- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Israel and its neighbors

Despite a lack of natural resources, a need to import all of its oil and maintaining an expensive but necessary defensive force, Israel has managed to make its economy, like its democracy, a shining example in the Mideast (“Israel’s economy leaps upward despite unrest,” Page 1, Monday).

Though it would make sense for its very poor neighbors to emulate Israel’s efforts, or at least to partner with Israel to leverage the Jewish state’s economic machine, Israel’s Arab neighbors instead seek to destroy it (with perhaps the exception of Jordan, whose King Abdullah seems to recognize that his people would benefit from more trade and less hatred).

Considering that all of the countries bordering Israel have per capita gross domestic product rates that are a fraction of Israel’s, it seems inconceivable to the Western mind that anti-Semitism and/or envy could so completely displace the desire for jobs and wages and sustenance.

Yet, the sad truth is borne out by the facts. When Israelis lived in the Gaza Strip, they employed Palestinians who were denigrated by other unemployed Palestinians for working for the Jews. When Israel unilaterally withdrew its people from the Gaza Strip in 2005, it left behind functional greenhouses and other economic infrastructure — all of which the Palestinians destroyed.

Gaza is now an economic wasteland. One of the few viable industries is the production/importation of explosive rockets which the Palestinians fire across the border to try and kill Israelis.

Meanwhile, Israel attracts billions of dollars in foreign investment while it does its best to fend off rocket attacks, kidnappings and terrorist incursions. What Israel realizes, but the Arabs do not, is that hatred is a weapon of mass destruction. In this case, the Arabs are using it to destroy themselves.

SAMUEL R. LEWIS

Oak Hill

Federal police readiness

The article “Park Police survey shows doubt in chief, terror readiness” (Metropolitan, Feb. 21) highlights the U.S. Park Police’s understaffing and lack of funding, something that was stated years ago by former Chief Teresa Chambers.

I am in total agreement with the survey’s findings and fully support my labor committee chairman for the U.S. Park Police, Jim Austin, who is named in the story. The sad reality is that within the federal sector of law enforcement, you could substitute any number of police agencies that are charged with daily enforcement and protection duties.

The Federal Protective Service is considering major cuts in its police services, and the Department of Defense is giving away equipment, while many of the Defense Department officers lack the very same equipment. We can save the disparity in pay and benefits for another argument.

Many issues, such as readiness of officers, can be addressed with policy changes within the involved departments and agencies for little to no cost. We should learn from history and mistakes, not repeat them.

LOUIS CANNON

President

D.C. Fraternal Order of Police

Washington

Remember the Armenians

The editorial “Pelosi’s pandering against Turkey” (Feb. 20) includes numerous inaccuracies. For example, the first paragraph incorrectly states that Turkey “is a democracy.”

But really, is this all for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to “score some cheap political points and win additional votes,” as you claim? Didn’t the Democrats win the Congress? Mrs. Pelosi needs to be congratulated for her support of House Resolution 106 calling for the recognition of the Armenian genocide. Does the editorial board of The Washington Times consider it a waste of time to bring attention to an atrocity committed against a people that cries out for justice, if only in the form of recognition?

Failure to acknowledge the Armenian genocide mirrors those nations and individuals who do not acknowledge the Jewish Holocaust. After all, wasn’t it Adolf Hitler who said: “Who remembers the Armenians?” The passage of time or political expediency should never be used as proper justification for any country, especially that of the United States, to compromise our democratic values, principles or moral obligations. It’s a recipe for future atrocities to occur.

The editorial suggests that support of this resolution would hinder relations with Turkey a NATO ally and “damage our current ability to maintain Turkey’s cooperation in stabilizing Iraq …” What cooperation?

While I’m not privy to any so-called behind the scenes support, it is a fact that Turkey’s refusal to provide the use of its territory during the invasion of Iraq is only one example where it has displayed a behavior that is not consistent with that of “an ally of long standing” as the article states. There are many more examples.

Turkey’s interests in Iraq are to marginalize the Kurds and to control the oil-rich area of Kirkuk. U.S. interests are to keep peace and stability in a very volatile region.

U.S. interests can best be served by the achieving the goals of genuine democratic freedoms, political stability and economic progress in Turkey. It would be good for Turkey; good for Turkey’s neighbors; and good for U.S. interests.

NICK LARIGAKIS

Executive director

American Hellenic Institute

Washington

Beware the ‘blow back’

As we’ve seen demonstrated by the “unthinkables” of September 11, of Iran on track to develop nuclear weapons, and of the ideological intransigence of Hamas, “war is hell.” We must be prepared to work with the devil to win the war on terror and moderate its handmaiden, militant Islam.

For example, “As part of an overarching strategy,” James Lyons wrote Thursday in “An overarching strategy,” (Commentary) “we should also review our support for opposition groups within Iran.” He suggests, for instance, that we take the opposition group, “the Mujahideen-al Khalq off the State Department’s terror list …” While, he observes, “MEK is no friend of America,” it may have the access and interest in undercutting the Iranian regime.

Iran is not monolithic: Even other members of the power structure in Iran fear their president’s rhetoric is too incendiary, as detailed yesterday in the Page One article “Iranian leader’s rhetoric criticized.” Other members may be “reasoned” with.

But the president of Iran is truly an apocalyptic ideologue, unlike the powers in the former USSR who cynically exploited a communist ideology as a pretext for maintaining and extending their empire. Since elements in Iran support the tactics of suicide bombing, they might embrace destroying themselves in order to destroy their enemies, and therefore are not good candidates for deterrence.

We are dealing with the devil in the form of an extended “axis of evil” and we have to put every resource that might help us to win on the table, including war, as President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are saying.

We also must reserve the right to deal with unsavory characters in distasteful but symbiotic relationships, as necessary. (Seymour Hersh notwithstanding.) We need a counter-ideology. Exporting democracy creates “blow back,” as affirmed over and over again in the Middle East, i.e., Hamas in the Palestinian territories; Hezbollah in Lebanon; and even our midwived Shi’ite in Iraq.

While our adversaries and even allies suggest the United States is at fault for the Middle East going to hell in a handbasket, it seems instead that we are only recognizing and responding to an inevitability. But a word to the wise: Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is not the first historical figure to observe that “tragedy occurs when that which we most fear happens due to the laws of our own nature.”

ONA M. BUNCE

Bethesda


Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.

 

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide