects require constant military protection against the terrorists who are already in place.

Bombs and bullets are not the only means of terrorism. A terrorist act is ongoing at this time in the United States. Six Muslims and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) are terrorizing some airline passengers in an attempt to destroy the security measures that protect us when we fly.

Pre-emption is not the path to armageddon. As was the case in 1931, when Japan invaded China, the failure to take strong measures in a timely manner is the path to armageddon.

DARREL SALISBURY

Lorton


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