Letters To The Editor


April 10, 2007

U.S. aid is helping to pacify Colombia

Carol Pier's column "A pact with the devil" (Opinion * Commentary, April 2) presented a misleading picture of Colombia.

Today, Colombia is a much safer place than it was six years ago. President Alvaro Uribe's democratic security policy has resulted in a 90 percent reduction in the number of extortive kidnappings and a 50 percent decrease in homicides in the last five years.

Homicides involving union members have fallen from 184 in 2001 to 56 in 2006 (a 69 percent decrease).

To address violence targeting specific groups in Colombia, the government established the Protection Program for Communities at Risk in 1999.

Since then, more than 8,000 labor leaders in Colombia have received protection financed by the Colombian government and the U.S. government.

During 2006, the protection program covered 1,348 union members. And since the inception of this program, no labor official covered by the program has been killed.

Our partnership on aid and trade with the United States has been invaluable to Colombia. And we are committed to doing more.

I hope that this year, Congress will approve U.S. aid for the second phase of Plan Colombia and endorse the free trade agreement both countries signed last November.

This would boost our effort to protect labor leaders and all Colombians, regardless of their economic status or beliefs.

Mariana Pacheco


The writer is deputy chief of mission for Colombia's embassy to the United States.

Pelosi seeks to fill leadership vacuum

Thomas Sowell raises a good point in his critique of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's remark that the Democrats have their own alternative foreign policy ("As nation faces a grave threat, Pelosi assumes presidential power," Opinion * Commentary, April 5): The speaker may indeed be overstepping her authority in unprecedented ways.

But let's ask why she is doing so.

President Bush has thoroughly reneged on his responsibilities as a leader.

Mired in his self-righteous arrogance, Mr. Bush seems to listen to no one but his equally isolated inner circle.

Mr. Sowell mentions Wendell Willkie, whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt tagged to be his personal envoy to Winston Churchill, as the model of the loyal opposition.

What Mr. Sowell fails to emphasize is that Mr. Willkie took on that role at Mr. Roosevelt's request. When was the last time Mr. Bush asked either Al Gore or Sen. John Kerry to fulfill any meaningful task to symbolize unity in our nation?

And that suggests the reason the firing of the U.S. attorneys is so disturbing. Of course they serve at the pleasure of the president. But when the president's pleasure is so consistently motivated solely to further his narrow set of polarizing principles, it is right and proper to bring that behavior into the critical light of day.

The damage that Mr. Sowell laments being done to the presidency is being caused by the president himself.

When he stopped acting like a leader, he lost the right to be respected as one.

John P. Machen


Democrats subvert presidential powers

I appreciate Thomas Sowell's column concerning House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's travel to Syria against the wishes of President Bush, and "intruding on the president's authority" ("As nation faces a grave threat, Pelosi assumes presidential Power," Opinion * Commentary, April 5).

As a Republican, I support President Bush, and abhor the media hate-mongering against him, including from The Sun.

During most wars, we in the United States have stuck together, regardless of party affiliation. However, the present group of power-hungry Democrats are falling all over themselves to undermine the Iraq war effort - often in an effort to win their party's nomination for president.

As Mr. Sowell suggests, such hatred for the president could cause lasting damage to the presidency, which will be another step in "the degeneration of this society."

Elizabeth G. Brown


Profiteers deserve to lose foolish war

When President Bush prattles on about the "defeat" that will result if the U.S. pulls out of Iraq, he is correct in one respect: The parties who will suffer the worst defeat are those who are reaping hundreds of millions of dollars in war profits ("Bush assails Democrats over bill on war funding," April 4).

Our soldiers are paying the ultimate price so that these companies can fatten their wallets by supporting our troops and "rebuilding" an Iraq that blows itself apart every day.

This is totally unacceptable.

The morally counterfeit war profiteers stand to lose the most from ending this war.

They deserve defeat.

J. David Lovejoy


Did others seek slice of the slots action?

"Slots foes seize on comments," read a headline in Thursday's Sun.

Former state Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell Sr., a champion of slots, admitted he "expected a piece of all the action" from slot machines and the expanded gambling that would probably follow if slots were approved by the General Assembly.

I wonder how many other state senators were expecting the same thing?

Henry Seim

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