- The Washington Times - Friday, April 27, 2007

Dangerous debris in outer space

In “Much ado about space debris” (Commentary, Wednesday), James Hackett drastically underestimates the potential future threat that space debris could pose to satellites.

The probability of a severely damaging collision with debris over the five- to 10-year lifetime of a medium-size satellite is already approaching 1 percent in the most densely populated regions of space. The Chinese destruction of a 1-ton satellite in January increased this risk by roughly 25 percent. Further testing or use of such weapons could significantly increase that threat. For example, destroying a single 10-ton satellite — similar to U.S. spy satellites — could double the amount of dangerous debris in low Earth orbit and would concentrate it in regions where a large percentage of satellites operate.

Debris at high altitudes can stay in orbit for decades or centuries, so it accumulates with time. Continued testing or use of weapons that destroy satellites would put critically important civil, commercial and military satellites at risk and could increase the amount of debris at key altitudes enough to impede our ability to use those regions. The United States, having more than half of all satellites operating today, should press for international measures to prevent the testing and use of debris-producing weapons.

David Wright

Co-director and senior scientist

Global Security Program

Union of Concerned Scientists

Cambridge, Mass.

A defeatist Iraq vote

It is hardly surprising that the Democrats’ surrender bill is headed for certain defeat at the White House (“Senate OKs deadline in war funding,” Page 1, Friday). President Bush will veto this bill for what it is, a carefully devised expression of contempt for our troops in the field.

In addition, the Democrats have delayed vital funding that is essential in accomplishing our mission in Iraq. Of course, the enemy is not having any of this debate. Its objective is to win, pure and simple. Should we Americans be any less resolved in our endeavor to win? In the war on terror, defeat is not an option.

BRIAN STUCKEY

Denver

As a Vietnam veteran, I witnessed firsthand how we won all battles and destroyed the enemy we were facing, but were finally defeated by the Democratic majority in Congress and armchair generals in the White House. Now, history is repeating itself. Armchair generals in our Congress, obviously oblivious to the terrible threat facing our nation and our way of life, are ready and willing to pull the rug out from under the commander in chief and our armed forces. No doubt if this collection of weak-kneed, pandering politicians had been in power on Sunday, Dec. 7, 1941, on Monday they would have been asking the Japanese for surrender terms.

BILLUPS E. LODGE

Retired Navy commander

California, Md.

Again, the Democrats have voted to pull troops out of Iraq knowing full well that President Bush will veto the bill. Isn’t continuing to do the same thing over and over, even though you know it won’t work, a sign of insanity?

These Neville Chamberlains just don’t get it. To take away support from troops in the field while in combat is treason. I challenge any liberal, Democrat or Republican, who supports this legislation to approach one of our service people and tell them that they “support the troops but not the mission,” and see what happens.

They had better be ready to duck.

That statement is the equivalent of spitting on them and their sacrifice. The troops don’t have the luxury of deciding which mission to support.

History will prove Harry Reid and the Democrats fools.

MICHAEL A. PACER

Hesperia, Calif.

The message of surrender by Sen. Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, the Senate majority leader, that “This war is lost” should not only be rejected as a disgraceful remark. Mr. Reid should be asked to resign his position as Senate majority leader and senator in the Congress.

Such disgraceful and defeatist comments are afull and total abandonment of our brave troops fighting the war against terror, they will now only embolden the enemy more. Mr. Reid showed a total lack of confidence in our fighting men and women. Such shameful and disgraceful comments are appalling. I urge members of Congress to condemn and reject such comments that have now emboldened the enemy. As a veteran of two wars, Korea and Vietnam, I fully condemn Mr. Reid’s shameful comments.

AL EISNER

Wheaton

Reid in the breeze

Mr. Lincoln’s war, Mr. Wilson’s war, Mr. Roosevelt’s war and now Mr. Bush’s war. Each had its share of hand-wringing sycophants who blew with the breeze.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is no different and should be dismissed out of hand. He is just another in a long line of spineless politicians from the “cut and run” generation (“Cheney slams Reid’s ‘the Iraq war is lost,’ ” Page 1, Wednesday).

What continues to stick out like a sore thumb is the lack of any alternative plan by Democrats or their supporters.

Not one word has been offered as to what they would have done differently. Yes, most of them were waving the Stars and Stripes when Baghdad fell.

Now the flag they wave is one color — white.Maybe the country would be better served if the media would ask a few pointed questions of Mr. Reid as to exactly what he would have done and would do next.

Confronted by the need for hard facts and hard decisions, this pint-sized Neville Chamberlain would simply shrivel up and fade away.

WILSON FARIS

Gaithersburg

Sen. Harry Reid has set a new standard for war. When you don’t meet an arbitrary deadline, you declare victory (ordefeat) and leave the battlefield.

This is the new standard thatlowers the bar significantly and makes it easy for people like me to support. In fact, I think I really like it.

So, in the war on drugs, if we don’t win by a time certain, we declare victory (or defeat), and move on. And in the war on poverty, HIV, crime, or any other “war,” we simply apply the same standard.

But wait a minute, you may say, those other “wars” are different.How so?

They are wars in which people are dying — on the battlefield of life. How is it different from our brave military service members dying on the battlefield of combat, trying to free people from oppression, crime and disease and provide them the freedom they deserve?

If we leave Iraq, people will continue to die and the war will continue to rage. If we stop supporting the war on drugs, poverty, disease and crime, people willcontinue to die and the people fighting those battles will be left to their own devices to continue the war. I fail to see the difference.

The more I think about it, the more I like Mr. Reid’s approach because I can now stop writing all the checks I have been writing for decades to the cancer foundations, the heart associations, the AIDS associations, the children’s funds and all those charities who don’t need the contributions because, after all, those battles have been raging for decades and they are obviously losing battles that should no longer be fought.

So, to the good and charitable people of the United States, I suggest you all tear up your checks and ignore those requests you receive to fightall the “wars” we are engaged in, then save your money and just hope for the best. Harry says it’s OK. It must be so.

After all, he is the leader of one of the most august institutions on the planet, where battles are won and lost, and wars are done and undone with the stroke of a pen and the mere vote of 51 brave souls.

ROB WEINHOLD

Dale City


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