- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Gore’s sweet deal

I was happy to see a report on organized opposition to the notion of human-induced, catastrophic global warming (“Global warming labeled a ‘scam,’ ” Page 1, yesterday). I am always suspicious of liberal causes because they rarely live up to the hype of Hollywood elites and often have a hidden agenda.

Between the one-sided reporting by the liberal media and award ceremonies that pay homage to the promoter in chief, former Vice President Al Gore, consumers are bombarded with a well-orchestrated campaign to scare us into abandoning our “capitalist excesses” in order to save the planet.

“The Great Global Warming Scandal” will air on British television this week. The show’s producers claim that much of what is presented as fact in Mr. Gore’s Oscar-winning documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is really fiction. They have assembled some well-known scientists who disagree with the conclusions reached in Mr. Gore’s film. It should be an interesting program, but I won’t hold my breath waiting to see it on taxpayer-funded PBS.

We have all seen the ads urging us to reduce our “carbon footprint.” Mr. Gore’s carbon footprint is astounding. His mansion in Tennessee reportedly is consuming 20 times the fossil-fuel-generated energy of the average American household. His frequent globe-hopping in private jets is another no-no for the rest of us, but not Mr. Gore.

You see, he offsets his carbon gluttony by purchasing “carbon credits” from a company called Generation Investment Management. Oh, by the way, Mr. Gore co-founded the company and is its chairman. It’s a lot like the practice of buying “indulgences,” which caused a split in the Roman Catholic Church when Martin Luther started the Reformation, but it’s an even sweeter deal because Mr. Gore, in effect, gets to keep the money. Are the American people really dumb enough to fall for this scheme?

RICHARD W. RESSLER

North Olmsted, Ohio

Kirkuk’s future

I write in response to the editorial “The Kirkuk referendum time bomb” (Monday) which argues against holding the referendum on Kirkuk according to the timetable and procedures described in the Iraqi constitution.

Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution calls for a lawful resolution and strict timeframe to address all disputed areas and Kirkuk’s status, including a census and referendum to be held this year. It will be recalled that Saddam Hussein’s regime systematically and brutally altered the Kurdish and demographic character of Kirkuk by forcibly displacing more than 120,000 Kurds, Turkmen and Christians from Kirkuk and replacing them with Arab Iraqis primarily from southern Iraq.

While other communities also suffered, Iraqi Kurds bore the disproportionate burden of suffering under Saddam’s so-called Arabization campaign in Kirkuk. The process and referendum called for in the Iraqi constitution is an essential step in closing this terrible chapter from Saddam’s era and in promoting reconciliation among all of Iraq’s communities — Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Christians.

Regarding Kirkuk’s oil reserves, which, as was noted in the editorial, accounts for approximately 8 percent of all of the oil reserves in Iraq: readers should know that the Kurdistan Regional Government has agreed in the draft Federal Oil Law soon to be submitted as a package to the Iraqi parliament that revenues from Kirkuk will be shared throughout Iraq.

Oil should therefore not figure in discussions regarding the future status of Kirkuk. The referendum has nothing to do with oil; it is about the preference of the people of Kirkuk either to live within the Kurdistan region of Iraq or not.

The editorial implies that a reason for delaying the referendum is intimidation and terrorism, including by al Qaeda affiliated terrorist groups, who have stepped up their murderous activities in Kirkuk and who seek to disrupt the transition to democracy and stability in the Kurdistan Region and throughout Iraq.

Let me say for the record that the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq will never give in to terrorism and stands as a full partner with the United States and the government of Iraq in defeating and bringing to justice those terrorists who kill Kurds, Iraqis and Americans.

With regard to the KRG’s relations with Turkey, both Kurdistan Region’s President Masoud Barzani and KRG Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani have repeatedly said that strengthening and deepening Kurdish and Iraqi ties with Turkey is a top priority of the Kurdistan Regional Government. The KRG welcomes the positive signals from Turkey and is ready to immediately begin direct, bilateral discussions with Turkey to look into all the outstanding issues.

The Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq appreciates the support of the United States in respecting the Iraqi constitutional process on Kirkuk. In the interest of a stable, free and democratic Iraq, we ask and anticipate Iraq’s neighbors and all concerned parties to do the same.

FALAH MUSTAFA BAKIR

Director

Office of Foreign Relations

Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq

Erbil, Kurdistan-Iraq

Making D.C. smoke-free

The editorial about the city’s new smoke-free law overlooked something key (“Smoking ban update,” Friday), and that is Congress’ crackdown on lobbyists’ purchase of meals for lawmakers and their staffs. Perhaps this, or the fact that we had one of the coldest Februarys on record, had something do so with reports of business being down in establishments near the Capitol.

Anecdotal evidence is just that — anecdotal. W can name plenty of bars that have been packed since the smoke-free law took effect and whose managers say their business is doing just fine. It is interesting that you named only restaurants near the Capitol, which are most likely to be affected by the new lobby law.

Next time I read a story about a couple of businesses saying their receipts are down, I hope the headline reads “business down after passage of lobby law.”

ANGELA BRADBERY

Co-founder

Smokefree DC

Washington

A mine-free Central America

A piece in the Feb. 27 “Briefly” section titled “Land mines still pose dangers” suggests that Nicaragua has made little progress in alleviating the threat from land mines placed there during the 1980s. That is not the case.

Since 1993, the United States has spent $30 million to assist four Central American republics in clearing minefields and has trained over 500 of their military personnel in humanitarian demining techniques. This effort has succeeded. Three of the four —Costa Rica, Guatemala and Honduras—are now “mine impact free” and a fourth, Nicaragua, expects to become so this year. While “mine impact free” does not mean that every single land mine has been removed, it does indicate that landmines no longer pose a significant threat to the health, social, or economic well-being of the people living in those countries.

RICHARD G. KIDD

Director

Office of Weapons Removal and

Abatement

Department of State

Washington


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