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Consequences of the Cruise Missile

I was surprised to find an article titled "How Do We Deal With Brutality," June 29, in the same issue as the editorial "Cruise-Missile Justice." The contradiction between them is astounding. The "brutality" article pointed out that "Civilization has for the most part progressed to the point where we realize that striking back at brutality with brutality doesn't heal anything." The article was especially aimed toward young people.

The message on the next page was that "President Clinton's response to the alleged Iraqi-led assassination attempt against former President Bush was appropriate." What kind of message will a young person get from reading these two articles? It seems to me that the editors of this paper fail to support what they preach. Lukas Heisig, Memphis

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The June 29 editorial describes President Clinton's response to the Iraqi assassination attempt as "appropriate." Would it have been equally appropriate if President Fidel Castro, after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and the alleged CIA attempts on his life, had aimed a missile at Washington? William B. Rotch, Milford, N.H. But we still need the big stick

The author of the article "US Covert Action: a Brief Inglorious History," June 29, lumps failed operations with successful missions and dismisses the real threat of cold-war-style Soviet imperialism. His view that "political problems cannot be solved by nonpolitical action" ignores the time-tested reality that diplomacy, without force to give it credibility, is meaningless.

The Bay of Pigs was a tragic and disastrous failure, but it wasn't the CIA that denied airstrikes necessary to the success of Operation Zapata. John Ranelagh, in his critique of the CIA, "The Agency: The Rise and Decline of the CIA," concedes, "the operational plan ... could have worked and probably would have worked had President Kennedy not interfered once it was under way." The Bay of Pigs, had it succeeded, would have obviated United States involvement in Angola's war, although the author fails to se e the connection.

The author states that President Fidel Castro's consolidation of power in Cuba enabled him to dispatch troops to Africa. He neglects to say, however, that during US covert support to the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) resistance, the US forced the withdrawal of 50,000 Cuban combat forces from Angola.

Under President Bush's Utopian "new world order," the US relegated Angola to the United Nations, which foolishly allowed the MPLA to count the ballots in Angola's first elections. The results were vehemently contested by 14 opposition parties. A presidential runoff election between UNITA's Jonas Savimbi and President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) was derailed when UNITA negotiators were executed last fall in a government pogrom. Again, the CIA is har dly to blame for the Angolan fiasco. Margaret Calhoun, Washington Senior Analyst International Freedom Foundation A US concern since 1776Regarding the Opinion page article "A Better Approach to Boosting Minority Representation?" July 6: The author argues that a system of proportional representation (PR) is the only fair system of representation, while conveniently ignoring its many faults.

For example, PR destroys the link between a representative and his constituents. If a member of congress offends US voters (such as by kiting checks), they know how to throw the rascal out. Japanese and Italian voters are now finding they cannot.

Also, the author barely mentions the role of political parties. With candidates competing to get onto the party's list of candidates, we risk a return to the days of "bosses." The Japanese and Italians are discovering that their elected officials wielded far less power than the kingmakers just for this reason. Sanders Marble, St. Huberts, N.Y.

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