- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Reconsider refugee resettlement

With 1.5 million refugees displaced from Iraq, it would be impossible to resettle any significant number in the United States. It also would be cost-prohibitive. Far more Iraqi refugees could be helped if we assisted them in the countries to which they already have been displaced, mainly Jordan, Syria and Lebanon (“A moral imperative,” Op-Ed, yesterday).

The nongovernmental organizations know this but keep lobbying for the admission of ever greater numbers of refugees into the United States because it is lucrative for them, not because it is in the best interests of the refugees.

Our group has found extensive neglect of refugees resettled to the United States by the NGOs. Rather than spending so much time and effort attempting to bring larger numbers of refugees to the United States, they should concentrate on taking care of those refugees they already are bringing to this country.

CHRISTOPHER COEN

Director

Friends of Refugees

Minneapolis

A crude way to keep gas prices down

Steve Chapman’s Sunday Commentary column, “Bad energy ideas,” pointed out that Sen. John McCain’s proposed federal gasoline-tax holiday would do little to reduce gas prices, as the resulting increased demand would drive prices back up.

This part of his analysis is correct, as it is simply basic economics. Where I suspect Mr. Chapman errs, however, is in his opinion that what otherwise would be gas-tax revenues will show up as oil-company profits. This is unlikely, as the increased demand for gasoline would result in a correspondingly greater demand for oil, driving up the price of crude oil. This being the case, much of the revenue normally used for construction and maintenance of our highways would instead be handed over to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

As long as there is no way to reduce demand without making economically unjustified sacrifices, the only effective way to reduce the price at the pump is to increase the supply of crude oil, driving down its price. Until Congress permits our oil companies to drill in areas now off-limits, we will continue to transfer an enormous share of our wealth to OPEC.

LESTER VIA

Springfield

“Bad energy ideas” abound. Most involve manipulation of taxes, people and money rather than the use of science and technology.

We are in a transformation to an electrical society. Hybrid and plug-in electric vehicles are on the market, and more are coming. Ultracapacitors have the potential to substantially increase storage capacity and therefore increase the range of autos. However, this means more electrical power generation will be required wind, solar and nuclear.

More than 50 percent of U.S. electric power comes from coal, which produces carbon dioxide (CO2). Why not extract carbon from the CO2 and fabricate auto bodies and other things rather than sequester (bury) it in the ground? Carbon fiber is lighter and stronger than many metals, so don’t throw it away.

The new Boeing 787 airplane uses carbon fiber extensively because of these characteristics. Basic science tells us that lighter weight uses less energy to move things. So, why bury the carbon?

Autos are 4.1 times less costly than public transportation. Small two-seat cars are coming onto the market, and they don’t restrict travel to specified routes and times like public transit does. So, why not design a transportation system around these new vehicles to provide flexible and convenient transportation for people?

The elected officials and planners must think out of the box to make the United States energy-independent. They don’t seem to understand this need, so scientists and industry must step in and make energy efficiency and independence available. Resources and technology are at hand within the United States. Use them to become energy-independent.

G. STANLEY DOORE

Silver Spring

If, then…

If, as Cham E. Dallas, director of the Institute for Health Management and Mass Destruction Defense at the University of Georgia, testified before a hearing of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (“Nuclear attack on D.C. a hypothetical disaster” Page 1, April 16) a nuclear explosion in an American city is well-nigh inevitable within, say, the next 20 years, isn’t the most important response, rather than just to meekly prepare for this “inevitability,” to ask: How did this all come about, this “inevitability”?

First of all, we invented the bomb and in 1945 had absolute control of it. The question to ask, then, is: How did we let it slip out of our hands? To say that this also was inevitable is to deny the facts of history and the fact that we once had the means to easily prevent this from happening. Those means, at least in the very early days, could even have been nonnuclear, though doubtless most people would have regarded those means as immoral.

If so, does that then mean that this result a nuclear explosion in or over an American city as the final consequence of the failure to act, and as the final manifestation of that morality, is then also moral?

JONATHAN S. MILLER

Washington

Bitterness chips away freedom

In her column “Are we bitter?” (Commentary, Monday) Donna Brazile asks two questions that beg for answers from one of those people to whom she refers.

First she details a litany of current problems from food and gas prices to foreclosures and the war. The she asks, “Their political system has failed them. Are they bitter? Duh.”

Problems and human institutions with all their inherent problems will always be with us. Bitterness only engenders more bitterness and loneliness. Life is always a struggle, and the solution to problems is to work smart and do what you must to improve your lot.

No other nation has offered such possibilities to all men and women to improve their lot in life. Only those who do not believe in either themselves or in seizing opportunities are bitter.

Second, she says, “I am not sure why Obama should apologize for trying to explain the emotional and financial hardship of our fellow Americans.”

When the senator speaks of us rural rustics as “clinging to” guns and religion, I hear echoes of my youth as a rural Illinois resident when Chicago politicians were slowly seizing political control of the state. The good senator (and former Chicago machine politician) is saying to rural Americans that, if elected, he will change things so we will no longer need our guns and our religion.

Look at the way Chicago politicians have destroyed Illinois gun rights and how they join the District in trying to eliminate all gun rights across the nation. Look at the good senator’s “religious” record of palling around for decades with radicals and then denying that it means or indicates anything.

Gun rights and religious freedom are not merely matters for argument: They are cherished liberties we should fight for to assure that they are available for our descendants. More than a few of us are very concerned about the impact of this election on these freedoms that we take for granted at our own peril.

The answer therefore to why Mr. Obama should apologize is that no apology can forgive a lifetime dedicated to eliminating freedoms that many of us hold as dear as life.

JIM BEERS

Centreville, Va.


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