- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 4, 2007

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Hope for Ukraine

Despite the pessimism for which Ukrainians are famed, there are reasons to be hopeful that the latest election results might produce something resembling accountable and transparent government (“Orange coalition ahead in Ukraine,” Page 1, Monday).

The country is polarized on regional grounds, with the Ukrainian-speaking population in central and western Ukraine supportive of greater integration with the West, while those in the eastern regions who do not speak Ukrainian are more closely aligned with Russia. However, Yulia Tymoshenko’s appointment as prime minister might go some way to defusing these regional tensions, her party having gained support in both the east and west.

The situation for many Ukrainians has been made harder to bear by the weight of disappointed expectations. For most, the glittering promise of the market economy has proved hollow. The general standard of living may be rising, but for many, life has become harder and less secure since the fall of the Soviet Union. The disappointment that followed independence and the Orange Revolution has fed into a wider national mood of political fatalism, apathy and pessimism. After three centuries of Russian imperial control followed by the brutalities of Stalinism and Nazi occupation, the origins of this fatalism are understandable.

Although the coalition might not be a very stable one, it should be possible for Ukraine’s elected leaders to get beyond the politics of grievance and recognize the importance of political compromise and nation-building. Open optimism is hard to come by in Ukraine, but as the first stanza of the country’s national anthem states, “Ukraine is not yet dead.”

STEFAN SIMANOWITZ

International Election Observation Mission to Ukraine

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America

East Sussex, England

The church-state wall

The story “High court refuses church-state cases” (Nation, Tuesday) is another reminder of the disinformation that abounds regarding the nonconstitutional metaphor commonly called the “wall of separation between church and state.”

The story states that the Contra Costa County Library Board in the San Francisco Bay Area has decided that “allowing worship services [in public libraries] would amount to having taxpayers subsidize religious exercises” — thus, presumably, violating the First Amendment’s prohibition against making laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”

However, just two days after sending his 1802 letter to Baptists in Danbury, Conn., in which the church-state wall of separation metaphor had its origins, Thomas Jefferson attended public worship services in the U.S. Capitol — something he did throughout his two terms in office. He also authorized the use of the War Office and the Treasury building for church services in Washington.

Perhaps those who fixate on Jefferson’s church-state wall-of-separation metaphor to justify untold restrictions on the free exercise of religion (also prohibited in the First Amendment) should just as diligently heed his advice on interpreting the Constitution. Jefferson wrote: “On every question of construction, [we must] carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the test, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was a part.”

One would think that Jefferson’s practice as president of using and authorizing public buildings for worship services would give us a hint that he saw no violation therein of his wall metaphor and that his interpretation of the First Amendment would eliminate the erroneous argument that the use of public buildings for worship is an establishment of religion prohibited therein.

ROBERT WILCOX

Falls Church

For the record

Ralph Z. Hallow’s article “GOP’s crucial ‘08 base divided” (Page 1, Friday) left readers with a false impression.

At no time in the interview did I criticize my friend and colleague James Dobson. I did not make the statements attributed to me about him. In fact, at this crucial time, Mr. Dobson and I have been working closely together to find pro-life, pro-family candidates we can enthusiastically support. I look forward to continuing with that important work.

GARY BAUER

Chairman

Campaign for Working Families

Washington

No terrorist bill of rights

According to Monday’s editorial “A terrorist bill of rights?” House Democrats are planning to hold hearings on a bill that would grant habeas corpus to terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, a privilege not even members of U.S. forces are entitled to receive.

As Andrew McCarthy of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies put it, “these terrorists … are already afforded the right to publicly challenge their imprisonment under the Military Commissions Act. . .”

In short, the entire spectacle is nothing less than a brazen, misguided attempt on the part of liberals in Congress to politicize the war.

If Congress were as dedicated to defending our own troops as they are the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, members would hardly be arguing for a terrorist bill of rights. Yet some will stop at nothing to advance their own self-serving agenda, even if it means aiding and abetting the enemy in time of war.

BRIAN STUCKEY

Denver

Economic reality

Scott Cleland’s Sunday Commentary column, “Ultimate Internet gatekeeper?” described the potential Google acquisition of DoubleClick as a dire situation that would offer “no real competitive choice” to businesses seeking to advertise online. Unfortunately, Mr. Cleland has lost all sense of economic reality.

In a highly contestable and dynamic market such as Internet advertising, any market-dominant position would be shortlived. With high profits and low barriers to entry, many competitors would spring up to counter Google.

If Standard Oil’s monopoly power could be dissipated because of competitive forces before 1911, what hope is there for Google to maintain a monopoly?

Mr. Cleland’s criticism of DoubleClick is also misplaced. The government is the ultimate source of privacy infringement. Attacking Google and DoubleClick for its surveillance capabilities is pure hyperbole. If you are concerned with monopoly power and privacy, blame the federal government, not Google.

WAYNE CREWS

Vice president for policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

ALEX NOWRASTEH

Research associate

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide