- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2007

War readiness

The Wednesday editorial “Defense underinvestment” opined that the fiscal 2008 defense-spending blueprint will, if adopted, underinvest in the Defense Department.

I would suggest that it is equally likely to misinvest in the Defense Department if it continues procurement for Cold War weaponry such as the F-22 Raptor fighter, the DDX-2000 destroyer and an anti-ballistic-missile system that is demonstrably unable to hit targets. It’s a highly dubious argument that another aircraft carrier group, such as the USS George H.W. Bush, represents a stewardly way to invest in defense.

Army Chief of Staff Peter Schoomaker and many others have argued that modern warfare that requires “boots on the ground” demands investment in systems such as the Stryker light-armored vehicle, armored Humvees and other infantry and armored inventories. It requires a modern airlift and sealift capability as well as amphibious warfare systems. It requires a tanker fleet to replace the Boeing 707s that have been flying almost since the Cold War began. It requires conversion of the submarine fleet to cruise-missile launch platforms and for clandestine warfare.

It often is said that militaries habitually prepare for the last war, i.e., combat systems designed for enemies they already have overcome, not for the coming war. In our case, the coming war is upon us, yet we still are budgeting for the Cold War. Unless this changes, Congress would be wise to resist the temptation to substantially increase the Defense Department budget.

DAVID M. HUDELSON

Horse Shoe, N.C.

Throwing stones

I was disappointed to see how much electricity Al Gore uses (“Al Gore’s glass house,” Editorial, Wednesday). I hope your criticism will help him better practice what he preaches.

However, your editorial wasn’t completely fair. It pointed out that he paid $30,000 in utilities last year without noting that he voluntarily paid extra for electricity from wind, solar and renewable methane to match 100 percent of his demand.

Further, I must challenge the premise that those who use more energy than average surrender their right to advocate policies that would result in less energy demand. Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue. If sinners weren’t allowed to speak, our democracy would be far less vibrant.

CARL HENN

Rockville

Bishop Robinson’s defiance

The informative news article, “Robinson urges Episcopalians to stand by gays,” (Nation, Wednesday) lays bare the defiance of the “Episcopal Church’s first practicing homosexual bishop.” Flaunting centuries of church history and doctrine, Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire has urged the U.S. branch of the Anglican Church to ignore pleas from the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, head of the 77-million-member worldwide Anglican Communion.

Addressing the widening gulf between traditional and politically correct American Episcopalians, Archbishop Williams recently declared: “Because I am an ordinary sinful human being, I fear the situation slipping out of my control” and that schism will “drive people into recrimination and bitterness.” Indeed, it already has.

Giving in to the Anglican Communion’s plea for unity issued in Tanzania last week, said Bishop Robinson, would “sacrifice the lives and ministries anddignity of its gay and lesbian members on the alter of unity.”

That simply is not the truth. Today the Episcopal Church can and does minister to all its members regardless of their sexual orientation or political preferences. The issue rather is whether an openly practicing homosexual who flaunts his lifestyle should be ordained as a bishop contrary to Anglican law and tradition.

Already thousands of Episcopalians living in northern Virginia and working in Washington are saddened and have voted overwhelmingly to leave the American Episcopal Church over this bitter controversy.

ERNEST W. LEFEVER

Senior fellow

Ethics and Public policy Center

Washington

Indigestible

At first reading, my reaction to Bob Barr’s op-ed piece (“Immigration indigestion,” Commentary, Friday) was to completely disagree with its thesis that Bank of America’s recent actions should be ignored by Congress, because the focus of most discussions has been on illegal aliens. However, he has given us something more to consider.

Social Security numbers were, as he clearly states, intended to be used for no purpose other than Social Security itself. I’m not certain how many citizens don’t have one, nor why not, since it is virtually impossible to do any business without one. But the case of legal immigrants who are applying for citizenship who don’t have one is worth considering. Ignoring the presence of illegal aliens is a rational action but would not be my preferred solution to the problems presented by the ongoing invasion of our country.

Having visited local Social Security offices and having witnessed illegal aliens dealing with their Social Security numbers, and having learned that Bank of America’s initial offerings and advertisements were concentrated in the Los Angeles area, I apparently jumped to the conclusion that illegal aliens were the main target and beneficiaries of their no-ID-needed loan programs. I haven’t totally jumped back at this point.

Finding myself in large, but not full, agreement with his points, I can only nitpick that it was not someone in Washington who coined the phrase he quotes about consistency. It was Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay, “Self Reliance,” who wrote: “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Mr. Barr omitted the word foolish, which distorts the quote. Emerson’s statement was not a blanket condemnation of all consistency but only that which is foolish.

TED DUKE

Reston

Frightening echo

The editorial “Inoculating” (Wednesday) suggested that human papillomavirus (HPV), as a sexually transmitted disease, is different from the diseases children already are inoculated against because it is not easily transmitted. Tetanus, however, is not a communicable disease, and I am not aware that any children are more likely to step on rusty nails from having been vaccinated.

I certainly agree that parents with strong feelings about the vaccination should be able to decline it, just as they can decline all the other vaccinations even for highly contagious diseases because of their beliefs even though declining puts other children at increased risk.

Treating this vaccine differently because of the method by which the disease is caught does not seem reasonable because the parents choosing to leave their daughters at a 70 percent higher risk of cancer to order to safeguard their chastity is perhaps rather excessive and has echoes of the honor killings we consider so barbaric.

JOAN CROW-EPPS

Soldotna, Alaska


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