MONDAY, OCTOBER 14, 1996 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 Sallna, KS 67402 Fax: (913) 827-6363 E-mail: SalJournal @ aol.com Quote of the day " 'Poli' is a Greek prefix meaning many, and 'tics' are blood-sucking animals. So, bingo, there you go." James Carvllle polticial consultant, asked to define 'politics,' quoted in The Wall Street Journal T COMMENT OPINION By GEORGE B. PYLE / The Salina Journal War is hell IK ISSUE Gulf War ailments THE ARGUMENT Pentagon clings to image of a clean war E vidence is mounting that veterans of the 1991 Gulf War may be suffering from serious illnesses, and that some of those illnesses may have been caused by Iraqi nerve gas. For a nation that has erected countless monuments, not to mention a huge if sometimes inefficient structure of government benefits, to honor veterans of our wars, the unfeeling treatment Gulf War vets have received from our government is more than troubling. Just last week, another independent review concluded that the Pentagon's treatment of Gulf War veterans who report various ailments has been unacceptably shallow and dismissive. Recently, we found that it had taken five years for the government to conclude, and to announce, that there may have been thousands of U.S. and allied soldiers downwind of an Iraqi bunker when it was destroyed by combat engineers. That act may have released a nerve gas called sarin, and may have caused untold damage to our men and the families they came home to. Given that Iraq's chemical weapons were a major reason for launching Operation Desert Storm in the first place, the official state of denial about our soldiers' possible exposure to such hazards is hard to understand. Or is it? Clearly, news that veterans of the desert campaign may have been injured in ways less apparent, more insidious, than a belly wound or a lost limb threatens the biggest victory won in the Gulf: The image of The Clean War. Those few who spoke against the brewing war for Kuwait's oil drew dark pictures of thousands of young Americans coming home in body bags. But those body bags went unfilled. There was great rejoicing. There were parades and new heroes for America. Best of all, we had beaten the Vietnam Syndrome, the idea that America was afraid to fight. Of course we're not afraid to fight if we won't get hurt. Thousands of Iraqi soldiers bulldozed into mass graves don't count. Americans did not die. We had made war safe. And we could, if called upon, fight another one. But war isn't safe. People get hurt. And they may not be granted the favor of dying in a blaze of battlefield glory. They may die years later. Or the veterans may just have to live with nagging disabilities that don't even earn them a Purple Heart or a handicapped parking space. Or their children may be born with birth defects. War is still all hell. And covering up the effects of it is a crime. The re-election bash Descendants of immigrants repel newcomers I TOM TEEPEN Cox News Service * t used to be that when an immigrant showed up in this country, we'd ask, "Do you buy the Declaration, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and, you know, all that stuff?" And the immigrant would say, "Yis, I bey all dot" and we'd say, "Great! Look, » everybody: a new American." And two generations later, the grand- kids were running grocery stores, racing Indy cars, growing artichokes, teaching phys ed and cranking out Hudsons. Congress — an elected body of the descendants of immigrants — spent much of its session this year repelling new Americans. It was not a pretty sight. Republicans most keenly, but numerous Democrats as well, claimed to be going after illegal immigration. Fine, but their legislation makes it painfully clear that mainly the members were just beating up on furriners, for which they expect to be rewarded with re-election. Congress raised the bar against refugees seeking political asylum and stripped them of appeals to the courts if they draw an immigration officer who doesn't understand their predicament. In repugnant violation of our history as a safe haven, we'll start sending the doomed back to certain persecution, their fate probably worsened by their flight to escape it. Say "Hi" to the firing squad for us, Juan. At least Congress gave up on two, of its dumbest ideas. LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL True of picture of abortion not as clear as some draw it In Doug Rogers' column Oct. 7 he asked what is wrong with the mental picture he drew of partial-birth abortion. I see errors in this picture of the procedure itself, in his belief in the beginning of life and in the matter of choice. First, I have seen the wrong pictures drawn by pro-life lobbyists against the procedure which suggest perfectly normal fetuses. From the real-life experience of seeing hydrocephalic infants, babies with so much water in their skulls that their heads were as large as basketballs, I know that the suction practiced is not- simply the removal of brains, at least in cases of the birth defect I have seen. Secondly, no one denies that physical life begins, or rather continues, with the union of the physical lives of the sperm and ovum in conception, but when this fetal tissue becomes a living "being" is a matter of religious belief and thus a freedom of religion issue. The writer of Genesis 2:7 (some say it was dictated by God) states that man became "a living being" with the "breath of life," which may have influenced the jury's conviction in the Dewberry case. The question of abortion is a religious decision differentiating between the termination of a pregnancy and infanticide, which sadly the desperate woman had. not made. Thirdly, the contributing editor restricts his "pro-choice" position to the freedom of the woman to practice birth control as if the man is not obligated to make a choice in regard to pregnancy, the best choice of course being a vasectomy, which doesn't inhibit his sexual pleasure as in other male methods. In comparing sons to "arrows in the hand of a warrior," a psalmist (127) declared, "Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them!" Adapting the psalmist's metaphor with concern for the burdens of women, isn't it about time for more men to keep their quivers empty of arrows? — ELSTON FLOHR Lindsborg Illegal immigrants won't be denied immunizations; Congress finally figured out that setting off plagues was probably not a good idea. And Congress backed away from refusing schooling to the kids here illegally, after police departments explained that creating packs of illiterate street urchins wasn't in the national interest. There are a few useful provisions in the new legislation. Border patrols will be doubled. Penalties for smuggling aliens are increased. There'll be more Immigration and Naturalization Service officers to investigate illegal hirings. But INS also will be allowed additional arbitrary exclusion powers; the agency has a lamentable history of misusing the ones it already has. Most social services will be denied not only to illegal immigrants but to legal ones, a pointless inhumanity sure to set off a rush for naturalization at a time when immigrant services such as English classes already are overwhelmed. And citizens and resident aliens who want to sponsor relatives must earn 125 percent of the poverty level — a back-handed way to cut legal immigration. (And a weird version of family values.) Appalled, a Hungarian-born New York financier and philanthropist, George Soros, is donating $50 million to help legal immigrants; small potatoes to the lost federal aid, but a dead-on gesture. The charity will be called the Emma Lazarus Fund, after the poet whose "Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" garnishes the Statue of Liberty. Immigrant joke: How many immigrants does it take to be smarter than the Congress of the United States? Just one, /f his name is Soros. We should see both sides of TM controversy A very healthy and exciting thing has been going on in Smith County for the past three weeks. People have been scurrying around gathering information, sharing information, discussing information, evaluating information, trying to help each other get oriented to this new thing which is coming to our county. It is a conference center for Natural Law health and transcendental meditation to be established by the same people who have the Natural Law Party with a presidential candidate on the ballots of 48 states. We all know very well, of course, that this is a free country and that we cannot control who buys the land right next to ours or the house next door. We can't always control to whom we would sell our own property. That's the place where our freedom ends and someone else's freedom begins. We all acknowledge that truth because it's the law of the land, it's in the Constitution, and we wouldn't have it any other way. But we also know that life in a rural community is not just simply life according to the book or even life according to our highest commitments. The quality and character of life in a village or a rural community is not something that can be legislated in a town charter or required in the county codes. But, rather, the quality and character of life in the small town is something that we are negotiating and shaping and reshaping every day through our informal words and actions at the coffee shops, in business transactions, in our churches, schools, work places and in all of our social encounters. And so while it is good that some people have had the courage and the self-control to stand up and remind us that the freedom we cherish extends to all people, it is also good that other people have had the courage and self-control to stand up and sound an alarm about the new dangers and pressures that we are facing in our community. Yes, there are very definitely two sides or two aspects of the truth in the issues that confront our community at this time. One side of the truth is that,this is a free country and therefore the TM group has just as much right to be in Smith County as any other group or business, so long as they are law-abiding, which they seem to be, as a group. The other side of the truth is that the TM group has all the markings of a powerful cult with a world domination agenda. That means that they will use subtle and slippery deception and manipulation very patiently over a long period of time and that our small-town culture is going to be forever changed by their presence. I, for one, have been slow to realize that those who first sounded the danger alarm are not merely alarmists, they are just better informed than I. Since both of those sides are aspects of the truth, the worst thing we can do is for each of us to jump on one side or the other and try to fight it out with each other. What we need, rather, is to study and pray and work together, so that we might be able to navigate a peaceful passage in the area where these two truths overlap; the truth that we live in a free country where we are called and committed to be good neighbors to people who are very different from us; and the truth that some of our neighbors have a hidden agenda with long term and dangerous consequences and that we are called and committed to avoid being sucked in, deceived or manipulated by them. . — JIM CHAMBLEE Jr. Smith Center Thompson failed fundamental duty to safeguard our money Several months before State Treasurer Sally Thompson announced her intention of running for the U.S. Senate, I wrote to her expressing my grave concerns about the activities of the Municipal Investment Pool. The responses from her office were either evasive or non-existent. Because she is now implying that the $700 million the pool paid local government units is somehow extraordinary, I can remain silent no longer. That return is not remarkable given the amounts she was investing. What is remarkable is the loss she created in the pool. Since May, 1994, the MIP "short pool" has never paid as much as the three-month T-bill rate, which is the general benchmark banks pay to local units. Kansans' expect their state treasurer to safeguard the public's money. She failed in that fundamental duty. She ignored the counsel offered by experienced people and chaired the MIP until it had lost $20 million, which the Kansas taxpayer is now paying. That's the pertinent measure of her knowledge and ability. The loss she created and her inability to yet P.O. BOX 740, SALINA, KANSAS 67402 understand what she did should surely disqualify her as a responsible candidate for the U.S. Senate. — SAM FORRER Ulysses • Sam Forrer is president of the Grant County Bank, Ulysses. Commissioner, administrator abuse their authority I am writing as a business owner and'tax- payer to question Saline County Commission Chairman Mike White and County Administrator David Criswell. What deal did you really agree to for the increase of the county administrator's pay from $40,000 to $51,696? We live in Salina, Kansas, Saline County, where the average income is $25,000 dollars per year, not Wichita or Kansas City. How can you justify a large salary when most farmers, like myself, work seven days a week, 15 hours a day to keep our operation's going? As for the County Administrator David Criswell, who takes away jobs from elected officials, as well as their employees, all to gain more power and contro, no county or city administrator from other states or Saline County is worth $51,696, especially when Saline County owes $104 million in bond debt. Commission Chairman Mike White would be wise to retire from the county commission before his election comes due. May God forgive you for being greedy and power hungry, but I cannot. Tax dollars are being misused to consolidate and abuse the power given to county officials. Remember the words of Commission Chairman Mike White, "the evaluation of the County Administrator David Criswell was very positive, and the projects completed were mind boggling." Remember when you struggled to get roads and bridges repaired and county debt reduced; The result was higher property taxes to pay-for this abuse. Also, county employees who complete the work, remember the huge pay in-. crease for your bosses? For all the taxpayers, city and county, remember the names who abuse the power and justify huge pay increases. This is Salina, Kansas, Saline County, U.S.A. Not Wichita or Kansas City. And elected officials, remember who paid your salary. You volunteer your skills to serve the citizens who voted you into office. You must stop the abuse of power now. Commissioner White and County Administrator Criswell just spent the savings of the new computer bookkeeping system. < — JOHN P. MILLER Salina late'?' '"•'< -limitations III IESBURY By Q.B. TRUDEAU YOU suite w SHOUUW HAVe tutwiep HIM'
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