- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Woe to the GOPwhiners

Bruce Bartlett’s column “GOP succession woes” (Commentary, yesterday) moans that “the Republican Party has a huge problem going into 2008” because there is no clear front-runner who is broadly acceptable to most Republicans. His main point is that this problem is a direct result of the fact that the “Republicans do not have a sitting vice president running for the presidential nomination in 2008” and that this “is entirely George W. Bush’s doing.”

Mr. Bartlett drones on at length on this point and then wraps up his argument with the conclusion that if there were a vice president running in 2008, “his own ambitions [would] encourage him to pressure the president into adopting policies and taking positions that [would] be popular with voters.”

First, I am constantly amazed that President Bush, as Democrats are enthusiastic to point out to us on a daily basis, apparently is personally responsible for so many things being screwed up — in this country, the world, and even the Earth’s atmosphere, no less. More important, I submit to Mr. Bartlett that the United States has enough of a national political leadership shortage with all of the leading Democratic politicians blowing in the public opinion poll winds without, as he encourages, the Republican 2008 presidential candidates joining them.

Perhaps, if he has any ideas, Mr. Bartlett should tell us how the Republican 2008 candidates could build on the numerous things that are right about this country — thanks in large part to what the president has done right during his time in office — instead of joining the Democrats (and a growing number of spineless Republicans) in whining about all of the things they see as wrong with the United States and the current Republican president’s leadership.

Further, perhaps Mr. Bartlett should study Tony Blankley’s Op-Ed column “One card Monte,” also in yesterday’s edition of The Washington Times, in which Mr. Blankley correctly states: “It seems almost pointless to engage in a serious policy debate with a party whose leading contenders for the presidency are willing to simply make up any preposterous national security policy in a contest of one-upmanship targeted at winning the hearts and minds (if that is the word for it) of their party’s ready-for-institutionalizing edge of their lunatic fringe voters.”

COL. BLAKE J. ROBERTSON

Marine Corps (retired)

Stafford, Va

Honorable intentions

As an active-duty military officer and a former member of the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets Honor Board, I believe Dan Thomasson’s column “Matter of honororconvenience?” (Commentary, yesterday) misrepresents both the execution and the function of honor codes in the military academies (and other schools). His intimation that those in charge are willing to bend the rules when large numbers of students violate the honor code doesn’t consider that the punishments are carefully meted out based on the type and severity of the violation. Hence, a student who goes to great effort to cheat may be expelled, while a student who merely doesn’t report his cheating fellow may receive a lesser punishment.

Even more worrisome, however, is Mr. Thomasson’s point that students do not bear primary responsibility for their own actions and instead are guilty only if they get caught by their supervisors. Because of the honor code, cheaters put their non-cheating fellows at risk, and non-cheaters have an incentive to try to solve the problem at their own level before the event occurs. If the honor code were modified so that only the cheaters could be punished, it would unintentionally create an atmosphere of tacit approval for any behavior a student could get away with.

If, as Mr. Thomasson states, the active-duty military operates on the principle, “Do what you want, just don’t get caught,” I think we should reaffirm and strengthen the honor code at service academies and other institutions as well, not emasculate it. By placing the primary responsibility for ethical behavior on the students themselves, the honor code creates a moral dilemma for potential cheaters and conspirators that should leave a more lasting impression on their still-developing characters. My experience with the honor code as a cadet and in the military has taught me a different lesson: that “integrity is what you do when no one else is watching.” If Mr. Thomasson learned a different lesson, I am sad to hear it.

CAPT. ROBIN WALTHER

Marine Corps

Leesburg, Ga.

Armenian genocide

In the Tuesday editorial “Pelosi’s pandering against Turkey,” you argue that Congress shouldn’t adopt the Armenian genocide resolution (H. Res.106) because it could lead to “serious damage” in relations between the United States and Turkey. Turkey’s threats are simply the continuation of its 90-year campaign of denying Armenian genocide. Why sell the United States short? Why must Congress capitulate to Turkish government threats while France, Argentina and other countries remain steadfast against similar pressures?

There is more at stake here than economic issues and geopolitics. There is the fundamental question of morality. Every time the Armenian genocide is recognized, mankind reaffirms its commitment to reconciling truth with humanity. By passing this resolution, the United States will include itself among those great countries that hold justice as a supreme value.

We cannot let realpolitik dictate truth. Renowned philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy said it best, in the French Newspaper Le Monde: “This Armenian genocide, this first genocide, it was — “first” — in the true sense of the word: an exemplary and almost the seminal genocide; a genocidal test case; considered a laboratory for genocide by the Nazis.”

JULES BOYADJIAN

Armenian Youth Federation France

Valence, France

I was outraged upon reading the Tuesday editorial “Pelosi’s pandering against Turkey.” It misrepresents several facts about Turkey and, by belittling the need to recognize the Armenian genocide, encourages the continuation of the cycle of genocide as is occurring today in Sudan.

First, I would like to point out a couple of things regarding the claim that Turkey is “a NATO ally and one of the few Muslim-majority nations in the world that is a democracy.”

It is true that Turkey is a member of NATO, but it can hardly be considered a loyal ally. Are we forgetting that Turkey refused to allow the United States to invade Iraq from the northern Turkish border? Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld acknowledged that this refusal by Turkey greatly compromised the United States’ strategy in Iraq. Yet today, Turkey threatens further to destabilize the situation in Iraq by invading from these very same northern borders.

Second, the claim that Turkey is a democracy is absurd.

A country in which journalists are jailed for writing articles critical of the government can hardly be considered democratic. Nor can Turkey be considered democratic when it denies its ethnic and religious minorities basic rights such as speaking and printing in their own language and maintaining houses of worship.

What is more interesting is that this editorial seems to contradict itself on several points. While it attempts to discredit Mrs. Pelosi’s concern for upholding justice with regard to international human rights by claiming that “Mrs. Pelosi seems more interested in playing ethnic politics,” the editorial asserts that we should be friendly with Turkey because “for many years, Turkey was the only Muslim nation in the Middle East to have trade and diplomatic relations with Israel.”

The Armenian genocide is a historical fact whose official recognition by the United States has been brushed aside for much too long. I commend Mrs. Pelosi for her courage on the matter and condemn this editorial for attempting to paint the issue of Armenian genocide recognition, a universal human rights issue, as one that is an “effort to settle old scores dating back to World War I.”

LEON BARONIAN

Los Angeles

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