- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 18, 2007


Imposing morals in the military

Maj. Daniel L. Davis‘ argument in “Homosexuals in the military” (Op-Ed Wednesday) can be construed as an apologia in support of certain religious morals determining who serves. Is Maj. Davis saying the religious and moral scruples of some members should be shielded against immorality? In that case, let’s prevent heterosexual adulterers and fornicators from becoming or remaining service members. (Didn’t the Zogby poll ask about religious beliefs, too? Why didn’t Maj. Davis “crunch” those numbers? He leaves too much out in his analysis.)

I was in the military and most recently employed by Army Family Advocacy as a civilian instructor dealing with moral, ethical and legal issues. I encountered many heterosexuals who were engaged in very questionable moral practices, especially when held up against certain religious values. Even though it often created problems in the military, seldom was anyone kicked out of the services or otherwise seriously punished for it. If Maj. Davis‘ rule were followed, I’d say there is a very serious problem in allowing heterosexual fornicators and adulterers into the services as well. Or are fornicators and adulterers less immoral?

I’m just trying to avoid the hypocrisy generated by selecting only a certain minority group (homosexuals) for special moral scrutiny by another minority group (religion-based).

When should we stop managing the moral beliefs of service members to avoid offending some other members? And just which interpretation of religion is going to be the basis for establishing these moral rules? This sounds more like an issue of “who speaks for God” than it does who can serve their country.

Aren’t the ethical and moral problems better resolved with rational evidence and debate rather than enforcement of questionable, highly personal religious morals? Isn’t that what democracy and freedom and the American way is all about?

Maj. Davis‘ argument is too hypocritical to be taken seriously.



Pierce College Military

College Programs

Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base, Wash.

Health-care freedom of choice

Reader Elyse Seigle attacks my argument for freedom of choice by patient and doctor (“Is health choice an illusion?” Letters, Thursday) following my account of a tumor being identified and removed quickly and successfully within the current health-care system. I will answer her points:

1. Medicare paid for about 95 percent of the three doctors’ work on me, the CT scan, endoscopy and Dr. John Cameron’s successful surgery on the large cancerous tumor at the pancreas.

2. My personal habits did not contribute to the cancer: I have never smoked; I exercise every day; I indulge in no health-risky conduct. Dr. Cameron told me that he did not think a routine medical checkup would have discovered the tumor.

3. Since the alternative was death within two months, I would have mortgaged my house, if need be, to pay the three physicians especially Dr. Cameron, who is one of the top surgeons in the country, and possibly in the world who performed the complicated operation I needed.

The writer missed my point entirely. It was not to oppose a government-pay system (though I doubt it can afford it, since Social Security is running out of money and Medicare will go broke even sooner). My point was simply that in any new system, to give the choice of what doctor a patient can see and what patient a doctor can take to a government bureaucrat will kill thousands of patients. So why can’t the partisans of “single-payer” come out and declare in public that bureaucrats do not know more about people’s medical needs than the people, and their doctors, themselves?

One simple way to solve the problem is to give a tax credit (not a mere deduction) for a large percentage of medical costs. Those who pay little in taxes could be given a medical savings account with an initial payment by government. But don’t pay 100 percent, since anything “free” attracts freeloaders.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s plan back in 1993-94 made it a crime for a doctor to treat a patient that the government had not put in his group and a crime for a patient to pay a doctor outside the patient’s group. It also gave the government the power to decide how many (and therefore which) persons could enter certain medical specialities. Diocletian tried this stupid idea with trades in ancient Rome and it contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.

The devil really is in the details. Before anybody campaigns for a “single-payer” system, he or she had better read the small print carefully and should demand freedom to choose his or her own doctor, without having to wander through a desert of regulations or risk jail.


Great Falls

Reasonable speed limits

Ali F. Sevin’s letter (“A speed-limit solution,” Wednesday) in response to my letter was on the mark about changing speed limits upward to reflect actual safe driving conditions.

Speed limits have been set for making money, not for ensuring safety. Crossing from Maryland to Delaware on Interstate 95 is a prime example; in 10 feet the speed limit changes from 65 mph to 55 mph. A driver traveling at 75 mph (the norm) goes instantly from speeding to reckless driving. Then there are the 25 mph zones that should be 45 mph.

However, the writer missed the point on police cruising at the speed limit to create “safe conditions.” The 20 to 30 minutes spent writing one traffic ticket could best be spent driving in traffic. The effect can extend well beyond twice the ticket-writing period, and it doesn’t require an army of police cars.



Failed congressional leadership

Richard W. Rahn’s column dealing with the certainty of some future nuclear attack by terrorists and the colossal damage such an attack would cause was a warning that Congress and all Americans should heed (“Dealing with annihilation,” Commentary, Wednesday).

However, his description of the damage such an attack would cause, although bone-chillingly frightening, was still understated. As a junior officer on the USS George Eastman, one of the two test ships of the 1954 atomic tests in Bikini, I witnessed the burst of the first hydrogen device, and there is simply no way to describe the awesome power and aftereffects, or even to imagine the results of such a weapon being detonated in the heart of New York City. Destruction would spread far beyond the limits of any city so targeted.

Mr. Rahn’s conclusions that our present Congress is incapable of dealing with any type of national emergency and unable to effectively manage the affairs of state were also true statements but failed to identify the basic cause of this deplorable situation we have today. Sadly, the reason is so very obvious: We have a Congress with few if any statesmen and mostly overpaid, overprivileged pandering politicians who have no knowledge of history and no vision of the future beyond the next election.


Navy (retired)

California, Md.

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