- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 28, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Sudan and Chad

Walid Phares’ column (“Jihadi regime,” Op-Ed, Feb. 20) was not unusual in accusing Sudan of involvement in the recent rebel attacks on Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.

But whereas the other newspapers have at least, in their relentless bashing of Sudan, noted the lack of democracy in Chad and even going as far as calling its regime “dictatorial,” Mr. Phares bewilderingly refrains from enlightening his readers about these important and relevant facts.

His insinuations become immediately clear in the second paragraph when he makes a rather comical statement: “In a few hours, what would become the future Taliban of Chad have scored a strategic victory…” The article was full of absurd statements replete with slogans and phrases like “jihadi regimes,” “jihadi-backed forces” and fancy words like “Khid’aa” to which he provides not a single source.

Of course we know very well the effect of these slogans when invoked. They have been the catchphrases during the United States’ war on terror: a war that Sudan has waged alongside the United States.

The State Department, in its “Country Reports on Terrorism,” said: “The Sudanese government was a strong partner in the War on Terror and aggressively pursued terrorist operations directly involving threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan.”

And as for Mr. Phares’ “jihadi” chant, the report says “The Sudanese government also worked to disrupt foreign fighters from using Sudan as a logistics base and transit point for Jihadists going to Iraq.” As for the long-standing suspicion that Sudan supports rebels in Chad, the investigation carried out by the African Union found these allegations not credible.

It should be mentioned that many have long been disillusioned by the rule of Chad President Idriss Deby. A great deal of the population is disenchanted with his administration as they view it as corrupt. It is astonishing, then, and indeed ridiculous that Sudan should be suspected of orchestrating this widespread discontent in Chad.

PETER GATKUOTH

Washington

America needs change

The United States has serious economic structural problems. Our dollar has been dropping precipitously over the past few years as a result of the Federal Reserve Board keeping interest rates too low.

The first baby boomers are turning 65 in 2010, which will create tremendous pressure on the financial system. Private and government debt are at an all-time high, at 3.1 times the gross domestic product. All three leading candidates for president have fundamentally flawed ideas.

In regard to your story “Democrats aim to limit McCain’s financing” (Nation, Monday), Sen. John McCain has shown himself to be a hypocrite.

He helped create the McCain-Feingold Campaign Financing Act, which limited free speech, and he was initially going to accept public funding for his campaign. Now that he is the presumptive nominee, he has decided to use private funding instead. It appears that Mr. McCain wants to limit others’ freedom of speech but not his own.

In addition, Mr. McCain has shown himself to be a lightweight when it comes to economic conservatism and has shown a clear lack of understanding of the economy, constantly changing his position on tax cuts.

Then you have Sen. Barack Obama, who is a great orator but lacking substance. Even though this country is severely in debt, according to The Washington Times’ recent editorials, Mr. Obama wants to spend more than $300 billion on his grandiose idea of a government-directed economy.

Finally, there is Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the biggest demagogue of them all, continually using class-warfare and anti-Bush rhetoric to argue for a much more expansive government that will literally “take” from the oil companies and drug companies and do as she sees fit with those profits.

This country does need change. That is real structural change, not the tweaking that each one of these candidates has to offer. I would hope that if two of these three candidates are the presidential nominees, then the American people would vote for none of the above.

ANN M. DICKIE

Alexandria

‘Secular’

Regarding the letter “Kosovars are pro-American” (Sunday) by Faton Tony Bislimi from Pristina, Kosovo, there is no doubt that the Kosovo Albanians are pro-American, or at least they’ll wave American flags as long as we do their dirty work for them.

Why not be pro-American when two U.S. administrations worked so hard to take sovereign land that has belonged to the Serbian people for centuries and then gave it to the primarily Muslim Kosovo Albanians?

Why not, when the current administration has ignored that this new addition to the family of nations is a center of drugs, human trafficking and Islamic terrorism, able to exist only by crime and as a United States-European Union protectorate?

The letter also claims that the people of Kosovo are “secular Muslims and Christians.” Perhaps he can explain why these “secular” Albanians have destroyed hundreds of Orthodox Christian churches and monasteries and built dozens of new mosques with money from Saudi Arabia, sent to spread their Wahhabi-brand of extreme Islam in the new mini-Afghanistan that has been created in the heart of Europe?

He might also explain why one of the new mosques of these great friends of America bears the name of the world’s greatest terrorist, Osama bin Laden.

STELLA L. JATRAS

Camp Hill, Pa.

Insurance ‘slush fund’

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican, was right about one thing: The American people are clamoring for change (“Medicare and entitlements,” Op-Ed, Friday). They’re tired of an administration and its allies in Congress consistently putting industry profits ahead of the average taxpayer and privatization before sound policy. Massive entitlement cuts cannot and should not make up for years of disastrous borrow-and-spend policies.

While the Republican Study Committee is proud to take credit for the 45 percent trigger provision in the Medicare law that causes billions of arbitrary Medicare cuts, Mr. Hensarling conveniently didn’t mention another “little-known provision” in the same bill the $149 billion slush fund created for the insurance industry. Providing massive government subsidies to an industry already reaping record profits while forcing massive program cuts and cost-shifting to millions of seniors are exactly the kind of fiscal priorities that have mobilized seniors to demand change.

The government is paying about $1,000 more each year to cover a beneficiary in a private Medicare Advantage plan than someone enrolled in traditional Medicare. Seniors are also paying higher annual premiums of almost $50 per couple to help cover these outrageous industry subsidies. The Congressional Budget Office says the government could save $149 billion and return two years of solvency to Medicare just by rolling back these overpayments. Yet President Bush and his allies have fought mightily to protect their subsidy-rich friends in the insurance industry while suggesting that seniors, their doctors, hospitals and home health-care nurses should foot the bill.

It’s easy to see why the American people are clamoring for change. I predict it’s not the kind of change the RSC hopes for.

BARBARA B. KENNELLY

President and CEO

National Committee to Preserve

Social Security and Medicare

Washington


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