Saturday, February 2, 2008

A faint endorsement

Rich Lowry and William Murchison (“Obama’s new deal” and “Could the GOP win?” Commentary, Thursday) are intrigued with the endorsement by Caroline Kennedy and her uncle, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, of Sen. Barack Obama to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for president.

Mr. Kennedy seems to have bamboozled them with the drama of his delivery. So highly has he perfected the Shakespearean tremble of his voice that he can ask people to pass the peanuts and make it sound as if “This was their finest hour.”

The commentators should have tuned out the tremble and listened instead to his words. What he actually said was that both Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Obama are colleagues of his and friends, and that he will enthusiastically support whoever his party’s nominee turns out to be.

We know what damnation by faint praise is, but Uncle Pandarus may have invented something new here: damnation by faint endorsement.


Alexandria, VA.

Bush league on the economy

In his final State of the Union address to the nation, President Bush spoke about both domestic and foreign policy, as he should. What struck me the most, however, was that he spent more time on Iraq than on the economy, which is tanking according to experts (“Bush draws line on spending,” Page 1, Tuesday).

Along with the Fed’s monetary policy of interest cutting, the bipartisan tax-rebate package of roughly $145 billion will postpone the recession for a few months by boosting the demand side of the economic equation since we are a nation of consumers. This classic Keynesian stimulus will not save us from the long-term financial woes attributed to unlimited borrowing and spending both by individuals and the government.

Any long-term solution requires stimulus of innovation (to address energy and technological progress in general, including finance), education (to raise responsibility) and modern infrastructure befitting the needs of the 21st century (to help create tons of jobs).

Once this phase of consumer spending passes, we will need another tax rebate followed by another and another because the fundamentals mentioned above are a bit wobbly now.


Trumbull, Conn.

Rep. Ted Poe disrespected U.S. troops

My father is a military veteran; my husband, son and daughter-in-law are currently active duty military personnel; and we know and love many who are serving this country with honor.Thus, I was disgusted when I read John McCaslin’s Inside the Beltway article, “Protecting troops” (Thursday).

Rep. Ted Poe has only shown his own ignorance by comparing our military personnel going into Iraq and Afghanistan as a military force togoing into a military-occupied Juarez, Mexico, as civilians with U.S. military identification. These are two completely different situations and warrant different precautions.

I was saddened that the paper felt Mr. Poe’s statement was newsworthy. Is all of America ignorant of the added danger American military personnel face, or is it just Mr. Poe and The Washington Times?

Our military must use caution to protect itself against hate crimes especially in hostile environments where they have no authority and cannot protect themselves without threat of a foreign prison.

Unfortunately, they do not even need to show a military ID in order to be recognized as military. Their appearance alone sets them apart.Anyone who knows a U.S. soldier knows they are distinct in appearance and bearing.

How unfortunate that their own representative doesn’t understand (or won’t acknowledge) the danger and support their safety. Instead, he ridicules those Army officials at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas, who do.



Kosovo and Albanians

Thank you for publishing responses to Helle Dale’s piece on Kosovo, which must be challenged (“Fixing Kosovo,” Op-Ed, Jan. 16). It’s funny how, despite the purported “ethnic cleansing” of Kosovo Albanians by Serbs that Mrs. Dale claimed took place during NATO’s vicious and barbarous war on Yugoslavia, some 100,000 Albanians from Kosovo managed to flee to Belgrade, Yugoslavia’s capital, along with many others. It sounds more as if all of Kosovo’s peoples were fleeing NATO’s civilian-and-ethnically blind bombs, which ended up slaughtering more than 3,000 Serbs, Albanians, Gypsies and others.

To get a more accurate feeling for what has been occurring in Kosovo, readers would do well to read your Jan. 22 editorial “Unrest along the Rio Grande,” which mirrors the kinds of challenges that the Yugoslav authorities had while fighting the Kosovo Liberation Army drug-running, sex-slave-dealing separatists in Kosovo before NATO occupied the region and established a safe haven for terrorists there, allowing them to prosper and flourish. By attempting to illegally steal Kosovo from Serbia, we will set the stage for the loss of our own territories to terrorists in the not-too-distant future.


Henderson, Nev.

In “Distorting the truth on Kosovo” (Letters, Jan. 23), Tika Jankovic is a typical example of many who are brainwashed by Serbian myths, who believe in the theory of invasions, who believe that Kosovo is the cradle of the Serbian civilization and that the Serbs were superior among other ethnicities that made up mosaic Yugoslavia. The Serbian national consciousness, deeply influenced by these myths, caused four wars in the Balkans during the 1990s: Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

First, the Albanians are direct descendants of the ancient Illyrians. Albanians never occupied Serbian territories. It is the other way around. The Serbs migrated to the Balkans from the sixth century on.

Second, no serious history book backs up the following assertions that Miss Jankovic lists: that more than 200,000 Serbs were expelled from Kosovo by German, Italian and Albanian fascists; that Albanians terrorized Serbs under Tito; and that Albanians practiced ethnic cleansing after World War II by allowing immigrants from Albania proper to take over Serbian territories.

Third, historical sources confirm that after Serbia occupied Kosovo in 1912-1913, many Albanians were massacred and expelled to Turkey. Leo Freundlich (1875-1954), a Jewish publicist living in Vienna, wrote a book titled “Albania’s Golgotha: Indictment of the Exterminators of the Albanian People.” In 1937, Vaso Cubrilovic, a Serb nationalist, presented a memorandum in Belgrade titled “The Expulsion of the Albanians.”

I am appalled that a reporter continues to believe in myths and presents unsubstantiated statements to readers.



Lehman College

City University of New York

New York City

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