I
was angered by the utterly uninformed op-ed piece by a guest
columnist Mark Hendrickson on an issue of great importance to our
national security. (See "Should the Senate Ratify the U.N. Sea
Treaty?
" River Cities' Reader
Issue 670, February 7-13, 2008.) For starters: the LOS Treaty gives
no
substantive
responsibility to the U.N. - nor, for that matter, did the U.N.
"adopt it" as Mr. Hendrickson's screed erroneously states;
"U.N." appears in its title merely because the diplomatic
conference that negotiated it was convened 35 years ago pursuant to a
U.N. General Assembly Resolution.

As
for substance, Mr. Hendrickson admits he "won't even try" to
examine whether the treaty "yields net gains" for the U.S. This
is a shocking abdication of intellectual rigor for a putative
educator. Less-lazy individuals who have answered that question in
the affirmative include the current and all former living chiefs of
naval operations, the secretary of state, the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee (twice!), the president, the Bush-appointed U.S.
Oceans Policy Commission (unanimously), the American Petroleum
Institute, all living former chief counsels of the State Department,
the commandant of the Coast Guard, former U.N. rep John Bolton (at
his confirmation hearings), etc., etc.

People
familiar with the treaty are generally happy to answer questions
about its actual provisions
based on the text.
But for reasons I can't fathom, the extreme right considers
opposition to this treaty a saliva test of some sort, of such
importance to "the Conservative Movement" that to lie in the
public press about the treaty is considered okay - or, as in Mr.
Hendrickson's case, to argue irrelevant points about real or
imagined evils of the U.N.

In
any event, the issue of U.S. accession (not "ratification," by
the way, because the treaty has been in effect for years, with some
150 nations now party to it) is of great importance to our national
security. If you choose to publish op-ed pieces about it, you owe it
to your readership to publish informed opinion, and perhaps even some
facts.

 

Robert
J. McManus

Washington,
D.C.

Premium Content: