Repair the ConstellationI was saddened by one of the April...


April 24, 1995

Repair the Constellation

I was saddened by one of the April 10 letters concerning the fate of the Constellation. In that letter, George H. Snyder Jr. suggested that "enough is enough" and no more money should be raised or other efforts made to restore her.

Although he cited the Constellation as "a noble ship with more than a heroic history," he asked, "How much, if anything, is left" of the original?

I'm glad Mr. Snyder is not in charge of Mount Vernon, Lincoln's birthplace, or Fort McHenry. Our national treasures require maintenence to preserve them, so that present and future generations may experience and understand our history.

My great, great, great, great grandfather, Commodore John Rodgers, worked on the Constellation. His tiny stateroom is still aboard. I'd like my young daughter to be able to see that, when she's old enough to understand.

But besides my personal interest, many visitors to Baltimore have enjoyed touching a bit of history in the Inner Harbor.

The Constellation is the beautiful centerpiece of our harbor and provides much more than entertainment to visitors. Let's not "put a cannon ball through her below the waterline" -- something that was never accomplished by her enemies in the past.

John Rogers Meigs Green


Pakistan's Role

Pakistan's Prime Benazir Bhutto Minister visited the White House recently and during her last visit she addressed both houses of Congress. Our government does not grant such red-carpet treatment to the leader of a country which "harbors terrorism" as Pradeep Ganguly (letter, April 13) alleges.

Pakistan is a victim of terrorism of sorts, which is forced on it by the Afghan war and allegedly fomented by India. It was not a coincidence that terrorism subsided when some officials of the Indian consulate in Karachi were expelled two months ago.

True, Pakistan has some problem with internal ethnic and sectarian violence. But linking Pakistan to the Bombay and New York bombings is stretching the limits of imagination. For the Bombay bombing alone, there are numerous reasons to find culprits in India itself, from Kashmir, Nagaland and Assam to name just a few.

Mr. Ganguly's allegations are rich in speculation and factually in error. It is jumping to conclusion that "the extradition of those terrorists led to the fatal, cowardly attack on U.S. diplomats in Islamabad recently."

First, the attack took place in Karachi and not in Islamabad. Second, even the U.S. government is unaware of the motives and whereabouts of the attackers.

If I could be allowed to speculate in response, some law-enforcement agencies in Pakistan have suggested that the terrorist attack may have been carried out by India to pre-empt the Pakistani prime minister's visit. That is not too far-fetched a scenario, since it is in the Indian interest that Pakistan's relations with the U.S. do not improve.

The U.S. government's very realistic view of the situation assured that enemies of the peace and harmony between the two countries did not succeed.

Pakistan's nuclear program is now more than 20 years old. Pakistan has neither exploded a nuclear device, nor helped any other country in the development of nuclear facilities, let alone allow one to "fall into the hands of Muslim militants and zealots."

Just as Pakistan has ethnic and sectarian conflicts to deal with, Indian secularism is being torn apart by Hindu fanatics of Jan Sangh, Rashtrya Sevak Sangh and other extremist organizations.

Their popularity is increasing rapidly. A few more elections and the Indian nuclear and ballistic missile arsenal could fall into the hands of Hindu militants.

It is for such reasons that countries of Southeast Asia and Australia have expressed concern about the Indian military build-up.

Pakistan's nuclear capability is necessary for peace in South Asia. Just as the West's nuclear arsenal was a deterrent to the Soviet Union, Pakistan has successfully used this deterrent against a militant India -- for some very real reasons.

India was a staunch ally of the former communist Soviet Union, our arch-enemy. India started wars with Pakistan and China on more than one occasion; intimidated Sri Lanka through a proxy war and threatened Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan with similar subversions.

It has a very ambitious long-range missile and nuclear program of its own, exploded a nuclear device in 1974 and recently deployed the domestically built Prithvi missile along the border with Pakistan.

As an American of Pakistani origin, I understand our government's concern about nuclear proliferation. But to apply selective measures like the Pressler amendment against a proven ally is counterproductive.

Sen. Larry Pressler is a lone voice in support of this amendment which bears his name. President Clinton and many members of the Senate and House understandably feel that such measures are a burden on American interests and influence abroad.

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