Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2002 · Page 6
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 6

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Page 6
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VIEWPOINT "The Gazette wants to be the friend of every man, the promulgate* 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 A-6 — Sunday, October 27,2002 The Indiana Gazette The basement under the street By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN New York Times News Service DOHA, Qatar — At a seminar here this week on relations between America and Islam, one of the questions discussed by American and Muslim scholars was that elusive issue: Where is the Arab street and how might it respond to a U.S. invasion of Iraq? For my money, the most helpful answer was provided by the Jordanian columnist Rami Khouri, who said that "what's really important today is not the Arab street, but the Arab basement." This is an important distinction. The "Arab street" is the broad mass of public opinion, which is largely passive and nonviolent. The "Arab basement" is where small groups of hard-core ideologues, such as Osama bin Laden and his gang, have retreated. Over the years, Arab leaders have become adept at coping with the Arab street, which is why not a single one of them has ever been toppled by it. They know how to buy off, or seal off, its anger and how to deflect its attention onto Israel. The Arab basement, though, is a new and much more dangerous phenomenon. These are small groups of super-empowered angry men who have slipped away from the street into underground cells, but with global reach and ambitions. While issues like Israeli and U.S. policy clearly motivate them, what most fuels their anger are domestic indignities — the sense that their repressive societies are deeply failing, or being left behind by the world, and that with a big bang they can wake them up and win the respect of the world. "These guys started in their living rooms," said Khouri, "then they went out into the streets, got pushed back, and now they have retreated to the basements." Unlike the Arab street, no diplomacy can defuse the Arab basement. It doesn't want a smaller Israel, it wants no Israel; it doesn't want a reformed Saudi monarchy; it wants no Saudi monarchy. Sd what to do? The only sensible response is to defeat those in the Arab basement, who are beyond politics and diplomacy, while at the same time working to alleviate the grievances, unemployment and sense of humiliation that is felt on the Arab street, so that fewer young people will leave the street for the basement, or sympathize with those down there — as millions of Arabs do today. There is no question that America can help by making a more energetic effort to defuse the Israeli- Palestinian conflict and by speaking out for the values that America has advocated everywhere in the world — except in the Arab world: namely democracy. I met yesterday with 50 students from an elite Qatari high school and the new Cornell Medical College in Doha. They were so hungry to talk, to have their voices heard; and what you heard when you listened was how much they still looked up to America, but how much they thought America looked down on them. But the Arab states have a huge role to play too. You cannot seal the door between the Arab street and the Arab basement without addressing the reasons for Arabs' backwardness and humiliation cited in the U.N.'s Arab Human Development Report, which are their deficit of freedom, their deficit of women's empowerment and dieir deficit of modem education. "It takes many years of political, social, economic and human degradation to create a terrorist," Khouri notes. "So fighting terror can only succeed by rehumanizing degraded societies, by undoing, one by one, the many individual acts of repression, obstruction, denial, marginalization and autocracy that cumulatively turned wholesome developing societies into freak nations, and decent, God- fearing people into animals that kill with terror." My guess is that the only way to stop the drift of young Arabs from the street to the basement is by administering some shock therapy to this whole region. Could replacing Saddam Hussein with a progressive Iraqi regime be such a positive shock? I don't know. I don't know if the Bush team really wants to do that, or if the American people want to pay for it. But I do know this: If America made clear' that it was going into Iraq, not just to disarm Iraq but to empower Iraq's people to implement the Arab Human Development Report, well, the Arab basement still wouldn't be with us, but the Arab street just might. Unlikely pair of assassins By ROWLAND NETHAWAY Cox News Service They smile warmly into the camera, their arms draped around each other's shoulders. The cutlines under the photo identify them as John Allen Muhammad, 41, and 17-year-old Lee Malvo. They are reported to hold strong anti-American feelings. They also are suspected as the sniper team that has terrorized the Washington, D.C., area for three weeks. It's difficult to believe these two healthy, happy, vigorous people smiling out of the photograph might be responsible for the assassination-styled murders that terrorized millions of citizens. Could these two actually have lain in wait for a chance to put a .223 caliber bullet into a 13-year- old boy on his way to school, or a 25-year-old woman vacuuming her car, or a 72-year-old man standing on a street? Is it possible that these two people smiling out of the Associated Press photo left tarot cards with taunting messages at die scene of their murders? "Mr. Policeman, I am God." The apparent father-son bond that comes through in the photo should find expression in a fun camping trip, not the slaughter of 10 people going about their daily lives pumping gas, cutting grass, shopping or eating out. Three more unsuspecting citizens were badly injured. Old, young, black, white, male and female — all shot with equal intent to kill and terrorize. Because police were looking for white men in a white van, they ap- parendy missed an opportunity to arrest the black father-son team only six days after they launched their Oct. 2 sniping assault. According to the Washington Post, police questioned the two in a Baltimore parking lot on Oct. 8 the day after a 13-year-old boy became the eighth sniper victim. Police took the names of Muhammad and Malvo and let them go. Historically, American serial killers have been white. Assuming the arrested pair are found guilty, the motivation for their crimes may be an unprecedented attempt to terrorize the nation with indiscriminate slaughter either to make an anti-American political statement or to ransom public safety for money, or both. Officials have said that Muhammad and Malvo were sympathetic to the Sept. 11 Muslim fundamentalist hijackers although there is no known al-Qaida connection. Muhammad and Malvo, a Jamaican citizen, may have been motivated by anti-American sentiments, according to investigators. Police say Muhammad, a Gulf War veteran, converted to Islam 17 years ago and changed his name from Williams to Muhammad about 15 months ago. An acquaintance reported that Muhammad worked security for the Million Man March in Washington organized by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who also has expressed anti-American sympathies. Many Americans feel the lasting solution to the war on terrorism is a change in attitudes about America on the "Arab street." This reasoning holds that the United States needs to convince moderate Muslims that the United States is not an enemy and that they must condemn Muslim extremists. That's a good argument, but a difficult task. Behavior is best controlled by pressures from within a culture, society, religion or family. Just as Muslim moderates in Saudi Arabia should speak out against their own Islamic extremists, so should Americans speak out against U.S. extremists without regard to religious, political or racial associations. Anti-American violence from foreigners is scary enough. We don't want to start fearing our own citizens. (Rowland Nethaway is senior editor of the Waco Tribune-Herald. Email: WHAT A LITTLE COSTUME! WERE, HAVE £OME CANDY... IT? NOT WORKING What is 'potential life?' By GEORGE F.WILL Washington Post Writers Group WASHINGTON — Antonio Pena and Jaclyn 'Kurr of Michigan were a turbulent pair. She had sought hospital treatment for injuries he inflicted, and spent time in a domestic violence shelter. Then came their argument about his cocaine use, during which he twice punched her in the stomach. Kurr did not fear for her life, but warned Pena that she was carrying his babies. She was 16 or 17 weeks pregnant with quadruplets. When Pena seemed about to punch her again, she stabbed him in the chest, fatally. Thus began another awkward episode of living with an abortion culture. Convicted of voluntary manslaughter, Kurr was sentenced as a habitual offender to five to 20 years' imprisonment. The trial judge denied her request that the jury be instructed that she had a right to use deadly force in "defense of others," namely her babies. The judge ruled that a fetus under 22 weeks old is not "viable," meaning not capable of surviving outside the mother's womb. (The noun "mother," which seems to postulate the existence of an "other" of the sort properly denoted by the noun "baby," is routinely used in court rulings about abortion.) Therefore, said the judge, there were no "others" to make the "defense of others" rule applicable. He said: "That's my theory." His "theory" is that an unborn baby — which has its own unique DNA complex, and which will, absent natural misfortune or deliberate attack (by abortion or someone like Pena) become a bom human being — is not an "other." But a Michigan court of appeals disagrees. It has ordered a new trial, ruling that under Michigan law Kurr had a right to invoke the defense of "others." The appeals court noted that in 1998, Michigan's Legislature adopted a fetal defense act which does not distinguish between viable and nonviable fetuses and says it is a crime to cause a miscarriage or stillbirth while acting "in wanton or. willful disregard of the likelihood that the natural tendency of" such conduct is to cause a miscarriage or stillbirth. The appeals court said die Legislature plainly believes "that fetuses are worthy of protection as living entities." About half the states have such laws. But given the U.S. Supreme Court's 1973 ruling in Roe vs. Wade, states can treat fetuses as worthy of protection from people like Pena, but not from their mothers. The "defense of others" doctrine allows an- individual to protect an unborn baby only from unlawful violence, which does not include abortion. There have been many cases illustrating the impossibility of reconciling an abortion culture — the right of unlimited abortion on demand — and moral judgments of the sort expressed in Michigan law. In Texas a drunk driver who struck a pregnant woman's car was convicted of killing the woman's baby, which did not survive after being born a month and a half prematurely. A Baltimore court in effect took custody of a fetus by placing a pregnant drug abuser under court jurisdiction to prevent her from jeopardizing the health of her fetus—unless she exercised her right to kill it by Bush muffs his chance By THOMAS OLIPHANT The Boston Globe WASHINGTON — A few months ago, Senator John Kerry handed President Bush a golden opportunity to begin treating veterans decently and get credit for doing the right thing. The president blew it then, and he's blowing it again now — all in the name of cockeyed budget priorities that put tax cuts for a tiny sliver of upper-crust American society ahead of the daily needs of ordinary people, including those who served in the armed services and became disabled in the process. The first time around, Kerry made public a ridiculous new Veterans Administration policy to halt efforts to inform veterans of the health benefits they are due under the law. But the president did nothing, because the disgusting policy was needed to cover up the ugly truth the veterans' health benefits are deliberately underfunded by a few billion dollars a year. It took Congress's initiative, not Bush's, to cover a chunk of this year's shortage in a special measure this summer, but the problem will recur as the demand for VA care keeps growing. That is why the Bush response was to make it harder to veterans even to know what's available. Now Kerry and his active band of combat veteran brothers in the Senate are offering Bush another opportunity, but the president is muffing it again — big time, as his nonvet vice president would say. As Congress mercifully ended its failed life last week, Bush is making a rare, explicit threat to veto the entire military authorization bill for this year. Incredibly, his direct threat is based on implacable opposition to an effort to finally end all 1-year-old injustice in retirement and disability pay- Ever since the 1890s, die pensions paid to retired service members have been lowered — dollar for dollar — by the amount of money a disabled vet receives. The system evolved out of a long-ago investigation into the benefits given veterans of the 1848 war with Mexico and in some ways is a precursor of modern concerns about "double-dipping" — or the receipt of income from more than one government source. In this case, however, the law blocking veterans from getting "concurrent receipt" of benefits does not curb excess. It is simply unjust as a matter of policy and of simple logic. Consider: No one objects to the idea (for cops, military people, firefighters) that after 20 years of this kind of public service you should be able to retire with a pension. Also, no one objects to the concept that if you are disabled in your public service, there should be compensation. • What is nuts is the proposition that the latter should affect the former. Retirement should be retirement; it is, after all, earned. And disability is disability, earned the hard way. What is more, disability (partial, moderate, or complete) as a matter of logic affects a person's earning power, and disability pay is designed in theory to compensate for that loss. The notion that it should reduce a service member's earned retirement benefit dissolves under a moment's scrutiny. The measure still before Congress has yet to be formally passed and sent to the White House. The House version phases out the injustice and limits the effect to veterans with at least 60 percent disabled status. The Senate one, which has the upper hand, simply stops the injustice. It would cover some 700,000 retirees who could eventually be found to have service-connected ailments in addition to the 33,000 currently disabled. Ending the injustice would boost total income for a vet with a 20 percent disabled rating by $2,400 five years hence, and for a 60 percent disabled vet by $7,500. It's not designed to create millionaires. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of fairness would be roughly $61 billion over 10 years. For a decade, this cause has always been bipartisan. The current activism by Kerry and the Senate vets only makes it more so. The issue raises three larger points as well. First, it is wrong that activists have to take up causes that reflect an intolerable, green eyeshade mentality at the VA and the White House. It's gone on too long. Second, the cost of justice here demands wise overall priorities. Fitting this into the military budget would be a lot easier if promised efforts to reform pork barrel and outdated Cold War weapons programs became real. Third, the veterans groups that need support in this cause are also needed to help support other victims of foolish priorities in this country. The veterans' cause is obvious and compelling but far from unique. President Bush can say no and make it stick next month. At a minimum, however, he should be forced to do so under the spodight, not in the shadows. For that, thank you, Senator Kerry. (Thomas Oliphant's e-mail address is dRAFFITI abortion. Abortion Mils something. What is it? A television commercial for General Electric's new ultrasound system shows a pregnant woman and her husband marveling at an amazingly clear picture of their unborn baby's features. The commercial features Roberta Flack's song "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face." The announcer says: "When you see your baby for the first time on the new GE 4D ultrasound system it really is a miracle." By the time babies are as old as Kurr's quadruplets were, ultrasound can show their fingers and beating hearts. The Supreme Court in Roe called such babies "potential life," a weird opinion that could be forgiven if this were the llth century, knowing nothing of embryology or microbiology — if die beginning of tife were a matter of uninformed conjecture. Today doctors perform wonders of prenatal diagnostic and therapeutic medicine, administering drugs and blood transfusions and performing surgery in utero — treating as patients fetuses that mothers have a right to kill. Many expectant couples have, in the nurseries they have prepared for their "potential" babies, framed ultrasound photographs of the "potential" babies. Many couples have fetal heartbeat stethoscopes for listening to — what? "potential" heartbeats? A few weeks after being punched by Pena, Kurr miscarried. Whether the punches caused the miscarriage is unclear. She had a constitutional right — her privacy right of "choice" — to kill the unborn babies. And in Michigan and many other states she could kill someone who endangered them. That's the law. C TOO UNITED FEATURE SYMMCATE. Ine azette (USI'S 2G2-040) Published by THE INDIANA PRINTING & PUBLISHING COMPANY 899 Water Si reel Indiana, PA. 15701 (724) 465-5555 Established in 1890 On the Internet: R. IIASTIE RAY Publisher, 1913-1970 LUCY R. DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-1993 JOE DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-2000 MICIlAEI.J.DONNniJ.Y.._ ..... ______ ...... -.President Publisher IIASTIE IX KINTEH .............. _ ................. Secretary AssislamTreasurer STAC1E D. COiTFREOSON .„ ........... _. Treasurer Assistant Secretary JOSEPH L. GEARY .................... General Manager ROBERT YESriflNIS .„ ........... Adv./Mktg. Director SAMUEL). BECIITEI .................... Executive Editor LYNN SCOTT-.... ..... _ ......... Assl. Executive Editor Special Projects CARLA.KO[OCIE- ...... - ............. Managing Editor CARRIER SUBSCRIPTION RATES - Paid in advance lo Gazelle office — Four weeks, $12 .35; Thirteen weeks, $37.95; Twenty-six weeks, $75; Fifty-two weeks, S148.90. MOTOR ROUTE SUBSCRIPTION RATI-S — mid in advance to Gazette office — Pour weeks, $12.90; Thirteen weeks. S3B.75; TWcnty-six weeks. $77 JO; Fifty-two weeks, SI 54 SUNDAY ONLY SUBSCRIPTION RATES— Paid in advance to Gazelle office: • BY CARRIER —Twenty-six week.?, $22.10; Fifty- two weeks, $44.20 • BYMOTOR ROUTE— Twenty-six weeks, $24.70; Fifty-two weeks, $-19.40. MEMBER OF Tl IE ASSOCIATED PRESS —The AP is cntiiled exclusively to the use- or rcpro- duction of all local news primed In this newspaper as well as all AP news dispatches. ,. MX R.X JO, Inilbun. PA 15701

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