In the article “Israel eyes U.N. force for Gaza border” (Page 1, Monday), The Washington Times reports that “Hamas militants have for months fired crude rockets at the Israeli town of Sderot, usually with little effect.” More than 100 rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists from the nearby Gaza Strip have hit Israel in the past week. That is in addition to the 147 that reached Israeli territory between the start of a “cease-fire” in November and May 16. If hundreds of terrorist rockets had been striking a Washington suburb of comparable size — say, Fairfax City — frequently paralyzing daily life, occasionally killing residents, and causing up to one-third of the population to leave, The Times no doubt would useother descriptions than “usually with little effect.” Intolerable, for one.
Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America
‘Guam is American soil’
The Heritage Foundation’s Ed Feulner wrote that the Guam Loyalty Recognition Act, passed overwhelmingly by the House and now before the Senate, is merely a reparations giveaway — certain to open American wallets to Bosnians, Afghans and any other folks from foreign lands where American troops have served (“Wrong way on reparations,” Commentary, Monday).
Just days before Mr. Feulner’s rock-ribbed “not-one-penny” stand in The Washington Times, two U.S. servicemen from Guam were killed in Somalia. In point of fact, Guam, with a population of about 100,000 Americans, is in double figures for home-grown young people killed while wearing American uniforms. In Vietnam, Guam lost more Americans per capita than any of the states — 74.
Guam is American soil, and the people of Guam are America’s most loyal citizens. Mr. Feulner equates the Americans of Guam with Bosnians, Serbs, Iraqis and Filipinos. Those are citizens of other countries; Guam is American.
The Guam Loyalty Recognition Act is not a reparations scam, but Mr. Feulner paints it with that broad brush. He speaks to the values of people who step over a buck to pick up a penny.
Guam is America’s most forward-strategic base in the Pacific. The people of Guam are making room for 8,000 more U.S. Marines evicted from Okinawa; Guam is within striking distance of North Korean and Chinese missiles; Guam has never turned its back on America.
Citizenship on the cheap
I never thought I’d live to see the day when the president of the United States would ask American citizens to take a hike. Anyone who thinks the “immigration deal” (otherwise known as amnesty) will stop the invasion of our nation is living in dreamland (“Illegals bill sinks Bush job approval,”Sunday). President Bush claims that the new immigration deal will bring us “closer to an immigration system that enforces our laws and upholds the great American tradition of welcoming those who share our values and our love of freedom,” and I say “horsefeathers.”
I’m retired and collect benefits. Once the amnestied illegal aliens lay claim to remunerations they deem right by their use of false numbers and identification, what will happen to our Social Security trust fund? What about all the other safety nets generations of Americans have struggled for?
While many claim these amnestied newcomers will become “good citizens,” I have my doubts. What kind of democracy do we have if American citizens can be sold out by those in the highest elected office, including our president?
LOST in time
Frank Gaffney Jr.’s most recent screed against U.S. ratification of the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention (“LOST at the Helm,” Commentary, May 15) takes to task virtually everyone who has urged U.S. acceptance of the LOS Convention, which has been ratified by 152 states and the European Commission and has been in force since 1994. In so doing, he reiterates time-worn myths about the convention, among them:
Myth 1: Joining the convention would surrender or compromise U.S. sovereignty. On the contrary, some international observers have characterized the convention as a “U.S. land grab” as it expands U.S. sovereignty and rights throughout extensive maritime territory and over natural resources off America’s 95,000-mile coastlines. It provides a 12-mile territorial sea subject to U.S. sovereignty, U.S. sovereign rights over resources within a 200-mile exclusive economic zone, and U.S. sovereign rights over offshore resources (including minerals) to the outer edge of the continental margin, which extends well beyond 200 miles in several areas. Also, the navigational provisions, especially for international straits passage, ensure that U.S. warships and commercial vessels have global maritime mobility and access, without requiring “permission slips” from foreign capitals.
Myth 2: The convention is a U.N. treaty and therefore does not serve U.S. interests. The convention is not the United Nations; it simply was negotiated under U.N. auspices, as are many important international agreements from which the U.S. benefits, such as the Anti-Corruption Convention and the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings. The Law of the Sea Convention is just another treaty that serves America’s interests at home and abroad.
Myth 3: The convention would permit an international tribunal to frustrate the U.S. sea services. No international tribunal would have jurisdiction over the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard. Disputes concerning military activities are excluded from the convention’s dispute-resolution provisions, and the United States has the right to determine what constitutes military activity.
Myth 4: The convention came into force before the war on terror and undermines what the United States must do to safeguard our country. On the contrary, the maritime, naval and aviation mobility so essential for our military forces to operate effectively is assured by the convention, which provides the stability and framework for U.S. forces to carry out operations without any barriers.
Myth 5: The International Seabed Authority (ISA) has the power to regulate 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. This is simply wrong. The convention, not the ISA, addresses seven-tenths of the Earth’s surface, but the ISA does not address activities in or on the water. The ISA has nothing to do with the ocean floor that is subject to the sovereignty or sovereign rights of countries. In fact, the ISA addresses only mining and is limited to mining activities in areas of the ocean floor beyond national jurisdictions.
Myth 6: Customary international law will suffice to protect important U.S. interests. The LOS Convention provides clear legal rules in a written treaty, as opposed to reliance on customary international law, which is challenged too easily by unilateral claims of other countries and changed by the practice of countries over time. The U.S. needs the firm legal footing that joining the convention would provide; indeed, by staying outside the LOS framework, the U.S. finds itself aligned with such non-signatories as North Korea.
For those of us who grew up with the deliberations of the 1967 U.N. Seabed Committee and the follow-on U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea in the 1970s and 1980s, Mr. Gaffney’s diatribe reminds us of the Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) lyrics, “Let us close our eyes … Oh, we won’t give in, we’ll keep living in the past.” Instead, as the Senate takes up the debate and provides advice and consent, the Who offers better counsel: “Tip my hat to the new constitution, take a bow for the new revolution… we won’t get fooled again.”
CAPT. GEORGE V. GALDORISI
SCOTT C. TRUVER
Severna Park, Md.