The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 28, 2001 · Page 7
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 7

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THE SAUNA JOURNAL SATURDAY, APRIL 26. 2001 Tom Bell Editor & Publisher Opinions expressed on this page are tliose of tfie identified writers. To join the conversation, write a letter to ttie Journal at: P.O. Box 740 Saline, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljoumal.com Quote of the day "He needs to be one of those big rescue dogs, a St. Bernard, coming in to balance the budget, not a little Chihuahua yapping at the Capitol." Rep. Rocky Nichols D-Topeka, suggesting that Gov. Bill Graves needs to criticize less and lead more during the state budget debate. OPIWIOM Rumors of war wmt Bob Kerrey in Vietnam THE ARGUMENT Guilt is a product of war G olda Meir, who learned a thing or two about war as prime minister of Israel, once said it is possible to forgive an enemy for killing your sons, but impossible to forgive that enemy for forcing you to kiU their sons. Bob Kerrey, apparently, knows what Meir was talking about. For 32 years, the former governor, senator and presidential candidate from Nebraska carried a terrible memory Not the Vietnam battle that cost him part of his leg, although he can hardly have forgotten that, but the memory of a battle only three weeks earlier, in which he and his small team of Navy SEALs got into a nighttime firefight in the Mekong Delta that left at least 13 unarmed civilians dead. Kerrey, while quick to label the incident "an atrocity," insists that the deaths were an accident. He denies the charge of a former comrade in arms that the civilians were killed at Kerrey's order. Even if Kerrey did that, it would hardly be the only such incident in that misbegotten war, a war whose leaders, on both sides, would be up on international crimes against humanity charges if any court could reach them. If Kerry's version of events is true, it is a stretch to say that he lied about it before. He never raised the incident, never listed the bronze star he was awarded afterward on his campaign resume. But it would have been good for everyone if Kerrey had told this story sooner, while he was still an active politician, before events turned to raise suspicions that he is coming clean now only because the press was onto the story It would have been good because we need to be told, at every opportunity by people who have been there, that war is a stinking business in which people — our people, their people and innocent people in between — are killed, often with industrial efficiency We rightly make pains to, in Mr. Lincoln's words, care for him who has borne the battle, at least working to heal the physical damage done by enemy bullets. We need to do a better job of facing the emotional wounds of war, the invisible stain of blood that some good men will never be able to wash away, no matter how many medals we give them. We need to face that, even if it means that we don't get involved in so many wars. Especially if it means that we do not get involved in so many wars. — George B. Pyle Journal Columnist • POINT OF VIEW • LETTERS TO THE JOURNAL Rape remains a silent crime G ov. Bill Graves has proclaimed the month of April Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Kansas to increase public awareness about this important issue. While we frequently hear about sexual assaults in the news, we still like to think rape happens to other people in other communities, And it makes us feel better to blame the victim. If the victim "asked for it," then we are safe. Rape cannot happen to us. Bapists do not rape, for ex- anjple, because the victim is drgssed a certain way Rapists choose victims who are vulnerable. That is why almost any wcgnan or child is a potential vi(^im. In fact, the majority of rages are committed against mmors, and most rapes occur in^ home, not a dark alley, as many believe. Every hour approximately 88 women are raped in the U.S. One in three women will be raped in her lifetime. Despite these staggering statistics, rape remains a silent crime in our community and throughout Kansas. Rape isn't polite. We don't talk about rape. Because we doubt the validity of ^rictims' experiences, rape is th^ least reported of all crimes. We all know someone who has been a victim of sexual assault, bult you may not know it. Vic- tirtis hide this secret because we blame them. They are afraid they wiU not be believed and supported. That is why less than 15 percent of rapes are reported to authorities. And less than 2 percent of rapists actually serve time in prison. The wounds of sexual assault are usually not apparent on the outside, but they can be profound emotional wounds. Life may never be the same for a sexual assault victim, whether the rapist was a stranger, date, acquaintance or family member. Thirteen percent of rape victims even attempt suicide. Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansas sees not only the damage done to survivors, but also to those who care about them. As a community, we damage ourselves by not talking about it. We continue to place our most vulnerable residents at risk- by not supporting victims and not holding perpetrators accountable. Let us pause and ask ourselves how we can work together to reduce sexual assault and respond to survivors of this violence in a way that enables them to heal and regain control in their lives. We encourage you to join us this month at the Central Mall for our Clothesline Project April 21-29. On the Clothesline will hang the T-shirts of the victims of sexual assault, they will take down their masks and share their secrets. And let us commit to face the reality that rape lives in our own backyards. — CAROL BRADFORD Domestic Violence Association of Central Kansa Salina The man who made Bush what he is These days, Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is unrepentant at any speed H ow tedious, these analyses of the new administration's First 100 Days. So superficial. So artificial. So identical. So today let's shatter the conventions of punditry and tell it like it really is. Let's look at The First 100 Days of the Nader- Bush-Cheney administration. And let's look at it from the perspective of the man who made George W. Bush what he is today. Meet and greet Ralph Nader, the Green Party's candidate for president in 2000. Now, there are some who keep writing that a bunch of dimpled and dangling guys named Chad won Florida for Bush. Not so. Bush's margin of victory over Democrat Al Gore in the Florida Recount Wars may have been a few hundred votes or a thousand or so — but that is inconsequential once you realize that Ralph Nader received 97,419 votes in Florida from people partial to the environmental activist cause. Early in the election year. Republicans realized that Nader was their politically green ace in the hole. The GOP strategists were prepared to cast Gore as an en- viro-nut (via the dastardly tactic of using Gore's direct quotes from his book, "Earth in Balance," passages that dripped with liberal activism). But then GOP strategists realized that attack would convince environmentalists to vote for Gore instead of wasting their votes on Nader. So the Republicans just zipped their well-watched lips while Nader and his environmentalists did their Green thing — which cost Gore the presidency (Nader also enabled Bush to win in New Hampshire, where the Republican's 7;882 margin of victory would have been easily eclipsed had it not been for the 22,156 votes Nader received there.) So the Green Party, previously a non- power in American politics, became a kingmaker. And for the past week, its standard-bearer worked the TV news-talk circuit, to commemorate celebrations of Earth Day by giving his opinions of the environmental actions of Bush and Cheney Nader's performance was bizarre. He put himself through all manner of rhetorical contortions to avoid saying anything bad about Bush's policies. But he gleefully bashed the policies of Bill Clinton — often blaming the vice president for the shortcomings of the president. Rationalizing what he hath wrought, Nader contended that environmental groups never had it sa good. "... the environmental groups have never T ESSAY Nader discredits all that he has ever claimed to stand for when he hobs and weaves to avoid full frontal attacks on Bush's environmental policies that even Republicans criticize. been more dynamic," Nader told Wall Street Journal columnist AI Hunt on CNN. "They no longer have an anesthetizer in the White House who says the right things and does nothing." Nader is right in criticizing Clinton's policies. After the Clinton administration signed the Kyoto treaty on global warming, Clinton never fought for its ratification at home — and never fought internationally for much-needed modification. His head apparently was elsewhere in his last years of personal crisis. Nader is also right when he says: "Clinton laid a trap for Bush by these post- November 7 standards he issued... on lead, on ergonomics." Indeed, Clinton issued a number of executive orders affecting environmental policy — with little or no explanation — that should have been issued earlier, with ample elaboration, had he not been spending his political capital on saving his presidency But Nader discredits all that he has ever claimed to stand for when he then bobs and weaves to avoid full frontal attacks on Bush's environmental policies that even Republicans criticize. And it is especially pathetic to watch Nader snake and slither to avoid saying that Al Gore would have been a better environmental president than Bush. Not even when Hunt pointedly ran down the list, asked Nader if Gore would have done what Bush did: suspend Clinton's order lowering levels of arsenic in water, reneged on a campaign promise to cut carbon dioxide emissions, pushed for oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic Natural Wildlife Refuge. Savvy Republicans know: The Nader- Bush-Cheney environmental performance during the First 100 Days has as much in common with consistent policy achievement and political adroitness as the Keystone Cops had with dramatic achievement. Bush began by doing in ham-fisted : ways what he ideologically wanted to do. Then polls showed sharp drops in support,. *! especially among GOP voters in suburbs.;' Shazaam! The new president reversed his • course and costumed himself as an Ever-'. green Bush, in made-for-TV photo-ops that; only were saying he wasn't going to scrap • other minor Clinton orders. Ralph Nader, once a public-serving teller of consumer truths, is today a self-serving man in denial, a pathetic lone traveler on . an unrelenting ego trip. Rewind and replay ; his Earth Day interviews and you'll see> what he has become: Unrepentant at Any • I Speed. • Martin Schram is a writer for Scripps Howard News Service, 1090 Vermont Ave. NW, Suite 1000, Washington, B.C. 20005. That's no way to judge a conservative -4- The usual hundred-days frenzy doesn't make sense when applied to Bush W ASHINGTON — The current hundred-days frenzy threatens to surpass last year's Y2K lunacy in anniversary annals. It began with Napoleon Bonaparte. Exiled to Elba in 1815, he determined to make what the French now call le comeback, and soon drov^ King Louis XVIII from Paris. Then, after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo, the prefect of Paris welcomed the king back with: "A hundred days, sire, have elapsed since the fatal moment when Your Majesty was forced to quit your capital in the midst of tears." The phrase broke into the U.S. political lexicon to mark the furious lawmaking at the beginning of # FDR's presidency The 73rd Congress passed deposit guarantees, farm subsidies and the Tennessee Valley Authority and set up a host of alphabet agencies — all in exactly 100 days. Ever since, that span has been used as a standard to judge whether a president hits the groimd running. John Kennedy resisted the comparison: "I'm sick of reading how we're planning another 'Hundred Days' of miracles," he told Ted Sorensen, which led to his Inaugural Address reference to "a thousand days." Bill Clinton, contrariwise, embraced the notion of a fast start. "I'll have the bills ready" he promised in his '92 campaign. WILLIAM SAFIRE The New York Times The hundred-day yardstick measures activity, not stability. "We'll have a 100-day period. It wiU be the most productive period in modern history" Didn't happen. Now we are coming to the fateful moment next Monday that has all the Counts of Countdown in an analytical tizzy Next week's news-magazine snipes will slash the centudiurnal headline, and the Sunday talk shows will be identically themed. Nobody wants to be behind the barn door on Judgment Day, when presidential report cards are handed out. President Bush has been swept up in this Die maelstrom, seeking out 100-day interviews right and left, inviting all of Congress down to the White House to be present at the witching hour. His sudden hyper-availability is primarily defensive; if Bush were not to race out in front of the pundit parade, forcing the inclusion of his "doing pretty darn good" self-assessment, others would do the defining of his moment for him. Such abnegation would be akin to abdication. But Bush is mistakenly accepting the essential premises of the 100-day measurement, which are: How busy has he been? How much legislation has he stampeded Congress into passing? How profoundly has his continuing campaigning and dominance of television seized the imagination of his compatriots? How ringingly has his oratory reassured the one-third of the nation that, as FDR might now say, is ill tempered, ill advised and ill at ease? That's a fair way to assess a liberal president, but no way to assess a conservative DOOIMESBURY president. The hundred-day yardstick measures activity, not stability; new entitlements, not new restraints; historic milestones, not necessary review; dramatically getting the country moving again, not quietly getting the country back on the right track. Bush's record in the first 16th of his term is better directed to what the gathering Bush administration is and is not. It is low-key lower-voiced, deliberate, right of center but not confrontational. It is surely not Clintonesque, makes a big point of not being star-struck, and is no hotbed of hostility The "tone," most agree, is changed. Then to what Bush has done and not done: He has resolutely pressed his tax cut, which would reduce the rate of growth of government, as he promised. He has restrained the last-days rush to set new environmental rules, at some cost to his reputation as ameliorator. He delayed new defense spending until his administration comes up with a coherent new national-security strategy He made the partisanship less personal. Beyond that, he handled the plane collision calmly and decided not to make the return of the crew a presidential occasion for lip-biting histrionics. His withdrawal from hyperactivity in the Middle East makes sense, as does his initiative for hemispheric trade. George Shultz, when working for Ronald Reagan, turned around a phrase to set straight eager, hundred-day hotshots: "Don't just do something — stand there." It's a criterion to remember on the weekend of action-oriented snap judgments. • William Safire is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, 229 W. 43rd Street, New York. NY 10036. By G.B. TRUDEAU • TMf rj/TFLnais-m amna/r TmruNOs/tsmNPiNSTHffr tS1H£R£THAr I HAV&.

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