Friday, July 6, 2007

>Chertoff should resign

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff should resign. Mr. Chertoff, a strong supporter of President Bush’s immigration and amnesty bill, has chosen to scapegoat Congress for his lack of willingness to enforce our borders (“Chertoff rebukes Congress over bill,” Page 1, Monday).

Truth be told, Mr. Chertoff has never been an advocate for enforcement and has been contemptuous of real border security almost from day one. Last year, when Congress appropriated money for 700 miles of border fencing, Mr. Chertoff insisted he knew better and, with the White House’s blessing, insisted that he might consider instead a “virtual fence,” which is another way of saying he would do virtually nothing in the way of real border enforcement, relying instead on public relations and photo ops.

Mr. Chertoff’s remarks Sunday — that the $4.4 billion for border protection Mr. Bush pledged in exchange for votes for his pro-amnesty legislation was to be obtained only from the penalties and fees collected from immigrants had the legislation passed — tell as much about his own disingenuousness on this issue as they do about the president’s. Mr. Chertoff’s full attention should be focused on enforcing existing immigration laws. If he cannot do that, he should step down and make way for someone who takes seriously the job of defending the nation’s borders.


Montgomery Village

Discredit the ideology

Negotiating with Iran to dismantle its nuclear program is a ticket to nowhere (“No illusions on Iran,” Commentary, Monday).

Nuclear negotiations appear to be successful vis-a-vis North Korea, as the ruling regimes’ supporters are already disillusioned with the non-performing communist ideology there. North Koreans are no longer interested in exporting their failed system elsewhere. From this vantage point, nukes are a disadvantage when the country is faced with more economic sanctions from America and its allies.

In contrast, Iran’s ruling regime is at the forefront of an Islamic conquest, with Israel among the top on its list. The ruling medieval ayatollahs see the religious ideology to which they belong as destined to rule the world. Nukes are an integral part of this conquest plan.

As I argue in my recently published book, “The Art of War on Terror: Triumphing Over Political Islam and the Axis of Jihad,” unless the underlying ideology is discredited, it is unlikely that the regime in Iran or other Sunni extremists will stop their quest for nukes or terror directed at unbelievers.

Perhaps the time has come to tell these folks that information taken down in leaves, stones or people’s memory and then reproduced in the form of a “holy” book more than 1,000 years ago couldn’t possibly be accurate or complete enough to be called God’s revelations.


Coram, N.Y.

What does family friendly mean?

An article headlined “Chores top children in marriage” (Nation, Sunday) discussed the importance of children in a successful marriage. The Pew Research Center conducted a survey on marriage and parenting, identifying nine factors associated with a successful marriage. The survey results indicate that children are less important than they were when the last survey was taken, in 1990, having fallen from third to eighth place.

Especially curious to me was an opinion offered by Virginia Rutter, a sociology professor at Framingham State College. Her reasoning for the downward trend is as follows: “he shifting views may be linked in part to what she called America’s relative lack of family-friendly workplace policies, such as paid leave and subsidized child care.”

Yet, looking at the statistics, it appears that the policies she is promoting have an opposite effect on the standing of children (if a correlation can be made at all). Since 1990, expenditures by both private and public concerns have increased significantly with respect to what are called “family-friendly” workplaces. This should not come as a surprise because companies and agencies are responding to a market condition: Productive persons are seeking “family-friendly” environments as places of employment. If a company or agency wants to hold on to such employees or recruit them they often offer such accommodations, if they’re affordable. This has been the trend the past 20 years or so.

We have two opposite trends: The importance of children is decreasing while family-friendly environs and subsidized child care are increasing.

If one desires to correlate the two, it seems clear that increasing family-friendly workplace policies and subsidized child care is indicative of children being less important to people in “successful” marriages. (The cause-effect relationship could possibly be swapped as well.)

That, in turn, renders another realization: The term “family-friendly” (when it comes to employment) very well may be a misnomer. In fact, such policies may be encouraging a view of children that, however subtly, values them as “conveniences” (or, therefore, inconveniences) rather than precious innocent souls who find contentment and stability through parental interaction and proximity.


Upper Marlboro

‘Territorial sovereignty’

President Chen Shui-bian writes in his Op-Ed column “Beijing’s ‘one China’” (Tuesday) that “Taiwan is a sovereign, independent, peace-loving, and democratic country; its sovereignty rests in its 23 million people.” However, Mr. Chen’s knowledge of international law is faulty. On Oct. 25, 2004, when Secretary of State Colin Powell announced, “Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation,” he obviously was not speaking of the commonly discussed notion of “popular sovereignty,” whose main tenet revolves around the people being able to elect their own representatives to the government. Mr. Powell was speaking of “territorial sovereignty.” Importantly, Mr. Powell knows that territorial sovereignty is held by a government; it is not held by the people.

At the surrender ceremonies for Japanese troops in Taiwan on Oct. 25, 1945, officials of the Republic of China (ROC) announced “Taiwan Retrocession Day,” saying that the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan had been transferred to the ROC on that day. However, the Allies did not recognize any such transfer, and indeed, such an “interpretation” is a violation of international law. Under international law, Oct. 25, 1945, only marked the beginning of the military occupation of Taiwan. The United States is the principal occupying power, and the Republic of China is a subordinate occupying power. When ROC officials moved their central government to occupied Taiwan in December 1949, the ROC became a government in exile.

In the San Francisco Peace Treaty of April 28, 1952, the territorial sovereignty of Taiwan was not awarded to China (neither the ROC nor the People’s Republic of China). Hence, Taiwan remains occupied territory. The position of the ROC on Taiwan is as stated above: (1) a subordinate occupying power, beginning Oct. 25, 1945, and (2) a government in exile beginning mid-December 1949. As such, the ROC exercises effective territorial control over Taiwan, but not sovereignty.

Unfortunately, the U.S. State Department has kept all of these facts hidden from the American public and members of Congress for more than 50 years. It is high time that executive branch officials admit that under the provisions of the Senate-ratified San Francisco Peace Treaty, Taiwan is “an overseas territory under the jurisdiction of the United States of America.”


Taipei, Taiwan

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