Page 4 Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Indiana, Thursday, March 24, 1988 Opinion IJljarna-QIrttum? The free exchange of ideas is the greatest protection of liberty. Defense paying for others Is American defense spending too high, the return on it far less than other countries get? National security takes an amount equal to 6.7 percent of our Gross National Product (GNP). A total of 32 percent of federal research and development (R&D) money goes for arms. In contrast West Germany spends 3.1 percent of its GNP on its military and employs "6 percent of its R&D talent in the service of its defense," wrote critic Steven Canby, an adjunct professor of National Security at. Georgetown University in Washington, in The New York Times Business Section of Sunday, March 6. Japan spends even less. His numbers are right, but his argument endangers the position of those who hold that the military buildup overseen during the last seven years by former Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger emphasized hardware too much, people too little, and that by shifting funds from buying arms to supporting troops, we can have more security for less money. The implication of statements like Mr. Canby's is that. Japan provides its own self-protection. It does not. The United States has guaranteed it against foreign attack. Unlike the U.S., Japan also has no . agreements to defend other countries. West Germany does participate in a mutual defense agreement — the North Atlantic Treaty ( NATO ) . Its troops provide for regional defense. Unlike some other NATO members West Germany does not belong to defense groups outside Europe. The examples which Mr. Canby and his ilk cite to justify their agrument that other countries spend less money but provide better protection for themselves while outperforming us economically and socially are flawed. On the other hand, this should not be taken to mean that U.S. national security and R&D money is used cost-effectively. A people-weapons mix which glorifies hardware, treats troops as ciphers and prefers management skills over leadership would be indefensible. To arrive at better national security policies, we need to reject falsely based criticism of current ones and seek the hard truth. Public Forum The union issue I'm writing in response to Mr. "Humanick's" article in Sunday's paper — with the concession issue that employees at Exide are again being faced with. I hope our legislators read it and open their eyes. I think it is about time that the management sector quit laying all the blame on the American worker for the losses they take during the three-month period or during the ending year. I'm also tired of the union work force always being singled out as making too good of a wage, or always being discriminated against. We have had the concession issue beat in the ground for the last 8 to 10 years. If corporate America would treat their employees with honesty, sincerity, and respect, they would see production and profits improve. This isn't Mexico. Japan, China or Taiwan, and nothing can be made any better than in the ole' U.S.A. So, Mr. Mayor, this is directed at you. If the work force has trouble making ends meet and they can't pay their utilities, house payments and taxes, then the whole community has a problem! In closing, I don't always agree with what the union has been tangled up in, but there has to be a force to keep greedy corporate America from getting more so. Sincerely, MikeLeffert Walton Handgun bill Congress is now considering S.466/H.R.975, the seven day handgun waiting period to be imposed nationwide. Despite its "reasonable" coloration, the bill requires police notification and the seven day wait for ALL handgun transfers — even private transactions, and gifts from father to son. Also, there are NO requirements that police destroy records resulting from the notification, records of any investigation they have made, or any other information they create as a result of receiving the name and address of the new owner. Clearly the above demonstrates f i rearms registration. Concerned citizens tired of the perpetual erosion of our Constitutional rights, particularly those of the second Amendment, should not delay in letting your elected officials know your thoughts. Michael T. Lamb Macy NEW SOOK ON CAN YOU THE THIS? In The Past Ten Years Ago Frank Sinatra Jr. performed at the Elks Club for a "Night in Las Vegas." Twenty Years Ago Mrs. Kenneth M. Karle, Logansport, was selected by Cornell University as one of 35 high school science and math teachers to attend a study program. Public Forum Policy JU ETTERS intended for publ ication should be addressed to Public Forum, 517 E. Broadway, Logansport, Ind., 46947. Each letter must be signed and must include the writer's address and a telephone number where Ihe author can be reached. The Pharos-Tribune reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, spelling errors and libelous statements and to limit the number of letters from an individual author. "Thank-you" letters are not accepted for publication. Public Forum letters must be limited to 400 words or less. Charley Reese It is just a base for the Soviets MIAMI — A conflict Cuban Americans have with other Americans is the same one experienced by other refugees from communist tyrannies: Americans find it difficult to understand the depth of the trauma of losing one's country. As a result, Americans tend to think the Cubans have a hang-up about communism. It may be nothing more than human nature. It may be analogous to the difficulty in explaining to a child who has never been burned the danger of a hot stove. It is aggravated by the totally unfounded yet firm conviction of most Americans that nothing bad can ever happen here in the United States to them. Well, not only pride, as the good book warns, but also ignorance goeth before a fall. Fidel Castro and Cuba, for example, are not merely problems for Cuban Americans who hope to see their country free again. Both are a problem for all Americans. The modern age of terrorism was born in Cuba in 1966 at a tricontinental congress. Since then, it is estimated that a minimum of 20,000 individuals from around the world, including 10,000 from Latin America, have attended one or more of the guerrilla and terrorist training courses conducted continuously in Cuba, The Soviet Union operates in Lourdes near Havana the largest and most sophisticated intelligence facility outside the borders of the Soviet Union. It is off-limits to Cubans and is operated by 2,100 Soviet personnel. That spying is directed at us, not at the Cuban community in Miami. The large submarine base at Cienfuegos puts Soviet nuclear submarines astride U.S. shipping lanes and only two days transit time from the main U.S. naval bases at Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk, Va. Cuban airfields, aside from nesting Cuba's nuclear-capable air force, provide the platforms from which Soviet long-range bombers, anti-submarine and reconnaissance planes fly intelligence and training missions up and down the U.S. East coast. Cuba is the permanent home of the Soviet combat brigade. Over the years Cuba has supplied thousands of Cuban combat troops to fight as Soviet proxies in Third World countries, including Ethiopia, Angola, Afghanistan and even the Middle East. Why not? Though an island of only 10 million people, it has the largest, most well-equipped army in all of Latin America. Cuba is the center of support for the Marxist-Leninist groups in Central America, South America and the Caribbean nations. Moreover, Castro has built a large intelligence apparatus which acts under the orders of the KGB in conducting espionage in Canada and the U.S. The Cuban DGI operates out of the Cuban embassy in Ottawa, the Cuban mission at the United Nations in New York, and the Cuban interest section in Washington. It is for all these reasons that Soviet bloc economic and military aid to Cuba between just 1982 and 1986 alone has totaled over $31 billion. Castro, like all Soviet stooges, has as his auxiliary the entire Soviet network in place in the United States. This is one reason why this man who is a criminal psychopath with a virulent hatred of the United States and an atrocious human rights record is forever being excused and even almost idolized by some Americans. I once spent three hours in a one-on-one interview with Huber Malos, himself a true socialist and one of Castro's most trusted commandantes in the Revolution. Matos told me that Castro is more akin to Adolf Hitler than to an ideological communist. He is driven by his malice and his lust for power, not by ideology. Cuban Americans represent an invaluable resource in what should be the drive of all Americans to restore the Monroe Doctrine and to push the Soviet Union out of the Western Hemisphere. It is they, not the CIA, who have the contacts and the knowledge of what is going on inside Cuba. Their fight against Castro is the fight of all Americans against America's closest enemy. Reese is a syndicated columnist bused in Orlando, Fla. James J.Kilpatrick The Law: Did Ollle North break it? WASHINGTON — Over the past few days we have heard a great many pious pronouncements on "the law." In Congress and in the press, we have been instructed that no man is above "the law." Everyone must obey "the law." Four defendants have been indicted for breaking "the law'' in connection with the Iran/contra affair. The defendants this week will enter pleas of not guilty, and well they might, for it is far from certain that any violations of law ever will be proved against them. Setting aside a couple of petty and peripheral charges against Lt. Col. Oliver North, the case presents little more than a bitter dispute between the Reagan administration and the Congress over a policy toward Nicaragua. This is not the stuff from which prison sentences can be fashioned. Forgive a personal note. I have been covering the courts for nearly 50 years, not as a scholar or lawyer but as a working newspaperman. Out of that experience, I can tell you that "the law" is a sometime thing. In most cases it is clear that a law has been violated — the car has been stolen or the check has been forged — and the problem is to prove who committed the crime. The Iran/contra affair is different. We know who committed the acts alleged in the indictments. The question is, were these crimes? We hear comparisons of Iran-contra with Watergate. The two affairs have little in common. In Watergate a crime clearly had been committed: The Watergate burglars of 1972 were caught red-handed in an act of breaking and entering. Watergate had nothing to do with governmental policies. The affair was political from start to finish. The cover-up that led finally to Richard Nixon's disgrace and abdication was a private cover-up. In Iran-contra we are dealing with covert operations conducted in Iran with the president's explicit approval and in Nicaragua with his supposed or implied approval. Consider the case against Col. North. He is accused of violating "the prohibitions of the Boland Amendment" against aiding the contras of Nicaragua. In the period covered by the indictment, three different Boland Amendments came and went. The most important of these prohibited the expenditure of funds available to federal agencies "involved in intelligence activities." The amendment named 10 such agencies specifically. It did not name the National Security Council or the executive office of the president. A threshold question arises: Did "the law" apply to Col. North, to Adm. John Poindexter, and to those who carried out the enterprise in Nicaragua? Special prosecutor Lawrence E. Walsh will have to get over this hurdle first. North and Poindexter are accused of "deceitfully exploiting for their own purposes" the proceeds of arms sales to Iran. The charge will be formidably difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. North is charged with soliciting private funds to help the contras. Was it a crime, subject to prison sentence, for North to urge private citizens to aid in a cause that Congress itself supported at varying times? Prove it, Mr. Walsh! The indictment charges that North "secretly and deceptively" diverted proceeds from Ihe sale of arms to Iran in order to buy weapons for the contras. The adverbs cannot be denied — but this was a covert operation. Secrecy and deception lie at the very essence of such undertakings. Similarly, the indictments charge that North and Poindexter made "false, fictitious, fraudulent and misleading statements" to Congress. They admitted as much in testimony last summer, but, again, the circumstances have to be taken into account. The most galling of the charges against North is that he "embezzled, stole and converted to his own use" certain property of the United Stales. It will take a powerful amount of evidence — truly overwhelming evidence— to make this stick. My own impression of North is that he is a man of total honesty. Seeing a leftover quarter in a pay telephone booth, North would send the quarter back to the phone company. He is a patriot, not a petty thief. Criminal law demands as a general principle that criminal intent be proved. In Watergate this was no problem. In the Iran-contra affair it may well prove impossible. North and Poindexter were motivated solely by their impression that "the enterprise" was serving the president's public dedication to the contra cause. As loyal officers they did what they believed their commander in chief desired. In this they erred, especially in the destruction of documents, but we ought not to confuse error with felony or bad judgment with crime. They are not the same things at all. Kilpatrick is a syndicated columnist bused in Washington, D. C. Today In History Today is Thursday, March 24, the 84th day of 1988. There are 282 days left in the year. HISTORY HIGHLIGHT: On March 24,1882, German scientist Robert Koch announced in Berlin that he had discovered the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis. ON THIS DATE: In 1765, Britain enacted the Quartering Act, requiring American colonists to provide temporary housing to British soldiers. In 1883, long-distance telephone service was inaugurated between Chicago and New York. In 1932, a New York radio station (WABC) broadcast a variety program from a moving train in Maryland. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill granting future independence to the Philippines. In 1944, in occupied Rome, the Nazis executed more than 300 civilians in reprisal for an attack by Italian partisans the day before that killed 32 German soldiers. In 1949, Academy Awards went to a father-and-son team. Walter Huston won Best Supporting Actor for "The Treasure of Sierra Madre" while his son, John, won an Oscar for directing the picture. In 1955, the Tennessee Williams play "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" opened on Broadway with Barbara Bel Geddes as Maggie, Ben Gazarra as Brick and BurlivesasBig Daddy. In 1958, rock 'n' roll singer Elvis Presley was inducted into the Army in Memphis, Tenn.
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