- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2007

‘Lest we forget’ the Armenians

The act of genocide seldom varies. Denial of an injustice almost always follows the diabolical deed. The international community’s practice of turning a blind eye to past injustices has allowed the inception of a more worrisome “axis of deniers” that includes Turkey, Iran and Japan (“The truth about ‘comfort women,’ ” Op-Ed, yesterday).

For how much longer will the international community sit silent against this motley crew who blatantly deny the historical veracity of the Armenian genocide, the Holocaust and the Japanese comfort women? Indeed, during the two weeks between Japan’s surrender and the arrival of American occupation forces, wartime leaders fearing postwar trials had incinerated so many incriminating documents that the Tokyo sky was said to have been black with smoke.

Any government’s strategy to control wartime history is a morally bankrupt attempt to whitewash history. It cannot be tolerated. However, Japan is not the only country that must squarely face its past. The U.S. administration and Turkey must still properly recognize the Armenian genocide. After almost a century of outlandish denial, an opportunity has arisen for the United States to encourage Turkey to recognize its historical wrongs. In an attempt to counter historical revisionism and promote justice, H.R. 106 will not only reaffirm decades of impartial historical scholarship on the Armenian genocide but also counter those who propagate hatred and promote intolerance.

Lest we forget, condoning historical revisionism by accommodating genocide deniers for political expediency will not strengthen humanity’s conviction of “never again.” Rather, it will embolden the same intolerance that culminated in the injustices we see today in Darfur.


Ottawa, Ontario

Poof. No magical answers

The article, “Social Security charades” (Commentary, Wednesday) reveals the misery of defeat within the privatization brigade from the Cato Institute. William Shipman and some of his colleagues can’t seem to accept that the rejection of Social Security private accounts wasn’t just about President Bush’s failure to mobilize support; it was also about American voters rejecting a plan that would dismantle a program of vital importance to them, their children and grandchildren.

Nothing new was offered in this article except an intriguing attempt to compare candidates to animals based upon their positions on privatization. According to Mr. Shipman, you’re a monkey if you don’t want to talk about private accounts and an elephant if you support Social Security. However, he didn’t offer a genus classification for privatization’s true believers.

Let me suggest that political candidates who believe that taking millions of dollars from Social Security to create private accounts is the way to “save it” are most like dragons. Dragons, of course, are mythical creatures typically endowed with magical powers, just like the myth and magic promised by privatization supporters.


President and CEO

National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare


Don’t keep on trucking

Yesterday’s business article by Steve Hirsch (“Suit hits U.S. access for Mexican trucks”) regarding unfettered access to U.S. roads for Mexican trucking companies struck a nerve. At first glance, the proposed regulations make perfect sense. Why hamper the movement of goods from the manufacturing plant to the destination simply to transfer the load from a Mexican truck to an American truck? Common sense indicates a perfect rationale for the change: The practice costs time and money. The routine objections and lawsuit against the Department of Transportation brought by the Teamsters union represented, in my opinion, a typical rush to judgment, purely parochial. To me, the union’s reasons were of questionable merit, those reasons being vehicle safety and environmental impact. As any student of Teamster activity knows, the union’s actions usually are based on the elimination of a significant number jobs for truckers — in this case, those who wait at designated enterprise zones along the border and take handoffs to their intended destinations in the United States.

However, further reflection on this proposal and what it actually accomplishes reveals a much more diabolical result: the backdoor annexation of Mexico.

By giving Mexican trucking companies unrestricted access to roads nationwide, the Department of Transportation is, by bureaucratic fiat, bestowing upon Mexican manufacturing the same rights and access to the American market as legitimate American production facilities in Atlanta or Chicago or Denver. By eliminating the only impediment (the border) to American companies moving their production out of the United States, the DOT will in effect have created a 51st state. With entree to cheaper land and facilities, lower wage costs and the same unrestricted access to product distribution as a company in Detroit or Cleveland or Brooklyn, only the purest of patriotic company managers could resist moving.

One of the major benefits of being an American company is the ability to transport goods nationwide, at will, without governmental interference. The money saved on lower-wage employees and production costs more than covers the additional fuel expense of driving the extra miles from Mexico. To make matters even worse, the whole affair is essentially tax-free to those south of the southernmost geographical demarcation (we should call it that since it will no longer be a border).

Together with the refusal to stem the tide of illegal immigration, this administration’s disregard for borders has reached a new nadir.

There is something terribly awry when a dyed-in-the-wool Republican applauds the actions of the Teamsters union in its effort to stop this unabashed assault on our country’s sovereignty. I think its reasoning is off, but its aim is true. What say Congress on this issue?


Phoenix, Ariz.

Yeltsin’s Putin

The headline “Yeltsin pushed Russian reform” (Page 1, Tuesday) and the accompanying text of the article describe perfectly the positive and the negative sides of the regime of Boris Yeltsin. Despite all of his shortcomings, Mr. Yeltsin introduced democracy to a nation that had never experienced it except for a short period in 1917. Unfortunately he assumed — incorrectly — that his chosen successor, Vladimir Putin, would continue that same path.

While Mr. Putin brought relative economic prosperity to Russia, based on oil and gas wealth, he actively repressed all opposition to his autocratic rule, whether it be the unexplained demise of a number of his critics or the temporary detention of Garry Kasparov on suspicion of mounting opposition to Mr. Putin’s dictatorial policies.

Mr. Putin has pursued a policy of confrontation with the United States on the foreign scene with Russia’s support for Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan, as well as its role in Iraq and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

While the Cold War has not returned militarily because of a weakened Russian army, it has again been renewed diplomatically, economically and morally to the detriment of those advocates of democracy worldwide, including the United States.


Silver Spring

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