Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 24, 2002 · Page 6
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 6

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Thursday, October 24, 2002
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VIEWPOINT Thursday, October 24,2002 - Page 6 "The Gazette wants to be the friend of every man, the promulgator of all that's right, a welcome guest in the home. We want to build up, not tear down; to help, not to hinder; and to assist every worthy person in the community without reference to race, religion or politics. Our cause will be the broadening and bettering of the county's interests." — Indiana Gazette, 1890 The Indiana Gazette Life under siege By BOB HERBERT New York Times News Service "You can ask me all these questions. Bob, but I do not want to be in your story." I nudged her a litde. Eventually my friend, who is 47 years old, married, the mother of two children and a resident of the primary target zone of the suburban sniper who has killed 10 people and wounded three others, agreed to continue talking as long as I promised not to identify her or her family. As she talked you got a sense of how weird the most ordinary of lives can become in a region contaminated by terror. My friend lives just across the border from Washington, in Montgomery County, Md. Five people have been killed there. Last Saturday she and her husband were in a restaurant when a waiter told diem there had been another shooting, this time in Richmond, Va. My friend said she told her husband they should get in die car right then and run errands, go to the grocery store and men go get gas, "because, you know, if he's shot somebody 90 miles away in Richmond, there's this window of opportunity where you can do all these things." They didn't run the errands. But there was nodiing irrational about the impulse. The daily routine in an open, American-style democracy is as fragile as tissue paper, vulnerable always to the tyranny of violence, whether from within Or with- OUL People getting groceries or gasoline in the suburbs of Washington now carry with mem the kinds of fears and some of the defensive strategies we ordinarily associate with combat. "I feel stupid," my friend said. "I know that we're paranoid. I know we are hysterical. I know that, in fact, my risks are much higher from a lot of other things. But somehow this guy is just getting to us. "It's hardest on die kids. I have a 9-year-old who needs exercise. He's bouncing off me walls." The term of choice for schools in the area is "lockdown." The kids don't go out, not even for recess, and no unauthorized persons are supposed to come in. A 13-year-old boy was shot and wounded in nearby Prince George's County, and the sniper recently declared: "Your children are not safe anywhere at any time." My friend has a daughter in middle school who is on a soccer team that usually practices every day. The practices are now held in the school's gym, which is jammed with teams that can't practice outdoors. It's a sports enthusiast's nightmare. The gym is litde more than a cage for the frustrated young athletes and their adult supervisors, all of them struggling to one degree or another with the sense of dread implanted by the sniper. On Wednesday an e-mail message circulated among parents about the possibility of holding a practice in a backyard that is "shielded from the street and completely enclosed." Nearly everyone is jumpy. Stories are going around about people walking in a zigzag pattern because tiiat was recommended in somebody's list of dos and don'ts. The monumental traffic jams resulting from the search for the sniper, while understandable to most residents, nevertheless contribute to the fear and frustration. And as each day passes without any indication that the investigation is making progress, confidence in the authorities' ability to protect the public ebbs. (There was a nasty exchange on Wednesday at one of die regular briefings conducted by the chief of the Montgomery County Police Department, Charles Moose. A reporter demanded to know why die chief spoke "courteously, even respectfully" to the sniper. When Chief Moose said he tried to speak respectfully to everyone, even to the reporter, the reporter replied, "Well, me sniper's a killer, chief.") A light on my friend's dashboard showed that she was low on gas Wednesday morning, and she could no longer put off die ritual of filling up. She drove to a station across the border from Montgomery County, in die District of Columbia. There has been only one shooting in die district itself, die killing of Pascal Chariot, a 72-year- old handyman who was gunned down as he waited for a bus on Oct. 3. My friend nervously worked the pump, inserted the nozzle, and tiien waited inside the car as the tank filled. "That's what everybody does," she said. And then she added, "Don't you dare write about this if anything happens to me." And men she added, "At least say that I was a nice person." What about the children? By CHARLEY REESE King Features Syndicate I just read an article by a British Broadcasting Corporation correspondent about street kids in Honduras. It was poignant but depressing. Police and vigilantes frequendy execute street kids in impoverished countries like Honduras and Brazil. The reason? lust to get rid of diem. They are a nuisance. They have become surplus people. The mortality rate for surplus people of any age tends to be high. Why would anyone want to visit a country where police routinely kill children, sometimes after torturing diem? It isn't just die cruelty of the police that should keep decent people away. It's the massive indifference shown by die adults. They don't care. Of course die same is true in dus country. We have street kids. We have children living in poverty. We have plenty of families who can't afford basic health care, and plenty of schools in need of repair. And we have massive indifference. My city just chased Covenant House, a Catholic organization that provides shelter to street kids, out of the downtown area. Apparendy, the city fathers thought it was not good for the tourism business. They're trying to figure out a way to get the homeless shelter out of sight and out of mind, but all the suburbs are saying, "Not in my back yard." At least we don't allow street kids to be murdered — though if the number of them in services and to healtii care seems to require constant battles. All of our wars and attacks on people kill, wound and impoverish people, and the political talk about peace and democracy is just so much manure. Our government loves a dictator as long as he does what he's told. But when our forces kill children and other innocent civilians, we just brush it off as "collateral damage." I hate mat phrase, collateral damage. It is an inhuman euphemism created to disguise murder. If you were a cop shooting at a fleeing felon, and you killed three innocent bystanders, no court in this country would allow you to brush it off as "collateral damage." I've come to hate bombing. It should be a war crime. Smart or dumb, bombs are going to kill noncombatants. If we're so hot to settle every matter with military force, men we should park our airplanes and missiles and fight people one on one on me ground. It's hardly sporting to bomb a poor, small country with no air defenses. It's like shooting street kids. Well, I guess I'm just tired of die evil in die world. One does get tired of it, after a while, and also of the hypocrisy. I'm very tired of seeing $10u,000-a-year preachers sounding like anything but a Christian as they malign people who have different beliefs. I'm tired of our government's indifference toward the suffering of people like the Palestinians. I'm tired of the fact mat we're not living 100 Yard Daschle FORME! Developing the waterfront By GEORGE F.WILL Washington Post Writers Group NEW YORK— It was but a brief reference in Mayor Michael Bloomberg's inaugural address 10 months ago. He vowed — less man four months after terrorism crippled lower Manhattan -— that "we will bring new life to our waterfront." He was referring to, among other places, die crumbling Hudson River piers and other undeveloped space on Manhattan's far West Side, die world's most valuable wasted urban space. A few decades ago, says former Sen. Pat Moynihan, in this city of builders — of bridges and tunnels and skyscrapers — "civic reputation began to be acquired by people who prevented things from happening." The principal excuse for stopping development of the waterfront was tiiat it would disturb die spawning of certain fish. Ed Koch, an anti-nonsense mayor from 1978 through 1989, said that if die fish wanted to spawn, he would build them a motel. To no avail. Bloomberg, a capitalist buccaneer with an appetite for aphorisms ("Bring a gun to a knife fight"), is interestingly placid in his first year in elective office. He believes die city must display its traditional onward- and-upward brio even while budget constraints — city revenues wax and wane as Wall Street's do — intensify. The city's crackling energy and infectious confidence attract, he says, the sort of people whose productivity can change the long-term budgetary arithmetic. Chatting in the cubicle where he works in a room full of cubicles — a room resembling die bond trading floor where his business career started, before founding a financial information empire — Bloomberg does die arithmetic: In the city's $42 billion budget, which has a $5 billion deficit, $28 billion is federal and state money for specific programs, and federal, state or court-mandated spending. Of the remaining $14 billion, $9 billion goes to four "untouchables" — education, police, firemen and sanitation. That leaves $5 billion. So one way to balance the budget is to erase the rest of the government. Which won't happen. But balancing die budget is mandatory. So New Yorkers, already overtaxed, probably will be taxed more, and services, including the "untouchables," will be cut, quality of life will suffer, businesses and taxpayers will leave and, suddenly, it could be the 1970s again. While waiting for Wall Street to again become a geyser of revenues, Bloomberg can at least get government out of the way of private development. And he can release energies suppressed by bureaucracy. Bloomberg thinks die answer to almost every urban problem involves "a better-educated public," and he believes that "if you can't measure it you can't manage it," so he has centralized control of the public school system that is measurably failing to serve me city's 1.1 million pupils. New York's 108th mayor was a liberal — very liberal — Democrat. He wanted to be mayor, but probably would not have survived a crowded Democratic primary. So he declared himself a Republican, won that nomination — which usually is worthless, given die Democrats' 5-1 registration advantage — and spent $72.5 million getting elected. He governs in tandem witii a city council in which only four of 51 members are Republicans. A majority of the 51 are government lifers and professional "activists" from the welfare-social services industry. With a net worth well north of $4 billion, Bloomberg, 29th on the Forbes list of richest Americans, is me richest person ever to hold elective office—about 10 times wealthier, adjusted for inflation, than Nelson Rockefeller was in 1958. He governs a city mat is one-quarter African-American and, after a decade in which 1.2 million immigrants arrived, has a population approaching 40 percent foreign-born. This is a city of subway riders. So is he. This day he takes a train uptown to 34th Street and 8th Avenue, for a ceremony celebrating Moynihan's success in securing the magnificent post office building to become die next Perm Station, a suitably august gateway to the city for millions of visitors. Thinking spaciously is essential to me city's elan, which in (urn is essential to giving die city a critical mass ofcreativity. "' ' ; ' : Which is where leadership can matter, as it did in 1934, when Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia bought a ticket on a flight from Chicago to New York. When the plane landed in Newark, as New York flights then did, he refused to disembark, insisting that the terms of die ticket required that the plane shuttie him to a New York City landing strip, in Brooklyn. Soon 5,000 men were working three shifts a day, six days a week, to complete — in two years — what is now LaGuardia Airport. Today it would take 10 years to complete die environmental impact assessments and find the fish their motef rooms. War must be fought worldwide grew have many organ many good people vthO'i do good work trying to help people. But I think our government's priorities are not right. We spend more on defense than the next 25 countries combined. Million-dollar missiles fired from billion-dollar airplanes don't seem to faze us, but devoting the proper amount of money to child-welfare By MORTON KONDRACKE Newspaper Enterprise Assn. Suddenly, the Bush administration has to deal with the entire "axis of evil" at once — and with other fearsome rogues as well. Preparing for war witii Iraq, die administration apparendy plans to employ tough diplomacy toward North Korea, die newly confessed nuclear oudaw. The big question is: What will Bush do about Axis Enemy No. 3, Iran, which is working on nuclear weapons and, according to the State Department, was "die most active state sponsor of terrorism" in the world last year. The danger exists dial Iran, Iraq, Syria and the worldwide Islamic terror network are conspiring, in one form or anotiier, to convert me U.S. confrontation with Iraq into a genuine "clash of civilizations" pitting Islam against the West. In me event of war with Iraq, they could be expected to hit targets in Israel, me United States and Europe, and to topple Islamic governments allied with the United States — most scarily Pakistan's, which has nuclear weapons. North Korea can't be linked direcdy into this worldwide conspiracy. Ratiier, its regime, having duped the Clinton administration utterly, may be trying to take advantage of the Bush administration's preoccupation with Iraq to gain new economic concessions. »n seems alert — i, the and trained to make life miserwe for the Soviet Union. I'm tired of living in a war state. Most of all, I'm tired of the fact mat in the 21st century, millions of children are dying and suffering for lack of basic food and health care. (Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, a get Hmited attention even though it is the chief weapons supplier to Hezbollah, the Shiite terrorist group that has 9,000 rockets located in southern Lebanon and targeted at northern Israel. One of die most widely feared scenarios connected to war with Iraq has been the possibility diat Iraqi. President Saddam Hussein would launch chemical or biological rocket attacks against Israel, triggering Israeli retaliation and a regional war. However, during Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's visit to Washington last week, Bush apparendy gave him assurances that the United States would — and could — do everything possible to prevent such attacks. A senior Israeli official said at a briefing I attended, "I'm sure tiiat the United States will make every effort to avoid die need for Israel to act by deploying forces where mere is danger. "The possibility that Israel might have to act is low because I think die necessary steps are being taken," the official said. Iraq is believed to have fewer Scud missiles than it did during die 1991 Persian Gulf War — 39 were fired at Israel, killing eight people — and U.S. capacity to locate and destroy them is much greater. Also, Israel has die Arrow anti-missile system that may intercept missiles in flight. The more dangerous threat now— which the briefer said was also discussed in Washington — is diat from Hezbollah and otiier Iranian-backed groups, including Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Israel isn't likely to retaliate against Iran but might well do so against Syria, which controls Lebanon and acts as host for Hezbollah and other groups. "Syria is a country of terror," said die Israeli official. "It needs to be warned." In 1991, Syria was part of die U.S.- led coalition against Iraq. Iran, Iraq's former victim and blood enemy, wo* a sympadietic bystander. In 2002, however, their interests may well be more aligned. "It's hard to tell," said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, "whemer Iran will be more anti-Saddam this time or anti- 'Satan,'" meaning anti-America. "They'd like to see Iraq decapitat- ed. On the other hand, rney may fear that they're next on Bush's list" of axis targets. Iran expert Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute has no doubts how Iran will tilt tiiis time. "They know they're next, so they'd ratiier fight us in Iraq than fight us later and alone." Ledeen thinks that die hardline mullahs who control Iran's military, security and terrorism infrastructure "would like to have an excuse to crack down on their domestic enemies and the war in Iraq would give it to them." He thinks me Bush administration has been curiously inattentive toward the threats posed by Iran, including its nuclear program, terrorism connections and die haven it's provided for Al Qaeda fugitives from Afghanistan, possibly including Osama bin Laden himself. "We're going to be involved in a regional war," Ledeen told me, "and we'd better get ready for it" According to nuclear-proliferation expert Henry Sokolski, Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor, being built with Russian help, will be operational in 18 months and will produce enough weapons-grade fuel to produce 50 nuclear bombs a year. Ledeen believes that Iran is sufficiently dangerous — and weak internally— mat it deserves to be die first focus of die administration's "regime change" plans, not the last. "It'd be so easy," he said. 'All we'd have to do is support the people. They hate die regime. We just have to give them money and broadcast to them." '•••• The administration obviously has omer plans. The dangers of regional war — even worldwide war — seem to reinforce me arguments of Congressional opponents of Bush's Iraq policy, who said Bush is stirring up avoidable trouble. But die threats presented by Islamic extremism, Iran, Iraq and North Korea all exist. They would all have to be dealt with eventually, possibly after the United States had suffered more grievous losses. Let's just hope that die administration has the skill to handle them all at the same time. (Morton Kondracke is executive editor of Roll Call, the newspaper of Capitol Hill.) (USI'S 262-040) Published by THE INDIANA PRINTING & PUBLISHING COMPANY 899 Waler Street Indiana, PA. 15701 (724) 465-5555 Established in 1090 On the Internet: ind!anagazette.com RHASTIERAY Publisher, 1913-1970 LUCY R.DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-1993 JOE DONNELLY Publisher, 197O-2000 MICHAEL J. DONNELLY. President Publisher HAST1E D. K1NTER Secretary Assistant Treasurer STAC1E D.GOTTFHEDSON Treasurer Assistant Sccrciary IOSEPHL.GEARY General Manager HOBERTYESILONIS.... Adv./Mklf;. Director SAMUEL J. BECHTEL Executive Editor LYNN SCOTT „ .Assl. Executive Editor Special Projects CAHL A. KOLOGIG Managing Editor CARRIER SUBSCRIPTION RATES — Paid in advance to Gazelle office — Four weeks. S12.35: Thirteen weeks, $37.95; TWenty-six weeks. $75; Fifty-two weeks, $148.90. MOTOR ROUTE SUBSCRIPTION RATES—Paid in advance to Gazette office — Four weeks, $12.90; Thirteen weeks, $30.75; Twemy-six weeks, S77.30; Fifty-two weeks, S154. SUNDAY ONLY SUBSCRIPTION RATES— Paid in advance to Gazelle office: • B Y CARRIER — Twenty- six weeks, $22.10; Fifty-two weeks, $44.20 • BY MOTOR ROUrn—Twenty-six weeks, $24.70; Fifty-two weeks, S49.40. MEMBER OFTHP.ASSOCIATED PRESS—The AP Is entitled exclusively to the useor reproduction of all local news printed in this newspaper as well as all AP news dispatches. Periodical*ftMHRePahlal Indiana, PA 15701 PiihlliKed dally execpl NewYcartDay. Memorial Day July Pm in h, I Jlxx Itay.ThaiikiglvIng Day an.! OulJImai Day IV»tni»sicn Send addn** change* 10: Imttarw Gauim PO. Iku 10, trtdla na. PA 1.1701 • '

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