- The Washington Times - Monday, March 19, 2007

God, guns and the Constitution

Alistair Crowley, an English writer and mystic, once said, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.”

I was reminded of this after reading the letter by Norman Hendrickson (“Understanding the Second Amendment,” Saturday), who, ignoring the clear intent of the Second Amendment, wanders back through history to the Magna Carta as if the situation of the civilian population had never changed. Eventually he talks of rights not coming from government, but from our Creator, above the meddling of man.

So, having ignored the written Constitution, his real argument seems to be that the Creator, the Trinity that includes the loving, the compassionate, turn-the-other-cheek Jesus Christ, would be in favor of all citizens being allowed to own killing weapons.

I think not.




Progress in Azerbaijan

Jason Motlagh correctly highlights Azerbaijan’s strategic importance for the United States and the Euro-Atlantic community in terms of security and diversity of energy supplies (“Ex-Azeri official held for 17 months,” Briefings, World, Saturday). Yet Mr. Motlagh failed to note the reforms and steady progress made by Azerbaijan both in institution building and economic development under the leadership of President Ilham Aliyev.

The parliamentary election of 2005, in spite of some irregularities, generally compared favorably to the previous polls. Moreover, the government made an effort to address concerns by ordering recounts and canceling results in a number of districts where the outcome was in question.

I also was surprised to see former Minister of Economic Development Farhad Aliyev described as a “pro-West reformer.” Many people who complain about corruption used to name him and former Minister of Health Ali Insanov, both currently on trial, among those amassing illegal fortunes and controlling monopolies.

Even more puzzling is the reference to Mr. Aliyev’s being punished for his supposed “pro-Western views.” After all, for Azerbaijan, pro-Western orientation clearly has been at the core of the policies for this president and his predecessor, Heydar Aliyev, and has made the nation into America’s reliable regional ally.

Claiming the mantle of a political prisoner may be a convenient defense nowadays, but it seems misleading in this case. Furthermore, it might be a good idea to see the trial come to conclusion before passing a judgment.


Consul general of Azerbaijan

Los Angeles

As the world turns

The confluence of two Commentary columns in Sunday’s edition should provide an epiphany for every American.

Arnold Beichman’s clarion call concerning the threat of Iran and its nuclear propensity is reminiscent of Winston Churchill’s crying in the wilderness during the 1930s before the Nazi juggernaut was full throttle (“Ramping up on Iran”).

Churchill cautioned that Britain must address immediately Hitler’s inevitable onslaught or pay the full price later. The rest is history. Mr. Beichman quotes Henry Kissinger’s fear of a nuclear-armed Iran: “That is the fundamental issue we must face. And our only choice is either to prevent it, or to pay the price of not having prevented it… But above all we have to know that this is not a tactical issue. This is a fundamental issue of a historical turn.”

Mr. Beichman echoes these sentiments, warning that a nuclear Iran will assure that “proliferation becomes a fact of 21st century life … suicide bombers will have taken over,” and detente will be impossible. Referring to Newt Gingrich’s fear of a “second Holocaust,” Mr. Beichman urges as a first step “weeping and enforceable sanctions — now.”

Georgie Anne Geyer has a warmer, fuzzier approach (“Voters’ quest”). We must return to that “underestimated and unsexy political fellow: ‘Moderation’ — in foreign and domestic policy, certainly, but above all in civil behavior and in rational thinking and rhetoric.” We must “support the most intelligent moderate for president … speak out against … rhetorical murderers of moderation” and stop “embarking upon these unnecessary wars” we “keep losing.”

Neville Chamberlain, a moderate in foreign policy who was opposed to war with Hitler, could not have said it better. His moderation ultimately resulted in World War II, Pearl Harbor, an East European bloc of the Soviet Union and an age of the very nuclear weapons we fear in Iran.

Miss Geyer describes Sen. Barack Obama, former Sen. John Edwards and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as having “good manners.” Presumably, they are front-runners to be her “intelligent, moderate” presidential candidate — the one who will be responsible for preventing the second Holocaust to which Mr. Gingrich refers.

Thanks, but I’ll take a sexy Mr. Churchill instead.



Qualified or not

Clifford May manages to insert two remarkable assertions into a single sentence in his most recent musing (“Libby trial afterlife,” Commentary, Saturday).

He writes that Valerie Plame “persuaded her superiors to send her husband on a mission for which he was unqualified.” This came less than 24 hours after Mrs. Plame stated, under oath, that she had not recommended her husband for the Niger mission and was, in fact, ambivalent regarding his participation.

If Mr. May has any evidence that Mrs. Plame perjured herself, it is his duty to present said evidence to the investigatory panel convened to examine the issue. Otherwise, he needs to apologize to Mrs. Plame.

As for Joseph Wilson’s qualifications to undertake the mission, he previously had served as the general services officer to Niger, the country in question. Mr. Wilson also had received diplomatic postings to the countries of Togo, South Africa, Burundi, Congo and Gabon while serving under Presidents Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Finally, he had helped shape and direct Africa policy for the National Security Council. This clearly was a man well-versed in the affairs of both the country of Niger and the entire continent of Africa.

I would submit that Mr. May has been parroting the Bush administration line for so long that he confuses cronyism and campaign contributions with actual qualifications.



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