- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 27, 2008


What’s that smell?

Isn’t Ambassador Frank G. Wisner putting the cart before the horse? How can he, in good faith, tell the Arab Muslims and the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to start investing in Kosovo when the land, property, mineral rights and natural resources are not his to give away? He says he’s giving a “strong economic signal” to accompany our American policy “political signal” (“Advice to Arabs,” Embassy Row, World, March 19).

Doesn’t anyone else smell something rotten in the state of Denmark? How dare Mr. Wisner talk of justice when he can’t even defend U.N. Resolution 1244 and tries to steal away 15 percent of Serbian holy land to appease his Muslim friends?

A perhaps more secular interpretation of the basic idea of the Kosovo spirit is provided by Miloslav Stojadinovic in the preface of his “Kosovska Trilogija” (“Kosovo Trilogy”). He maintains that “the Kosovo spirit is the ‘revolutionary spirit of justice, humanity, equity, equality of rights, with a noticeably democratic and progressive quality of respect for the rights of all other people.”

In these few words, Mr. Stojadinovic expresses the timeless character of the Kosovo ethic. As we have noted, this ethic was nourished in the patriarchal society of the Serbian peasant during the centuries of Ottoman domination. It expressed a basic attitude toward life itself: democratic, anti-feudal, with a love for justice and social equality. For centuries, it has been an essential ingredient in the historical consciousness of the Serbian people.

Mr. Wisner and our State Department ought to invest a little bit in honesty and integrity. America was made great with those values. No wonder everyone is snickering at our misfortunes. Kissing up to the OIC isn’t the way to undo all the harm we did to ourselves. We’re better than that.


Moon Township, Penn.

‘Who you gonna believe?’

Thank you for noting the recent ocean data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which reflects a slight cooling in recent years, during which time we also witnessed a tremendous increase in global-warming alarmism (“Argo’s cool reception,” Editorial, yesterday).

Most illuminating about this episode is the alarmists’ response, including in the National Public Radio story you cite, which was to posit immediately that there must be something wrong with the robots.

The reason this must be the case is that their computer models tell them a different story, just as when models (which are alarmists’ “reality”) clash with observations (the rest of the world’s reality) regarding the atmosphere’s cooling in recent years, Andean snowpack being bigger or Antarctic temperatures being colder.

That must be one heckuva big problem with the robots. In short, global-warming alarmism is reduced to the challenge: Who you gonna believe, me, or your lyin’ eyes?


Senior fellow

Competitive Enterprise Institute


The missing moral compass

What we are seeing in Detroit with Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and in New York with former Gov. Eliot Spitzer and plenty of other places is most often interpreted as individuals behaving badly or as proof that legal/regulatory oversight needs to be ratcheted up (“Detroit’s harbinger,” Editorial, Tuesday). However, the problem has deeper roots.

When educators and social scientists decided that morality was subjective and situational and that youth should be spared its repressive shackles, it threw out the baby of civic responsibility with the bath water of moral formation. When young people are raised in an environment where a moral framework is intentionally avoided, all too often the only incentive to behave responsibly is the avoidance of legal penalties. The person is striving to prevent bad personal outcomes; he or she is not trying to avoid bad behavior from a realization that bad behavior is inconsistent with a universal moral standard.

Such a system is bound to fail because legal strictures will never be robust enough to thwart human “creativity” unless it is reined in by personal norms of behavior. Even with these personal norms, the struggle to do the right thing is hard enough. The legal mousetraps we set, no matter how brilliantly conceived and executed, will not produce the good society we seek.


Plymouth, Mich.

Protect America

Tuesday’s editorial “Saddam tied to terrorists” should give us all pause to consider exactly how much our government knows about the prewar Saddam regime and how much of it is not appropriate for public consumption.

More to the point, The Times’ revelations should give us reason to consider exactly how little the mass media and general populace know of Iraq’s prewar policies. Perhaps Americans should consider these issues thoroughly before blindly joining the ill-informed movement denouncing the reason and execution of the Iraq war.

I hope The Times will take this opportunity to renew daily efforts to remind the public of two things: that contemporary global affairs are a far greater threat to American security and welfare than the far left would wish the public to perceive and that our efforts in Iraq have in fact had positive outcomes toward strengthening American security and long-term regional stability.

In an election year when Democrats are loath to talk of the war because of recent successes, The Times and similar papers should insist that the war be kept at the forefront of election issues.

The Times must thrust itself to the very front of the efforts to belie the liberals’ myopic, self-serving portrayal of our Iraq efforts.



FDR and unemployment

In his column “Why not optimism?” (Commentary, Sunday) Lawrence Kudlow writes that Franklin Roosevelt’s policies “extended the Depression and held unemployment near 20 percent.”

This is not accurate. Unemployment declined after Roosevelt took office, even using the flawed unemployment rate calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for that period, which counted persons on work relief programs (Civilian Conservation Corps and Works Progress Administration) as unemployed. Actually, they were employed, paid and producing public works projects, some of which are still in use today.

Michael Darby, a distinguished economist who served in the Reagan administration, calculated an unemployment rate excluding people on work relief. For the years 1932 through 1939, the rates were 22.5; 20.6; 16.0; 14.2; 9.9; 9.1; 12.5; and 11.3 percent, respectively.



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