- The Washington Times - Friday, January 12, 2007

Kennedy and Iraq

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, Massachusetts Democrat, told a group of fans giving him a standing ovation at the National Press Club on Tuesday that “Iraq is President Bush’s Vietnam” (“Kennedy proposal uncovers party rift,” Page 1, Wednesday).

It might be a little difficult for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, New York Democrat, as she eyes the Oval Office, to support Mr. Kennedy’s proposal for an up or down vote by the Senate on a “surge” in Iraq. There are many who will recall the consequences that resulted from her husband’s hasty withdrawal from Somalia, energizing its descent into anarchy and making it a refuge for al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden will be watching with great interest if the United States pulls another “Somalia” in Iraq, as Mr. Kennedy urges.

Bin Laden also may learn a lesson from the U.S. air strikes in Somalia on Sunday, just as the Bush administration learned a lesson when President Clinton’s administration failed to rid the world of bin Laden in 1996 as he and associates in terrorism flew from Sudan to Afghanistan with no apparent effort by Mr. Clinton to shoot down his chartered plane. September 11 might never have resulted in a day of infamy.


Palm Desert, Calif.

Left of center

The social and political stance of the National Council of Churches, headquartered in New York, has long been a thorn in the side of mainstream Protestants. Since the mid-1950s, the NCC’s pronouncements and comments on social and foreign-policy issues usually have been left of center. Through the years, NCC officials often have sided with the new “liberation theologians” who support socialist and Marxist causes in the Third World. At home, the NCC usually has found the left-wing Democrats congenial bedfellows.

Thus, the Page 1 story on the fact-studded Institute on Religion and Democracy report has an inaccurate headline (“How secular donors move church agenda,” Thursday). Strapped by declining moral and financial support from mainline Protestant bodies, the NCC turned to secular foundations and individuals sharing its liberal agenda. Birds of a feather.

The story, apart from the lead, is accurate. It was logical for the NCC to seek funds from men such as Ted Turner and George Soros and such organizations as MoveOn.org and the Ford Foundation.

The small but influential Institute on Religion and Democracy deserves praise for its report exposing the continued left-wing agenda of the NCC, which often includes more than formal pronouncements.

During the Reagan years, for example, NCC’s president actively lobbied U.S. senators, urging them to oppose the confirmation of conservative nominees. In some cases, the NCC made common cause with secular leftist American groups as well as with Tass, Izvestia and communist newspapers in New York, Havana and Amsterdam.

The global ecumenical equivalent of the NCC is the World Council of Churches, based in Geneva. Generally, its social pronouncements are less “radical” than those of the NCC, in part because of the influence of the more conservative churches from Africa.

As a former executive staff member of the NCC (1952 to 1954), I fear that the council has betrayed the hope of its member churches for wise and morally informed advice on the pressing domestic and foreign policy issues that face all Americans.


Founding president

Ethics and Public Policy Center

Chevy Chase

Speed counts — but so does coaching

Barker Davis’ analysis of the Florida-Ohio State college football championship (“Florida quick to reveal an edge,” Sports, Wednesday) is generally correct. It makes the valid points that speed kills and speed was first emphasized in the college game by Miami (Jimmy Johnson) and Florida State (Bobby Bowden). What is omitted is that most of the rest of America’s football programs figured out long ago that they needed faster athletes. Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame are much faster today than they were 15 years ago. In the late ‘80s, teams such as Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska and even Florida stopped scheduling Miami because the Hurricanes’ speed, power and cockiness resulted in embarrassing margins of victory.

Today, however, both Miami and Florida State have become mere shadows of themselves. Therein lies the critical point: Speed is not enough. The Hurricanes and Seminoles became sadly predictable, and their opponents, who became appreciably swifter, were able to stop them. What cost Larry Coker, the head coach at Miami from 2001 to 2006, his job was that in a few short years, he reduced Miami from a unique football team to an ordinary football team.

The solution for the Florida Gators was Urban Meyers. His secret, not identified by Mr. Davis, was that he took speedy athletes and made them unpredictable, using their speed and athleticism in unexpected ways. Ohio State had no idea what Florida was going to do from play to play. What defeated the Buckeyes was less superior players than superior coaches, whose creativity far exceeded anything Ohio State could muster. That’s the new lesson for the nation’s colleges: Get speedier, but also get smarter.


Columbia, Md.

And remember this…

The article “Pontiff-to-be helped thousands of Hungary’s Jews,” (Page 1, Jan. 2), notes that by July 7, 1944 deportations of Jews were stopped. A relevant detail regarding the July events is worth recalling.

Hungary had enacted a series of laws that increasingly restricted the civil liberties of Jews. With the exception of the massacres of partisans and Jews in Novi Sad in 1942 (whose perpetrators fled to avoid prosecution by Hungarian authorities only to return to Hungary with the German occupying army in 1944) and the 16,000 alien Jews who were returned to German-held Ukraine in 1941, Hungary refused Nazi Germany’s demands that it deport Hungarian Jews or participate in the Final Solution. Thousands of Jews from surrounding states actually found refuge in Hungary whose Jewish population exceeded 800,000 in March 1944.

When Hitler’s patience ran out with the conservative leaders in Budapest and their peace-feelers and contacts with Western allies, Nazi Germany invaded Hungary in March 1944, drastically changing the situation of Hungary and the Jews. Hitler installed a pro-German government. The Nazi invasion lead to the destruction of Hungary’s Jewry, which had survived under the conservative government. Adolf Eichmann arrived to direct the deportation of Hungary’s Jews so that by the end of June, virtually the entire Jewish population of the provinces had been deported.

Until July, the more than 200,000 Jews of Budapest were protected from deportation. Consequently, and at the instigation of the Nazi occupiers, Laszlo Baky, a secretary of state in the Ministry of Interior for “Jewish Affairs,” planned to begin and quickly complete the deportation of Jews from the capital. Col. Ferenc Koszorus learned of Baky’s plans, volunteered his services, ordered the First Armored Division under his command to occupy strategic areas of Budapest on July 5, 1944 and thwarted Baky’s plans, forcing Baky to capitulate and evacuate his forces from the capital. As a direct consequence of Col. Koszorus’ and his loyal troops’ swift, bold and unparalleled action, the Jews of Budapest were saved from deportation, permitting many of them to survive the Holocaust. It also allowed Raoul Wallenberg, who arrived in Budapest in July, and others to save lives.

Tsvi Erez, writing in Israel, noted that this was the “one case in which an Axis power used military force for the purpose of preventing the deportation of Jews.” In 1991, Col. Koszorus, who fled Hungary to avoid certain execution by the Gestapo, was posthumously promoted to the rank of general and his memory is honored by a plaque placed near the famous Dohany Street Synagogue in Budapest.


Great Falls

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