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A4 MONDAY, JANUARY 29, 1996 THE SAUNA JOURNAL By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal George B. Pyle editorial page editor Opinions expressed on this page are those of the identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to the Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (913)827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal @ aol.com Quote of the day "I'm tired of doing tliis." Trulku-la 4-year-old future monk, during a religious ceremony 1 was only following orders' IW ISSUE Michael New's court-martial THEARUGMENT Soldier-citizen conflict can't always be resolved I f all the people who serve in the American Army were allowed to pick and choose which orders they would obey, it wouldn't be an army. If all the people who serve in the American Army always blindly did what they were told, they wouldn't be American. Until we work that out — and we will never work it out — it makes sense for the Army and Spc. Michael New to go their separate ways. New, a medic stationed in Europe, was court-martialed and given a bad- conduct discharge last week because he refused to wear a United Nations beret when his unit was assigned peacekeeping duty in the former Yugoslavian republic of Macedonia. He claimed the command to don the markings of any organization other than the United States was not a lawful order. The Army felt otherwise. Unless New just thought he looked silly in a blue beret, it is hard to see what the fuss was about. Certainly he was required to do much more distasteful things before breakfast in boot camp. The idea that it is some kind of loss of national sovereignty for the constitutional commander in chief to send American units to serve under a joint United Nations command is absurd. The order went though the proper chain of command, and could be revoked by a phone call from the president. Besides, our soldiers fought quite 1 well under allied command in World War II. If we had not set aside our differences to unite with the armed forces of other nations then, we might not be free to argue about little blue berets today. Still, our nation has a history of hanging people who claimed that "I was only following orders" absolved them of any individual guilt. The last thing the armed forces of a democracy should be is a large corps of drones who do no thinking and have no consciences of their own. Not only would such a force be a constant threat to our democracy, it wouldn't fight as well. The landing at Normandy in World War II is only the most conspicuous example of how our guys, who never lost their healthy disrespect for people in flashy uniforms, improvised their way to victory over a superior force of soldiers who would not blink without orders. Michael New was right to obey his conscience. The Army was correct to send him home to look for another job. LETTERS TO THE JOURIMAL P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 Work must continue on Highway 81 I enjoyed your thoughtful editorial of .Ian. 13 regarding the Kansas Highway System. As president ol' the 467-member Pan American Highway Association spanning Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, we are indeed concerned about lack of funding to complete U.S. 81 as a four-lane expressway in the Sunflower State. Kansas is fortunate to have your hometown senator, Ben Vidrickscn, who has long championed highway improvements throughout Kansas. Our association presented him our annual "Road-Builder Award" in Belleville at our annual meeting last fall. The only aspect of your editorial I would disagree with is when you said, "gas tax does not keep up with inflation." It does in Nebraska, where we have a variable gas tax to raise the amount of money necessary to complete our 20-year program begun in 1989. Whether highway construction costs rise 3 percent, ti percent or 9 percent, Nebraska levies the exact amount necessary to continue. However, if Kansas does not desire an additional sales or gas tax, Sen. Vidricksen has a capital idea building toll roads. Just as the gas tax is, tolls are very fail- user fees. Incidentally, Nebraska is forging ahead with four-laning U.S. 81 and will have 156 miles from the Kansas state line north to Norfolk complete or under construction within the next eight years. We would not be pleased about the safety aspects of having two, 11-mile segments left for two-lane traffic between Concordia and Nebraska. We have contended KITCHEN, T LIBERTIES Letters from the Whitewater's edge An advance peek at the correspondence between Hillary Rodham and Sen. Al J I ealous of the attention the special prosecutor is getting by subpoenaing Hillary Rodham Clinton to testify before a federal grand jury, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato tries to grab back the spotlight by accepting Mrs. Clinton's offer to answer * questions from the Whitewater Committee in writing. Her lawyer agrees on the condition that she can turn the tables at the end and ask D'Amato, the chairman, a question. Here is an advance peek at the epistolary exchange be- , • B -•,• tween him and the first lady: MAUREEN DOWD Q. Mrs. Clinton, don't you ne New York Times think it strains incredu-al-ity $ when you say you have no idea, I mean, no idea, how copies of Rose Law Firm billing records suddenly turned up on a table in a room that only your family, servants and house guests have access to? Do you expect us to believe that this is just happenstance and circumstance? Is that your stance? A. Senator, that's a wonderful question. It takes a village to find billing records. And documents are important, but not as important as children. I make that point in my new book, which I did too write by myself, here are my note's, the No. 1 nonfiction best seller, $20, all proceeds to charity: You can't roll up your sleeves and get to work if you're still wringing your hands. Q. Carolyn Huber, your friend and Chelsea's trusted baby sitter, told the committee that she hasn't spoken with you since Dec. 23. Not even a word on Christmas. This sudden silence disturbs me. Well? A. Okey dokey, artichokey. The White House pastry chef gave me the secret to perfect S'Mores: You melt the Hershey bar a little before you put it on the marshmallows and graham crackers. Mmm, good. Bill loves them. He eats three at a time. Oh, and he says they're great with tomato sauce! Q. I am troubled by your claim that James McDougal's S.&L. became a client of your law firm through the rainmaking talents of a first- year associate. The associate doesn't remember that. And did you know that Kenneth Starr has found a witness who can testify that your husband jogged over to Madison Bank in the summer of 1985 and, while dripping sweat on McDougal's new leather chair, asked him to put your firm on retainer? A. To quote Chelsea's favorite nursery rhyme: "As I was standing in the street,/ As quiet as can be,/ A great big ugly man came up,/ And tied his horse to me." But I intend to cooperate with the horse. Q. And what about backscratching with Jim Blair, the general counsel of Tyson Foods, who helped you become a Cattle Queen, turning $1,000 into nearly $100,000, helped you bury the Whitewater story in '92, and then helped arrange the "loan" to McDougal so he could buy you guys out of Whitewater after the election? A. Thank you so much for asking, senator. I was wearing Oscar de la Renta at the State of the Union and didn't Chelsea look lovely in her blue crepe? She's growing up so fast! She actually called her father's office herself to ask if there was an extra ticket to the speech! Q. Are you being totally candid with this committee? A. As my good friend Martha Stewart says; when you're shoveling snow, leave an inch on the ground for esthetic reasons. Q.. I think you're in this up to your earballs', and here's what I don't get: You're a smart lawyer who always had her eye on the White House. So why get involved in rinky-dink real estate deals? A cheesy resort in the Ozarks arid a trailer park called Castle Grande? Sounds like a hamburger franchise on the Island. A. Speaking of islands, I am reminded of the Greek proverb that I quote in my No. 1 nonfiction best-selling book which I wrote myself: A civilization flourishes when people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit. Having cooperated fully, Mrs. Clinton is. now allowed to ask Mr. D'Amato a question: Q. Tell me, senator, how does an ethically challenged hack, the incubus of the Hempstead patronage machine, a man ruthlessly devoted to political payback and the petrified Dole candidacy, who calls a press conference when he. falls in love, have the nerve to come on like my good friend Elie Wiesel in a power tie? Have you no shame, sir? A. Naaah. What 'someone' found the records? that short two-lane segments on a predominantly four-lane highway system, become funnels of death. We add our support to Sen. Vidricksen's toll roads plan, if this is the only method by which Kansas can close the 1-70 to 1-80 "interstate gap" between Salina and York, Neb. — KIM JOHNSON Hebron, Neb. • Kim Johnson is president of the Pan American Highway Association. England has insight I am writing in response to Dan England's article of Jan. 17. It is the best article I have read on abortion rights in a long time. He has a real knack for writing. I know he'll get a lot of negative mail. He's right on in all aspects of abortion, and our rights as women. Thank you, Dan, for such a great insight and writing skills. — CAROLYN ENGLEBACH Salina United Way a success I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our community for reaching and exceeding the 1995 Salina Area United Way campaign goal. The success of the campaign was due to a communitywide effort. I would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who worked on this past campaign and the thousands of people who contributed to it. The Salina Area United Way is committed to improving the quality of life in our community, and I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to serve as campaign chairman for 1995. — THOMAS P. MARTIN Salina And just who might have been shocked to discover that they were missing? •he unremarked Whitewater revelation of the past week was Hillary Clinton's admission to investigators that in 1988 she had "authorized the destruction of Rose Law Firm records about her recent representation of the Madison S&L. Perhaps you believe her reason for destroying those 1986 files was not to conceal her connection to scandal, but was merely — as she affirmed — to free up space in filing cabinets. Perhaps you believe, too, her contention recently to radio interviewer Diane Rehm that in 1992 "we took every document we had ... We laid them all out" to The New York Times — a claim destroyed by the recent surfacing of billing documents concealed' back then. (White House counsel, avoiding the word "inoperative," had to ad- The New York Times mit Mrs. Clinton was "mistak- 4 en.") Perhaps you believe that the long-sought billing records — showing her active representation of the corrupt S&L and offering leads to her involvement in a fraudulent land deal — were placed on the table of the room next to her third-floor hideaway by some sinister force. Having stood on the burning deck, I em- WILLIAM SAFIRE pathize with loyalists. The Clintons' lawyer, David Kendall, deserves a salute for cunningly introducing the notion that in 1992 Mrs. Clinton may have handled these records: "It is possible they showed her the billing records then, but she does not recall." Although this assertion undermines her claim that she did not know that any documents were withheld in 1992 from Times reporter Jeff Gerth, the astute lawyering provides some cover in the unlikely event Mrs. Clinton's fingerprints are found on those billing records along with Vincent Foster's. But we must not let the triple trickiness obscure the underlying drama. Carolyn Huber swore that the records appeared in the storage room in the president's living quarters last August, during Senate hearings. She testified they were not on the table three or four days before, adding that "someone" — person or persons unknown — put them there. If so, logic suggests the avidly sought billing records were not put there to be 'found and filed, but were parked there temporarily, to be looked over in the room next to the office then being used by the first lady and her ghostwriter. Can you imagine the sinking feeling of the "Someone" when he or she came back to the room and found the records gone? That person would worry: Who took them and for what purpose? Can I ask people with access to the storage room if they saw the records and what they did with them? Of course not; the files have Foster's handwriting all over them in red, and the first lady is not supposed to know about the files' where- DOONESBURY abouts. This Someone wonders: Maybe Carolyn took them; that former Rose employee would surely recognize them as the subpoenaed billing records. Will she turn them over to the independent counsel or the Senate? Will she bring them to the president or first lady? Surely she wouldn't silently sit on them forever. Five months pass; the records placed on the table do not reappear. All that time, the Someone must be sweating: Who has them? The finder may be selling them to the press, or planning blackmail, or has been a guardian angel and destroyed them. But the Someone is precluded from trying to find out. It's as bad as trying secretly to destroy bulky records when you're a central figure in the White House. You cannot put them in a wastebasket; the trash will be brought back by the Secret Service with "did you want to throw this out?" Asking for a shredder would arouse suspicion. You cannot put them in a burn bag for fear it will be examined. Nor can you light a fire in August without stimulating questions or setting off an alarm; even at Camp David, the fireplace is visible to servants through a kitchen window. So how do you get rid of the fistful of records with nobody the wiser? For deep-sixing, you could give them to Bruce Lindsey (revealed to have received $50,000 in cash for black neigh: borhoods in a past campaign), but that would be conspiracy and you could never be certain the file was destroyed. So you put them on the table in the storage room. You'll be back in a few hours ... : By G.B. TRUDEAU ffrV MOST WAYS, FARMER *^ UK£ ANY OTHER HAW-WORK- IN6 RURAL P5NIZ5NS., . IN ON£ PB&PECT, HOWEVER, MR. ANP MRS. FARMER B£N AZE ANYTHING 0UT TYPICAL. I7H/NKIHBAK. 5OMZ7HJH6... UNUKB TH5 VA^r MAJORITY OF 1HB1R FeilOW FAMILY FAFMB&.. ... BEN ANP ROSE VOTE IN N5HJ HAMPSH/RE.