Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 28, 2002 · Page 6
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 6

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Monday, October 28, 2002
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VIEWPOINT Monday, October 28,2002 - 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 In material breach By WILLIAM SAFIRE New York Times News Service WASHINGTON — If the U.N Security Council fails to adopt a resolution holding Iraq "in material breach" of its many disarmament agreements, that refusal will have consequences for the United Nations and several of its member nations. The State Department cannot say that, of course, because our diplomacy with council members rests on persuasion, not threats. But should the United Nations deny the fact of Saddam's repeated and sustained defiance of its irresolute resolutions, the world body will henceforth play only in a little league of nations. Every diplomat knows what "in material breach" means: As called for in the resolution put forward by the U.S. and Britain, that phrase clears the way for the liberation of Iraq. If Saddam does not promptly come into total compliance with no-nonsense inspections, we would have the useful, though not necessary, U.N. coloration for our overthrow of the outlaw regime. Russia, France, China and Mexico lead the pack wanting to strip that triggering phrase from the declared U.S. position. If they succeed, their "no" votes would assert that Sad- dam is not in material breach of a dozen previous Security Council orders, which Baghdad would interpret as a legal triumph. It would also show that Colin Powell's faith in the U.N. system and his own persuasive powers has been grievously misplaced. What would be the consequences of a victory by Saddam over the U.S. in the Security Council? If President Bush were to meekly accept the rebuff of a further watering-down of the U.S.-British resolution, his administration would become a laughingstock. Worse, the world would have no way to restrain nuclear blackmail. That won't happen. Should Vladimir Putin and Jacques Chirac lead the council down the path of appeasement, Bush will undertake the liberation of the Iraqi people with an ad hoc coalition of genuine allies. And here is one pundit's assessment of the likely consequences: After our victory in the second Gulf War, Britain would replace France as the chief European dealer in Iraqi oil and equipment. Syria, the Security Council member that has been the black-market conduit for Saddam's black gold, would be frozen out. The government of New Iraq, under the tutelage and initial control of the victorious coalition, and prosperous after shedding the burden of a huge army and corrupt Baath Party, would reimburse the U.S. and Britain for much of their costs in the war and transitional government out of future oil revenues and contracts. If Turkey's powerful army on Iraq's border significantly shortens the war, its longtime claim to royalties from the Kirkuk oil fields would at last be honored. This would recompense the Turks for the decade of economic distress caused by the gulf wars, and be an incentive for them to patch up relations with pro-democracy Iraqi Kurds fighting Saddam at their side. The evolving democratic government of New Iraq would repudiate the corrupt $8 billion "debt" that Russia claims was run up by Sad- dam. Even more troubling to Putin will be the heavy investment to be made by the U.S. and British companies that will sharply increase the drilling and refining capacity of the only nation whose oil reserves rival those of Russia, Saudi Arabia and Mexico. Rising production from a non- OPEC Iraq, matched by Saudi price cuts from princes desperate to hold niarket share, could well reduce world oil prices by a third. This would be a great boon to the poor in many developing nations, rejuvenate Japan and encourage prosperity worldwide, though it would, temporarily impoverish Putin's Russia, now wholly dependent on oil revenues. Such economic consequences to nations that help or hinder us in the United Nations this week do not compare to the human-rights benefits to millions of Iraqis liberated from oppression and to Arabs from Cairo to Gaza in dire need of an example of freedom. That moral dimension of the need to overthrow Saddam is of no interest to ultrapragmatists in the Security Council. That is why our resolution holding him "in material breach" of U.N. orders to stop building mass-murder weapons and encouraging world terror is bottomed on self-defense against a serial aggressor. But the Paris-Moscow-Beijing axis of greed — whose commerce- driven politicians seek to prop up the doomed Saddam in the United Nations -— will find its policy highly unprofitable. Paradise lost By JOAN RYAN Newspaper Enterprise Assn. The island of Bali was like one of those souvenir snow-globes, a perfect little paradise encased in glass, separate from the rest of the world. It was die place you went, if you could, to slip out of yourself, to release the thousand particles of your busy life into the perfumed breeze. "Bali was the place I tracked down [my wife] Devi before getting married," recalled my friend David Cohen. "It was the place we returned to three or four years later when our children were babies. The people are so gentle and love children so much that we always joke that in the five weeks we were there, our youngest child's feet never touched the ground." Cohen is the author of "One Year Off," (Travelers' Tales, 2001) a chronicle of the year he and his family spent traveling around the world. He just finished directing the publication of "A Day in the Life of Africa," (Publishers Group West, 2002) for which 95 photographers were dispatched across the continent to document a single day. For Cohen and Devi, after all their travels, Bali remained special. Now in their mid-40s, the couple returned to die island this summer for a week. "Recapturing our youth," Cohen said. They found themselves one night at the Sari Club, the nightspot where more than 180 people were murdered in an explosion from a car bomb recently, an attack authorities attribute to Al Qaeda. "If you wanted to kill as many children as possible, that's the place to do it," said Cohen. When the bomb detonated, the club was jammed, as it always was at midnight. The terrorists chose me most popular nightclub on the island at the time it would be most crowded. "These were kids in their 20s, mostly Australians, girls with bellybutton rings and hair braided (into cornrows) by the ladies on the beach," Cohen said. "They were children, and they were children at their most beautiful — tanned, fit, dressed up to engage in mating rituals. As 40-year- olds, you really appreciate that youthful energy, the air charged with pheromones. "There was an open courtyard out front, packed with kids drinking triple gin-and-tonics.The street was packed, too, because people were walking back and forth to the nightclub across the street." When he was visiting, Cohen and his wife had drinks with a few Australian surfers too shy to talk to the girls. "These were just kids who had saved up their money to take a little vacation from Sydney or Melbourne. Their biggest concerns were about 'How do I look? Can I ask that pretty girl to dance? Maybe I'll get a little drunk." 1 What Al Qaeda is waging isn't war. They aren't killing soldiers or bombing military installations. This is mass murder, perpetrated by sociopathic criminals still on the loose, despite our efforts since the Sept. II attacks. The attack in Bali is a piercing and gruesome reminder that, unlike Saddam Hussein, Al Qaeda is killing innocent people around the world in huge numbers right now. Our resolve and resources in tracking them down must not be diverted. "This [bombing] hit me so hard because I was there and I saw who it was they were killing," Cohen said. "If the intent is to send the message that no place is safe, (hat there is no paradise, they've succeeded. This is as purely evil as I can contemplate." (Joan Ryan is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. Send comments to her e-mail atjoanryan@sf- gate.com.) IDUNNO-WHAT DO YOU WANNA K IF YOU GROW UP? What Al-Qaida learned By FRANK RICH New York Times News Service Does everyone feel safe now? There are good reasons why the sniper siege terrified Americans who were far from the line of fire, but they're not the reasons that have dominated the media babble. It's not that we all have relatives in Washington or knew a child slated to go there on a school trip. It's not that we were watching too much bad TV Sure, cable dished out the story as if it were Gary Condit or shark attacks redux, with hapless CNN going so far as trying to add actors from CBS's "Crime Scene Investigation" to its already inept roster of profiling pundits. But however trivializing the style of presentation, the content was weighty. The reason that a USA Today/CNN poll this week found that the sniper was the second most highly watched news story in a decade, second only to 9/11, maybe that Americans intuitively sensed that it could be the second most important story as well. What made the story both scary and substantial was the mercilessness with which it exposed our permeability to a terrorist attack at home more than a year after 9/11 "changed everything." Whether this Muhammad was an Atta sympathizer or not, the fact remains that one or two gunmen were able to paralyze the capital of the most powerful nation in the world for three weeks, to the point of threatening the ability of citizens to carry out the most fundamental rite of democracy, freely walking into polling places on Election Day. Media critics complained that the sniper usurped more significant news stories like Iraq, Bali and Moscow, but in truth these are all strands of a single story. Each day that the sniper remained in charge was a day likely to embolden our foes, just as we prepare to expand the war on terrorism. "Even if the sniper isn't connected to al- Qaida, he's showing our vulnerability," said lohn McCain when I spoke to him the day before the suspects were identified. After the bombing in Bali, Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy secretary of defense, was moved to observe that it was "a wake-up call for the Indonesians." Are we sleeping through our own wake-up call? Relief that the killers seem to have been caught should not be confused with closure. We must not now forget that the failures of cooperation between federal and local law enforcement as the sniper piled up his kills were a replay of the turf wars between Rudolph Giuliani's cops and the feds after last fall's still-unsolved anthrax attack. The Pentagon, which may soon face the task of tracking down Sad- dam Hussein in a city of five million, made the mistake of tipping off the sniper of its air surveillance plans for the D.C. area. The syndicated columnist Michelle Malkiri argues persuasively that the INS's decision to release John Lee Malvo after his December 2001 arrest by immigration authorities was "in clear violation of federal law." These are merely the leading indicators of a larger drift into complacency that is hardly limited to this one form of terrorism or a single city. Just how much so was cataloged on Friday by the Council on Foreign Relations, which released an alarming document with a most un-council- like title to match: "America Still Unprepared —America Still in Danger." The report is the work of a bipartisan task force headed by Warren Rudman and Gary Hart and stocked with intelligence, military and foreign-policy heavies as various as the former FBI superagent James Kallstrom, the Iraq hawk George Shultz and the former NIH head Harold Varmus. "The next attack will result in even greater casualties and widespread disruption to American lives and die economy," they wrote. The facts back up their fears. They found that the nation's 650,000 local and state police still have no access to federal terrorist watch lists. They found minimal surveillance of the potentially explosive cargo containers transported to and within the U.S. by ship, truck and train. (We seem to be making the unwarranted assumption that al-Qaida's next attack wul again be by plane.) Though President Bush told the nation this month that a single "Iraqi intelligence operative" could with one "small container" wreak havoc with chemical and biological weapons, we are largely defenseless against such an attack: "Police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel in most of the nation's cities and counties are no better prepared to react now than they were prior to September 11." The report, which can and must be read at www.cfr.org, does offer fixes, some of them fairly quick, for the shortfalls. Stopgap communications equipment for law enforcement officers can be purchased off the shelf. Local emergency centers can hire retired medical workers to be on call should Bush's dire warning come true. But most of these recommendations include the verb "fund" — as in, someone will actually have to pony up for them, and soon. "The states are in dire straits and the federal government has to step in," says Rudman, a fiscally conservative Republican. "We have to do something. Give up a tax cut, pay a surcharge, something. This is a damn war we're involved in. We can't expect ail this to materialize out of the air." Yet there is not a leader in either party who has the guts to call for such a sacrifice from America's taxpayers. Thus the federal government has authorized only $92 million toward the estimated $2 billion needed to secure our ports, at which 21,000 containers arrive each day. Hart says that what united the entire task force was die feeling that there's "no sense of urgency and we have slipped back into business as usual." For him and Rudman, it's deja vu. In 1998, they had been put in charge of a similar Defense Department task force initiated by Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich. In their January 2001 report, they foresaw terrorism on "American soil" leading to mass death; they proposed, among other possible protections, a department of homeland security. The Bush administration brushed off their recommendations and the press, including The Times, largely ignored them, too. Even now, after 9/11 dramatized how prescient their findings were, the department of homeland security is still gridlocked in the Senate. Hart in part faults his own party's intransigence on civil service protections for what he considers an unconscionable delay. Whether the new Hart-Rudman report will be ignored as the first was is as yet unknown. But the bizarre air of unreality in our public life right now doesn't Gil one with hope. It's as if we can't seem to break the bad habits that led up to 9/11. In February 2001, the CIA chief, George Tenet, testified before Congress that Osama bin Laden and his network were "the most immediate and serious threat" to the U.S. and that they were likely to stage "simultaneous attacks" producing "mass casualties." Few in government, including at his own agency, felt any great urgency about it then, and neither did Berry's World www.comtcs.com O2002byNEA, Inc. psN'T ACTUALu* SURF. THE \* AM JMAGg. THIMG." the public. But did Tenet's parallel testimony of little more than a week ago have much more impact? Lest anyone forget, he said that al-Qaida was "reconstituted" and "coining after us," fomenting a threat level as . bad as that of summer 2001. In Washington, though, the threat level remains frozen at yellow. The Democrats have gone home to decry the economy. The president'is off campaigning, too, outdoing even his predecessor in money raised and days devoted to sheer politics. Poor old Charlton Heston could be found waving his rifle to cheering crowds, defending his Second Amendment rights uber alles, even as a man with a rifle was bagging human game in the capital. Neither the president'nor Tom Daschle wanted to do more than ask for a study or "take a look" at the terrorism-fighting possibilities of ballistics fingerprinting. Just before Congress left' town, a long-overdue 9/11 investigative commission was scuttled once more — by the White House, according .to John McCain and other witnesses. Is ignorance bliss? "You can't prevent a repetition of an act of terror unless you know all the events leading up to it," the senator says. Speaking from his home state of Colorado, Gary Hart said, "The attitude is that it's not going to happen here." I had asked him if he agreed with my perception that terrorism seems a much less pressing threat when you talk to Americans outside the D.C.-N.Y. axis. "It's an East Coast problem, maybe a West Coast problem," he said, giving his take on the local mood. "And that's tragically mistaken. The next targets could be Denver, Cleveland, Dallas. The way you demonstrate a country's vulnerability is to attack it everywhere." Certainly our enemies learned this month, as Rudman puts it, "how easy this kind of terrorism is to carry out." Did we? (USPS 262-040) Published by THE INDIANA PRINTING 81 ' PUBLISHING COMPANY :I99 Water Street Indiana, PA. 15701 (724) 465-555 5 Established in 1890 On lite Internet: indiaiiaKazetle.com R.HASTTERAY Publisher, 1913-1970 LUCY R. DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-1993 JOE DONNELLY Publisher, 1970-2OOO MI Cl IAEI. J. DONNELLY.- _. President Publisher 1IASTIE D. KINTF.R „ _ __ Secretary Assistant Treasurer STACIEI). GOrTTFREDSO N Treasurer Assistant Secretary IOSEPI11- GEARY ...__ General Manager ROIiEOTYESILONIS..... Adv./Mktg. Director SAMUEL|. IIECIITEI.-. Executive Editor LYNN SCOfiT fcst. Executive Editor Special Projects CARLA.KOLOGIR Man aging Editor CARniEII SUnSCRIpnON BATES — Paid in advance to Gazette office — Four weeks, $1235; Tliirtecn weeks, S37.S5; Twcn ly-six weeks, $75; Fifty-two weeks, SMR.90. MOTOR BOUTESUflSCRIPTION RATES— Paid in advance to Gazette oflicc — Four weeks, $12.90; Thirteen weeks, $3fl.75; TWcnty-six weeks, $77.30; Fifty-two weeks,$154. SUNDAY ONLY SUBSCRIPTION RATES — Paid in advance to Gazette office: • BY CARRIER —Twenty-six weeks, $22.10; Fifty-two weeks, $44.20 • BY MOTOR ROUTE—TWcnty-six weeks, $24.70; Fifty-two weeks, $49.40. MEMBER OFTI II-ASSOCIATED PRESS—The AP is entitled exclusively to the use or reproduction of all local news printed in this newspaper as well as all AP news dispatches. IYrlo.ll<-«l! lYnmgeftMar Imllana. PA 15701 Put dlslittl ilallycjaT)! New Vr.rt Day. Memortal Day. I"ly . rfflirth, Ijilnr Day.TIiaiiLifiMng Day anil Oiriunu* Day. I'lnl^^ailcr Scnil ikldreM rhangn iff. IrwllarM fliarflr. 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