Letters to the Editor

August 16, 2010

Bartlett's statement on Iran's nuclear capability is dangerous

To the editor:

In the Aug. 3 edition of the Washington Times, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett co-authored an article titled "What if Iran already has the bomb?"

The article is filled with inaccuracies and misstatements. For the sake of brevity, I will focus my comments on the sentence "Iran only needs a single nuclear weapon to destroy the United States."

That statement reflects a basic lack of understanding of both satellite transit time and how to calculate a nuclear blast effects radius. But more significantly, it reflects a lack of understanding of the resilience and strength of the American people. While even a single nuclear incident would have significant, even catastrophic, impacts, it will not "destroy" our country. If an incident were to occur to knock out our electronic capability, our country would continue to survive, and recover quickly.


The authors appear not to be aware of the actions routinely taken to counter potential threats of nuclear or electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapons. The Internet was designed to ensure our communications system would survive a Soviet nuclear attack, with hundreds of incidents. Our military equipment has been hardened to reduce the impact of EMP effects. It is better to be prepared than be surprised, and from a military perspective, appropriate measures have been taken.

The statement also underestimates the enormity of the challenge of destroying the United States. Anyone who has lost cell phone coverage in a parking garage or while driving through the mountains can tell you that EMP effects are not universal. And the American people are capable of surviving without electricity, as the recent power outages in the D.C. area demonstrated.

If a statement about the destruction of the United States were made simply by an EMP activist, it would be easily ignored. But the same statement made by a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee is dangerous. The surest way to bring on such an attack is to convince our enemy that a single blow would result in our destruction. If President Ahmadinejad were to put credibility into such a statement, it would only serve to embolden him and make an attempted attack much more likely.

The message, which should be sent to Iran clearly, is that any attack against our country will not result in our destruction, but will bring a swift and devastating response on our attacker. The same response would follow an attack on our allies. Iran's use of a nuclear weapon would result in the destruction of the Iranian nation. For that reason, the continued pursuit of a nuclear weapon should be abandoned, as it would bring no military advantage.

Bartlett should immediately retract that statement. It is scientifically incorrect. It does not accurately reflect the strength of our country. It is dangerous.

Andrew Duck
Brunswick, Md.

Editor's note: Andrew Duck is a Democratic candidate for the Maryland 6th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives held by U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.

It's time for Obama to produce birth certificate

To the editor:

CNN News on Aug. 6 reported on Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin, a decorated Army doctor and an 18-year veteran, who wants the president to prove that he was born in the United States. He has served at least one tour of duty in Afghanistan and appears willing to serve again - but is now facing court martial for disobeying orders to ship out for another tour.

When Commander-in-Chief Obama authenticates his position, I believe Lakin will willingly go to Afghanistan for another tour of duty. How can Lakin at this point be charged with disobeying a lawful order and dereliction of duty?

The question, of course, is the issue of a lawful order. It appears that our president will go to great lengths to keep from producing his birth certificate. Several people say they have seen it, and that should settle the question. Obviously, it does not. Why doesn't Obama produce the document and settle the issue once and for all?

It is necessary to produce your birth certificate to get a West Virginia driver's license. I don't believe this requirement originated in West Virginia. It was probably a mandate from Washington. I would like to think our public officials would set an example of complying with the laws they expect citizens to respect.

If and when the birth certificate is produced, then if Lakin refuses to obey the above order, he could be charged with disobeying a lawful order and dereliction of duty. Until that time, I am unable to agree with the prosecution.

Kenneth A. Wright Jr.
Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

An invitation to talk about wrongs of the past

To the editor:

This letter is in response to a letter to the editor by Kelly Eakle that was published in the July 31 edition of The Herald-Mail ("Solving problems requires colorblindness," page A4).

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