- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Support the troops, support the mission

I would like to take a moment to respond to a comment made by Heather Harts’ohorn as reported in the article “Anti-war protesters echo Vietnam,” (Page 1, Sunday). She remarked of counterprotesting Vietnam veterans: “Do they want [soldiers] to stay in Iraq until they all come home in Ziploc bags?”

Nobody likes war. Nobody wants this war to continue any longer than it must. The reason I stood on the side of those supporting the troops and their mission is very simple: Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. We need to finish the job we started. One cannot say he or she supports the troops but spit on what they are doing. Our troops deserve better than that. We have the right to stand up and protest because they are there to give us that right. Her comments were not only off base and insensitive, but also cruel and unnecessary.

People like Cindy Sheehan are dishonoring their children’s sacrifices, along with the sacrifices of every man and woman who has died in the service of this great nation of ours. If you support the troops, support them by sending care packages and lobbying for better equipment so that they will stay safer, not by protesting what they are doing. It merely gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

Demanding that we withdraw signifies to terrorists that they are winning, and once they have that inch, they will take a mile.

I support the troops and the mission. God bless America, and God bless our brave military.

SAL ROBERTSON

Bowie

Criminals and guns

William G. Garrett’s response Friday (“The Second Amendment and freedom”) to my letter of the day before (“Guns and the Second Amendment) was flawed. The irony is that we fought a war more than 230 years ago to prevent one Englishman from telling us what our rights were, and yet Mr. Garrett, a Briton, deigns to do just that.The flaws, however, are not so simple. It is as if I said, “The moon is not made of green cheese,” then argued why, and he said, “Yes it is.” Restating the point I refuted does not make that point true.

He compares the United States’ and Japan’s gun-death rates using an often cited, never attributed and erroneous ratio of 117 U.S. gun deaths for every one Japanese gun death. The implication is that there must be similarities between the two nations. Nothing could be further from the truth. The cultures, governments and rights here and there are completely different. For example, in Japan, the police can come to your home anytime, unannounced, to “interview” you as to the “appropriateness” of your household. They hold dossiers on all citizens. Is Mr. Garrett’s argument that we should adopt this?

The biggest flaw is what he left out of his letter.America shares a common heritage in customs, laws and rights with the United Kingdom; thus, comparisons to that country are stronger, but not complete. You might think he would want to compare the two because in 1998, England outlawed handguns, but he didn’t. Since that time, violent crime and homicide rates have skyrocketed in the United Kingdom. Exact figures are not available, as the English government refuses to release them.

It has gotten so bad that England has armed many of its police, who traditionally were not armed. It has gotten so bad that England has outlawed replica guns. Still the crime rate rises, and still there are calls for stricter gun control. Everyone but the criminals is obeying.

TIM DUDENHOEFER

Silver Spring

D.C. duality

The editorial “The mayor’s fire chief” (Saturday) is in error in praising Mayor Adrian Fenty and his fire-chief designee, Dennis L. Rubin of Atlanta, for scrapping the mayor’s election-year promise to free D.C.’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) from the fire department.

The task force to fix the EMS, appointed as part of the settlement of the $20 million lawsuit against EMS for the wrongful death of New York Times editor David E. Rosenbaum in January 2006, has yet to be fully formed. it has not yet met, held any public hearings or made any recommendations. In addition, the mayor has yet to appoint citizen representation to the Rosenbaum task force although the public is the primary consumer of the EMS system.

Based on its long history of subpar management, EMS must be a separate agency (equal to the fire and police departments). Once EMS is allowed to manage itself, we will see a noticeable improvement over the more than 15-year failure of the dual role/cross-training model, which requires all firefighters to become emergency medical technicians as a condition of employment and entices paramedics to become firefighters. (Would anyone want his primary physician to be forced to double as a CPA or a nurse to function as a plumber as well?)

The editorial congratulating the mayor for breaking a significant campaign promise and urging the demise of a separate EMS system before it is even born was premature and uninformed. Breaking the promise will leave the city’s residents with the same failed EMS service that helped kill David Rosenbaum.

We also question Mr. Fenty’s recent decision to place D.C. fire officials on the Rosenbaum task force. If this current plan goes forward, the outcome will be guaranteed. The task force will decide that the fire service leadership is a little flawed, a fall guy or two may be moved around in the department and the rank and file will be blamed for the lion’s share of the department’s incompetence.

That task force will see what the department wants it to see. The task force, appointed by both the Rosenbaum family and the District government, has to be one that can shed honest light on the department at all levels of the operation, top to bottom, and is willing to do so. That is what you should have requested.

GEORGE R. CLARK

President

Federation of Citizens

Associations of D.C.

Washington

Actions speak louder than words

Tulin Daloglu offers us some advice on our “enormous challenge in communicating effectively with the Muslim world” (“Dealing with Islam,” Op-Ed, March 13). Her piece would appear to be an excellent illustration of the challenge.

Miss Daloglu says: “In this trap of conflicts, it would be easy for non-Muslims to assume that the teachings of Islam encourage behavior that is uncivilized and immoderate.” I am a non-Muslim, and though I can’t speak for others, I have never assumed anything about the behavior of Muslims.

However, I have deduced some things. I have drawn my deductions from the acts of many Muslims, living and dead, and the statements of many Muslims, living and dead, written and oral. As it happens, “uncivilized” and “immoderate” are words that have come to mind.

Miss Daloglu says: “Muslims must feel secure in their interactions with non-Muslims before those debates can even begin.” Would it also help if non-Muslims felt some security? Would non-Muslim security be enhanced if some Muslims would stop declaring their intention to kill as many “infidels” as limitations of our physical world allow?

Miss Daloglu quotes Ali Aslan, Washington correspondent for the conservative Turkish newspaper Zaman, as saying he objects to the use of the term Islamist in the West. “They are all making a mistake, because the term turns the religion of Islam into an ideology.” It is fitting that Miss Daloglu, described at the end of her piece as “a freelance writer,” should believe in the power of words. But it is not words at work here.

I would suggest that it is not the use of the term Islamist or any other that has “turn[ed] the religion of Islam into an ideology.” However, the words and actions of many Muslims, as well as the weakness and inaction of many so-called moderate Muslims, are taking a large part of Islam in the direction of ideology — and a very dangerous and destructive ideology at that.

W.L. MOORE

Vienna

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