The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa on March 5, 1968 · Page 4
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The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa · Page 4

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 5, 1968
Page 4
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Page 4 article text (OCR)

4-Algona (la.) Upper De$ Moinet Tuesday, March 5, 1968 WASHINGTON Merry~Go-Roand BY JACK ANDERSON (Copyright, 1968, by Bell-McClure Syndicate) SAIGON - Although the Viet Cong are still staked out near the gates of Saigon and the city drifts to sleep at night to the lullaby of artillery fire, South Vietnam is more likely to l)e defeated by corruption than communism. The American taxpayers are pouring almost $30 billion a year into this war-wracked land. To a disturbing extent they are supplying both sides in the conflict. For the Viet Cong have managed to acquire huge quantities of U. S. aid. Obviously, corrupt South Vietnamese officials have been selling to the communists supplies that were supposed to be used to fight the communists. Take the perplexing rice shortage, for example. Rice happens to be South Vietnam's principal crop, and production hasn't declined significantly during the past three years. Yet, over the same period, the United States has tripled rice shipments to this country. In February, 1965, South Vietnam needed only 35,000 tons of rice from the U.S. to feed its people. But, last month, the requirement had soared to 100,000 tons. Clearly, a lot of U. S. rice is going to feed our enemies as well as our friends in Vietnam. Of course, rice is lost from spoilage as well as pilferage. The South Vietnamese government keeps about 185,000 tons in its storehouse, enough to take care of the rice shortage for one month. An estimated 90 percent of this is American rice. Investigators sent here by Sen. Ribicoff, D-Conn., chose aware- house at random for inspection. They found one-third of the rice- about 12 tons - so infested with insects that it was not usable. - o - - REFUGEE FUNDSDIVERTED- Refugee workers have also confided to this column that South Vietnam's pathetic refugees receive less than half of the $30 million which the American taxpayers contribute each year for refugee relief. The supplies simply are siphoned off by the military commanders, who run the provincial governments and distribute U. S. aid. Homes that were supposed to be built for refugees, for example, have been sold instead to the highest bidders. Even more shocking, the military commanders have kept for themselves food that was desperately needed by the hungry refugees. A charade is staged for the U.S. inspectors who are. supposed to Q\ srsee the program. They cannot move around the hinterlands, of course, without the knowledge and sanction of the provinicial chiefs. Before the inspectors arrive, the refugees are scrupulously issued the supplies that were intended for them. The inspectors have heard, however, that the supplies often are taken back after they depart. South Vietnam is divided into DREW PEARSON four army corps areas, whose commanders can only Ire described as "war lords." Although their power has been reduced from earlier years, they still control their areas through the troops they command. Together, they also dominate the central government. It was the corps commanders, for example, who installed Nguyen Cao Ky as premier until they found him too difficult to control. Then they backed the more amenable Nguyen Van Thieu for president, forcing Ky to step down to the vice presidency. This makes it obviously awkward for poor Thieu to enforce the reforms that U. S. Ambassador Ellsworth Bunker keeps urging upon him. President Thieu can hardly achieve effective reforms without cracking down on the corps commanders, who' are the backbone of his poltiical power. Thus, as long as Thieu heads the government the system is unlikely to l>e changed, unless the war lords can be persuaded to reform themselves. - o - - U. S.-MADE MILLION AIRES - Meanwhile, they are growing fabulously rich on the U. S. military and economic aid that passes through their hands. It is common gossip here that they have made huge deposits in secret Swiss bank accounts. The waste in South Vietnam is almost as appalling as the corruption. Typical is the handling of fertilizer which the U. S. ships to South Vietnam to help boost agriculture production. Urea fertilizer is packed in moisture-tight plastic bags with polyethylene liners, which keep the product dry even in a rainstorm. Once moisture seeps into the fertilizer, it begins to decompose. Investigators discovered that Vietnamese truckers were loading the fertilizer with hooks, which poked holes in the bags. They noted in a confidential report to AID in Washington: "Any fertilizer containing urea stored in bags full of holes is not a bankable item." The problem could have been avoided simply by packing fertilizer in smaller bags. Suggested the investigators: "Fertilizer in 50 kg. bags is too heavy for the average Vietnamese worker. Fertilizer should be put in 25 kg. bags." After the fertilizer was unloaded it was usually stored on the moist ground or rice hulls. The moisture seeped into the bags and caused a chemical reaction releasing ammonia into the air. The investigators inspected several warehouses and found widespread damage to the bags from hooks. They reported: "The moisture on the ground generally moves up the pile to a height of one meter. This makes a very fine media for the decomposition of urea to ammonia and carbon dioxide. The ammonia concentration in some warehouses is so strong that it is impossible to walk in." What is really needed in Viet- nam is an escalation of the war against waste and corruption. - o - - JOHNSdN AND THE KENNEDYS - The sudden dispatch of more troops to South Vietnam and LBJ's flight across the continent to say goodbye to them has brought inquiries as to when his son-in-law, Capt. Chuck Robb of the Marine Corps, is going to take off for Saigon. Chuck got in the headlines the other day attending a swank Valentine's Day dinner and dance in New York, given by Mrs. Albert Lasker, featuring bouquets of orchids. However, he was scheduled to leave for Camp Pendleton, Calif., for final indoctrination on March 1, and shortly thereafter for Vietnam .... President Kennedy's alleged statement to his secretary, Evelyn Lincoln, that he would dump LBJ as vice president in '64 supposedly was made three days before JFK flew to Dallas and his death. This was when Johnson was urging him not to go to Dallas, that it was a political mistake .... It's true that the late President sometimes made impulsive statements which he didn't mean. If s probable that his brother Bobby's statement is more accurate — namely, that JFK had always planned to run again with LBJ on the ticket. - o - - FREEWAY FIGHTING- Military problems in the Far East have obscured one of the most significant battles here at home. It's the battle of a Florida Cracker, Alan S. Boyd, now Sec- retary of Transportation, to protect Negro and poor white communities against one of the most powerful lobbies in the nation — the freeway lobby. No one ever suspected, when Alan Boyd was first recommended by his old University of Florida friend, Sen. George Smathers, that Boyd would turn out to be a sociologist and an opponent of lobbyists. But he has. The freeway lobby hates him, secretly is working to undermine him. It claims he must go. What Secretary Boyd has done to arouse the lobby's wrath is to maintain that freeways are not the sole solution of the transportation problem. Mass transit, subways, high-speed trains, even monorails, must be considered. Secretary Boyd also argues that Negro communities are not the only ones to be relocated to make room for suburban commuter freeways. Wealthier communities should have to move too. Specifically he has held up the North-Central Freeway in Washington because it was shifted over from a high-bracket residential community to a low- bracket area, because the white residents pack more political punch than Negroes do. "We should not just tear up the homes of poor people and Negroes," says Boyd. "We ought to make a determined effort to put freeways where the traffic wants to go ... We're going to have to find a better way to do it than say we're going to take the property of poor people and let • everybody else alone." - o- - FREELOADER PANIC This caused panic and pande- monium among what is called the "Road Gang." This is the group of lobbyists, consultants, engineers, trade association officials which represents the cement, tire, gasoline, and automobile industries, plus heavy construction, which have made millions from the National Highway Act by which the federal government pays 90 per cent of the highway bill, the states 10 per cent. "If these people around Boyd had their way, there wouldn't be a paved street in Washington," said Harold Wirth, Washington lobbyist for Firestone Tire and Rubber. Wirth, incidentally, is also chairman of the Highway Users' Conference and chief spokesman for the "Road Gang." Linked with the North-Central Freeway is also the Three Sisters Bridge across the Potomac, to carry commuters into Virginia. Secretary Boyd has held this up, because, he argues, the whole transportation plan for the District of Columbia must be considered as a package and the Three Sisters Bridge would funnel enough traffic into Washington to require the building of more freeways. In the middle of this dispute is the new Negro mayor of Washington, Walter Washington, the first mayor this city has had in 93 years and one of the few Negroes holding such office is any big Amer'can city. Secretary Boyd has said he'll let him make the decision. This puts the first Negro mayor of the nation's capital in the position of either bowing to white wealth and the powerful highway lobby or siding with the poor members of his own race. UDM WANT ADS PAYOFF can test drive a Cutlass S for fun. can buy one for $ 2632. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price lor the Cutlass S 6-cylinder Sports Coupe including federal Excise Tax and suggested dealer delivery and handling charge (trans portation charges, accessories, optional equipment, state and local taxes additional ) Half the fun of owning Cutlass S is in slatting, cruising, cornering, braking, even parking ill Which you'll only want to do lona. cnou lo lake in those great lines. The rest of the fun is in knowing you can buy this beautifully bedecked Oldsmobilcfor such a modest price-iusl$2632 Minus your valuable trade-in, t naturally. So head for your Oldsmobile dealer's and slip into the low-slung, low-priced youngmobilc that has eyes (and sales) popping from Pittsburgh to Podunk. It's your turn. Cut loose in a Cutlass lodayl Give Olds young wheels a whirl. Drive a youngmobile from Oldsmobile. DAU'S GARAGE - ALGONA, IOWA M»H* 01 tlCULthCt

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