Sunday, August 7, 2005

Standing up to tyrants

I read with interest former Mayor Edward I. Koch’s piece on what President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill must have known about the Jewish Holocaust in Nazi Germany (“FDR and Churchill knew,” Op-Ed, Friday).

The piece was juxtaposed in my mind with two other observations, one personal and one national. Last weekend I took my young nephew to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington and we toured the permanent exhibit. As we wandered throughout the exhibit we came upon a letter posted on the wall explaining that the U.S. government position on bombing the death camps was that it would detract from the overall war effort. I considered this and then I considered the death chambers of Iraq that Saddam Hussein established. Where is an exhibit of the torture chambers of this most recent tyrant? And where are the articles and pronouncements of the various antiwar groups and individuals proclaiming that the U.S. should not take his evil regime down?

The left-leaning elite in this country are proud to call their political enemies Nazis; however, their actions to inhibit President Bush’s efforts to close down evil regimes belie their stated motives of wanting peace and freedom.

Mr. Koch has been a defender of Mr. Bush and I salute him for it as he realizes that the true struggle is against worldwide tyranny and not political opponents. I believe that the one true way to stop the slaughter of people worldwide is for it to be known by would-be tyrants that the U.S. military (and our allies) will be coming to take you down. If you visit the Holocaust museum and do not walk out with that resolved, then maybe you have missed the point altogether.



Epoch Times and the Falun Gong

The article “Site claims 3 millionformerCommunists” (World, July 25) contains an inaccurate statement that mislabels the Epoch Times “an unofficial mouthpiece of the Falun Gong.”

The Epoch Times is not owned or funded by Falun Gong, nor does it represent or teach Falun Gong.

We understand that the Communist Party’s torture and killing of Falun Gong practitioners is a pivotal human-rights issue in China. The Epoch Times does cover Falun Gong, as well as other human-rights issues in China and around the world.

Some staff of The Epoch Times practice Falun Gong, but practice of a personal belief by staff of a media organization should not be a consideration in evaluating its work. If there are a substantial number of Catholic staff at one newspaper, is it fair or accurate to call it an “unofficial mouthpiece for Catholicism”? If most staff were devoted fans of the Washington football team, would we call it an “unofficial mouthpiece for the Redskins”?


Editor in chief

The Epoch Times

New York

Terrorists in Pakistan

Patrick Devenny’s “Rid Pakistan of extremism” (Op-Ed, Friday) is generally on the mark, but it overvalues Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s recent vow to eject foreignersstudyinginhis country’s Islamic schools, or madrassas. This move by Gen. Musharraf is yet another example of his attempts to blame Pakistan’s jihadist woes on foreigners and is likely to fail for severalreasons.Thefirst among them is the fact that it is easy to obtain fake IDs in Pakistan, which makes it simple for a determined foreign militant to escape expulsion, especially if he is of Pakistani origin, like some of the July 7 attackers in London. Secondly, extremist sympathizers in Pakistan’s government can easily help foreign radicals. It can be recalled that when notorious Indonesian terrorist Gunawan was caught in a Pakistani madrassa, he was found to be on a Pakistan-government-funded scholarship program.

The real issue in Pakistan is the continued existence of terrorist training camps and their madrassa fronts. These camps exist because Gen. Musharraf and his establishment have still not cut their links to domestic jihadist groups. Pakistani and Western journalists have reported that the country still tacitly supports jihadist groups linked to the issue of Kashmir as well as the Taliban, and training camps affiliated to these groups are still flourishing. As long as these camps exist, Pakistan cannot guarantee that foreigners are not trained in those facilities.

It is quite easy for an al Qaeda recruiter to convince a terrorist trained in a Kashmir or Taliban-related camp to go do his “martyrdom” act in a Western nation, especially if the person in question has Western citizenship or green card. Within the past few months, terrorists related to Pakistani jihadist groups have been caught in the United States, Britain, Australia, Iraq, France, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, Zambia and other countries. This shows that Pakistan’s continued tolerance of jihadist groups poses a clear and present danger to many countries.

Given that the Pakistani establishment views jihadist groups as military assets, the United States can and should demand that Gen. Musharraf close down these camps and recruitment centers before Pakistan takes delivery of advanced weapons systems like F-16 fighters and warships from America. It is important to note that many of the training camps are not in the tribal areas or up in the mountains but are located near big cities or army garrisons. The United States should also work with its allies to exert sustained pressure on the Musharraf regime to arrest and prosecute jihadist leaders under Pakistan’s anti-terror laws. As in the past, Pakistani jihadist bigwigs have gone underground after recent press attention in the wake of the London attacks, but if they are not put in prison for good, they will be back in a few weeks and conduct business as usual.

The United States faces a clear choice. It can either use its enormous leverage over Pakistan to quietly but forcefully persuade the latter to end its support for terrorist groups today, or it can wait until the next terror attack overseas whose footprints lead back to Pakistan and be forced by public opinion to issue another “with us or against us” ultimatum to Gen. Musharraf. One hopes the Bush administration learned from the July 7 attacks and chooses the first option.



The real road-rage problem

I noticed that a couple of folks wrote about the Aug. 1 op-ed “Road rage remedies” (“Road rage,” Letters, Thursday). Police do not deal with the heavy-traffic, high-accident-rate sections of highway. Their answer to the tailgating, illegal lane changes and too-fast-for-conditions problems that cause accidents tends to be to hide on the least-used spaces on the road and collect revenue with speeding tickets.

The people who cause the accidents are in congested areas where it’s very difficult to actually pull people to the side to ticket them for reckless driving.

Here in South Carolina, we officially have focused like a laser on giving out speeding tickets in order to reduce fatalities, but many fatal accidents in this state are single-car-ran-off-the-road-and-hit-a-tree accidents. Fatalities involving speeding are in the minority. The simple fact is that our driving test involves a one-block road with no traffic, and the ability to parallel park is a priority.

The real problem is that people can’t drive. The state thinks the solution is to make them slow down so they don’t cause as much damage.

Recently, at about 5:30 a.m., a car behind me on a two-lane road zipped around me in the right-hand lane, got right back in front of me and then made the same turn I was making about an eighth of a mile after completing that maneuver. He did it all sans turn signals.

Passing me on the right with no signal wasn’t that bad, but then the swerve in front of me to gain maybe 20 feet for about 20 seconds and then make a turn made me mad. The cop who passed us while we were making the turn must have been looking for more dangerous things, like glazed doughnuts.


Smoaks, S.C.

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