The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 5, 2001 · Page 9
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 9

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Saturday, May 5, 2001
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THE SALINA JOURNAL SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2001 A9 Tom Bell Editor & Publisher 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 Salina, KS 67402 Fax: (785) 827-6363 E-mail: SJLetters® saljournal.com Quote of the day "We're going to have a single standard for the state, high- quality machines, absentee ballot reform (and) recount standards that are clear and easy." Gov. Jeb Biish R-Fla., on election-reform legislation passed by the Florida Legislature that will, among other things, outlaw punch-card ballots. Time for Goodwill good will IHERSUE Candlewood vs. Goodwill Industries THE ARGUMENT Let's see a little more hospitality A Goodwill Industries store is many things. It is a second chance for some perfectly good stuff you never really found a use for, but would feel guilty throwing in the trash. It is a treasure trove of nostalgia, kitsch and Halloween costumes. It is a way to clothe a family — especially a family of rapidly growing children — when you don't have a Hollywood wardrobe designer's budget. It is not junk. Well, maybe it is junk in the sense of, "I just don't have room for all of my junk anymore, so I'm going to donate some of it to Good- wiU." But it is most certainly not junk in the sense of refuse, trash or garbage. Which is why it makes sense that Goodwill Industries is going ahead with plans to build a new 17,000- square-foot secondhand store out on the South Ninth corridor, between Office Max and Candlewood Suites. These plans are going ahead despite the legal challenge from the owners of Candlewood, a challenge that has already been rejected by the Salina City Commission and a Saline County District Court judge. The hotel owners are apparently terror-stricken that their new neighbor wUl take on the appearance of a landfill, with blowing trash and thoughtlessly dumped piles of old clothes, broken bicycles and lifeless TVs. And, if there were any evidence that such fears were justified, then the hotel's legal fight might be justified. But Goodwill Industries — along with the Salvation Army, the DAV Thrift Store and the like — are not landfills. They are community resources that belong in any neighborhood any store belongs. Goodwill operates stores similar to the one planned here in Hutchinson and Garden City. Neither is an eyesore or a property-value depressor. Both are unquestionably legal in commercially zoned areas. By pursuing an appeal on this matter, Candlewood's owners are not only wasting their own money but taking money away from Goodwill's budget, money that covild be used to maintain its stores and serve its customers. Hardly the proper approach for anyone in what is called the hospitality industry Goodwill's faith in the laws of Kansas, and the eventually success of its new store, is in keeping with its overall mission to never give up , on anything, or anyone. We should look forward to welcoming this new Goodwill store to our community — George B. Pyle Journal Columnist T iEDITORIAL NOTEBOOK Bob Kerrey's heroic act TCAN SHE SAY THAT? When in the course of human events M ake no mistake: Bob Kerrey is a hero. The former U.S. senator from Nebraska, who considered running for president in 2000, has become the focus of intense scrutiny in the wake of the revelation that, 32 years ago, he led a military mission in the Mekong Delta that slaughtered as many as 20 unarmed civilians, most of them women and children. Exactly what happened that moonless night probably will never be known. Time and trauma — both capable of rewriting memory — have shaped recollections. What is known is that there are essentially two accounts. Kerrey and some fellow Navy Seals say they came under fire from a hut. When the flrefight was over, they found only women and children. One member of the squad, Gerhard Klann, says the women and children were rounded up and, in order to ensure the Seals' safe escape, shot. A Vietnamese woman who claims to have witnessed the event backs up the version. By either account, it was a tragic loss of life. The death of innocent people is never acceptable. But the ugly truth is that war kills innocent people. Place humans in the middle of a guerrilla war — honorable, decent, moral humans — and there will be episodes of the sort described above. To pretend that the standards of rational behavior we expect everyone to live by in peacetime will also prevail in war is naive. Here's what Kerrey told ai group of ROTC cadets last week: "It was not a military victory It was a tragedy, and I had ordered it. How, I have anguished ever since, could I have made such a mistake?" It takes courage and conscience to endure the scrutiny and second-guessing Bob Kerrey has faced. He did so without flinching. It's proof that he's a man of great character For us to pass judgment on the decision he made would be arrogant. Yes, he did the wrong thing. Humans do — will always do — that in war. His observation about his family's support cuts to the heart: "Mercy is a powerful thing to give another, person. Love can be healing." To recognize that is a sign of greatness. —- Duane Schrag The Chanute Tribune MOLLY IVINS Creators Syndicate If you pronounce the word 'nukular; you shouldn't build nuclear povyer plants A USTIN — Back-to-back speeches by the Veeper and the only president we've got beggar the imagination. Let's have a new rule: If you pronounce the word "nukular," you shouldn't go around nullifying nuclear treaties. Or building nuclear power plants. When in the course of human events a treaty becomes outdated, the smart country does not announce it is breaking the treaty This is unpleasantly reminiscent of numerous chapters involving Native Americans. Instead, the smart country calls upon its dear ally (provided they're still speaking) to renegotiate the treaty This has a less threatening effect on the ally I don't know if a National Missile Defense system will work, and neither do you. Most experts not employed by the defense industry are dubious about it at best, but you never know how far we could get if we spend enough time and money on it. If we spend the first $60 billion, we'll probably be a lot further along than we are now, thus justifying the next $60 billion. The problem is, it's massively stupid in terms of national security What's a bigger . threat to the United States: North Korea or global warming? Our children will live to see the ansvver to that. It's their future we're playing with. Hearing Dick Cheney make a speech that was outdated by the standards of the oil industry in the 1960s was eerie. Reactionary Texas oilmen are thick on the ground here, but Cheney is a throwback. Not since the late H.L. Hunt was crawling around (which he did — crawl) have we heard such nonsense. Cheney's National Energy Policy Development Group — two Texas oilmen, a CEO from the electricity-gobbling aluminum industry and a tool of the energy companies, all members of the Cabinet, meeting in secret — is pushing coal — hard. Unfortunately it is the dirtiest source of electricity generaitiqn: The administration not only has reneged on its promise to curb coal pollution, but now it proposes to ease the pollution controls already in place. Naturally the group is also pushing oil and gas major contributors to global warming and, incredibly enough, de-emphasizing conservation, What kind of energy policy would abandon conservation, which is effective and costs nothing? OPEC is the only thing hurt by it. Under the Bush budget plan, renewable energy programs lose 36 percent of their piddly total funding of $373 million, according to New Techi nology Week. TESSAY [ 0VeRCROU0 £D A\R PoLioTioN.,. 7T4IMK ABOUT LATfR. Automakers have shifted virtually all their technological gains into bigger and more powerful engines, rather than improving fuel efficiency. Wind-generated electricity is already cheaper than nuclear-generated electricity It's highly probably solar-powered photovoltaic systems will also be cheaper before long: The city of San Francisco votes this fall on whether to back a $250 million bond issue for solar power If we put $60 billion into researching and improving renew- ables, we'd not only save money we could save the world. Quite literally One easy and simple way to bring down the price of gasoline is by letting fuel efficiency standards rise to where they already would be if the auto companies had not interfered via generous contributions to Congress. ~ Some remarkable reporting by Jeff Plungis of the Detroit News reveals the auto companies have now wired the study being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences on fuel efficiency. Nine of the 13 panel members have ties either to the auto or oil industries; are free-market economists who do not believe in government regulation; or have criticized fuel efficiency standards in a very public way. My favorite guy on the panel is the "safety expert" who claims fuel efficiency standards have killed tens of thou­ sands of people by forcing them into srtiall- er cars. Meanwhile, back in the world, fuel efficiency is at a 20-year low, mainly due to the popularity of SUVs. Congress first passed fuel efficiency standards in 1975, when the average car got less than 14 miles per gallon. By 1985, under the required standards, that doubled to 27.5 mpg. It has since' slipped to 24 mpg. Plungis reports that automakers have shifted virtually ,all their technological gains into bigger and more powerful engines, rather than improving fuel efficiency SUVs consume an additional 280,000 barrels of oil in this country every day That is 15 percent of what OPEC cut in production in March 1999, according to news reports the event that nearly doubled the price of gas. Half the new cars sold are now SUVs. It is neither difficult nor onerous to improve their mileage: It would cost about $700 additional per vehicle, but with a fuel saving of about $2,500 over the life of the behemoth. Speaking of campaign contributions, Time magazine reports Cheney's aides consulted with the West Virginia coal baron Buck Harless, a Bush pioneer (at least $100,000); Stephen Addington of AEI Resources, whose executives gave more than $600,000 to Republicans last election;, and of course, our old favorites Peabody Energy the biggest coal miner in the country whose chairman gave over $250,000. Could this pay-off possibly be more obvious? • Columnist Molly Ivins can be reached at 1005 Congress Ave., Suite 920, Austin, Texas 78701. to provide for the common defense Bush's missile-defense plan makes sense in the post-Cold War world W ASHINGTON — In 1969 the United States decided to build a missile defense that would shoot down incoming Soviet nuclear missiles. Nixon speechwriters huddled and came up with a name to inspire confidence: "the Safeguard system." Unfortunately Safeguard was also the name of a deodorant soap just gaining popularity Despite derision from accommoda- tionists who sniffed at Nixon's plan for, its hard­ line smell, development began of "a bullet to hit a bullet." But when it became apparent that hundreds of Soviet missiles attacking at once (like a shotgun blast) could overwhelm an antimissile defense. Safeguard was shelved. Strategists on both sides assumed, however, that someday scientists would come up with a way to defeat many incoming missiles. That led to the 1972 treaty called ABM — antiballistic missiles — to limit such a defense to one local field in the United States, one in the USSR. The two superpowers determined that the best safe- gViard against thousands of missiles would be national defenselessness, with each side certain that an attack would lead to mutual suicide. Three decades pass; superpower confrontation ends. No longer is the threat from an overwhelming force of thousands WILLIAM SAFIRE The Neiv York Times of Soviet missiles, against which defense would be futile. The potential danger now is from rogue states or terrorists, capable of launching only a handful of missiles — against which a limited "safeguard-type" defense would work. Why then, don't we build it? What's stopping us from spending 2 percent of our defense budget on a defense against the greatest danger facing us? Why should we make it possible for some tinpot dictator, unconcerned about retaliation, to hold an American city hostage? Three answers to that. First, the best technologists admit that hitting a bullet with a bullet is hard to do, especially if the incoming missile deploys deceptive chaff. In time, after costly trial and error, the new defense will surely leapfrog the old offense, as it always does. This thing isn't rocket science. (Actually, rocket science is what it is, at which we're better than anybody) The second reason we remained defenseless against small arsenals in Iraq, Iran and North Korea or other terrorist redoubts was a failure to disenthrall ourselves. Though the threat changed, the previous administration, was unwilling to think anew and act anew, preferring to kick the can along to the next president. But the underlying reason was fear of what people would say Russia, fishing for a concession that would cut our offensive missiles down to a level Moscow can afford to match, pretends our defenses will be a threat. Europe, long under the umbrella of our strategic deterrent, worries that a newly secure Ameripa would leave it exposed. China sees its cross-straits missile threat to Taiwan being weakened, though President Bush's plan would not counter the 50 long-range missiles holding 90 nuclear warheads that the CIA expects China to have by 2010. Beijing accuses Bush of "sparking an arms race," but the opposite is true: when Saddam Hussein sees a defense a-building, he will be less inclined to waste effort on a defeatable missile. (We also need a "suitcase bomb" defense and polyvaccines to combat germ warfare.) Bush ran for president promising to build a missile defense. If necessary, he said, he would exercise our right specified in the old ABM treaty to withdraw from it. His pledge has come due and this week he is honoring it. No surprise. His policy was eminently predictable. He has asked us and our allies to "rethink the unthinkable," playing on a 1959 phrase by the strategist Herman Kahn. Bush's rethinking was presented in properly conciliatory terms, and we can expect consultative unilateralism, but the die is cast: the ABM treaty will be amend.ed or withdrawn or set aside for a less formal "framework" to counter any silo-rattling by rogue nations. What about space? Though the president spoke only of land-based and sea-based defenses, his mention as if in passing of "advanced sensors" to intercept missiles "especially in the boost phase" was a signal that restrictions on space-based defense would no longer apply As world leaders learn they are dealing with a serious man, they will adjust their policies to provide for the common defense. • William Safire was a speechwriter for the Nixon White House and is now a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Times, 229 W. 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036. DOONESBURY FLASHBACKS By G.B. TRUDEAU m PONT YOU sAveiouR BNim UP TOMOfUlQUJ, OKAY^

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