Copyright 1995 The Chronicle Publishing Co.
The San Francisco Chronicle
MAY 27, 1995, SATURDAY, FINAL EDITION
SECTION: EDITORIAL; Pg. A20; LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
LENGTH: 1323 words
HEADLINE: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
BODY: APOLOGIES FOR VIOLENCE LEAD TO VIOLENCE
Editor -- Edmund Hanauer (''Terrorism and American Policy,'' Open Forum, May 19) falls into the same tiresome distortions about ''moral equivalence'' which should have been discredited by now. It's not only intellectually lazy, it provides rhetorical camouflage for those who would like nothing better than to stop the peace process.
Asserting that possibilities for peace are ''endangered equally (italics mine) by Palestinian terrorism and Israel's oppressive occupation policies'' is nice and symmetrical, but that doesn't make it right. There is an enormous difference: acts of violence committed by soldier or settler are condemned by Israel's elected government, and those perpetrating such crimes have been arrested and convicted in Israel's courts.
Yasser Arafat's whispered denunciations, only after international arm-twisting, of terrorist acts committed by Palestinians, are not exactly profiles in political courage. To say that Hamas and Islamic Jihad members are not under Arafat's control is a pathetic defense. Baruch Goldstein was not a Labor Party activist -- but Rabin and his government unequivocally denounced his act for what it was, because he was an Israeli. Yasser Arafat should do no less about the acts committed by Palestinians.
Mr. Hanauer can repeat the ''one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter'' mantra as much as he'd like, it doesn't make it true. Firing on bases of operations in southern Lebanon, whose purpose is to train fighters to carry out operations against one's country, is not the same thing as blowing up commuter buses in downtown Tel Aviv. And trying to equate (there's that word again) the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait with Israel's repulsion of Egyptian troops, massed for their own invasion, from Gaza in 1967, is simply absurd.
Finally, and most dangerously, Hanauer twists President Kennedy's words about the inevitability of ''violent revolution'' and declares that ''Clinton's policies make it impossible for Palestinians to achieve their rights nonviolently . . .'' Doesn't an ''anything goes'' argument like this justify terrorism? At such a delicate time in the peace process, apologies for acts of violence will only bring about more violence.
'IT DOESN'T MATTER'
Editor -- The Chronicle argues that President Clinton should fire Ron Brown. It doesn't matter that Ron Brown is regarded by many in the business community as the most effective secretary of commerce ever. It doesn't matter that Ron Brown has helped secure billions of dollars in new markets overseas for American companies. It doesn't matter that, for those of us who remember the more than 150 indictments of the Reagan administration, the Clinton presidency receives high marks for probity, integrity and government openness. No, Ron Brown is the object of an accusation, and that alone, regardless of the merit of the charge, is the source of so much embarrassment for the president that it cannot be tolerated.
I think it's only fair to let you know that a number of people -- I won't say who -- have told me that the editorial team of The Chronicle accepted money to write that piece about Ron Brown. In light of this accusation, it's clear that the only way to preserve the good name of The Chronicle will be to have the entire team resign by the end of the week. I'll be forwarding my resume for the ensuing vacancies under separate cover.
EDITOR -- I am sick of hearing young whippersnappers like Representative Kasich blather about the courage of the Republicans in putting together their balanced budget, designed to balance the budget in seven years.
They have put together a budget that slashes services for the neediest, while cutting taxes for those fat cats who supported the Republican takeover of Congress. And, of course, congresspersons are also in the tax bracket that will benefit from cuts and reductions in capital-gains taxes.
I would like to remind Representative Kasich that it is people like me who need the courage . . . seniors who will find that Medicare covers far less of their medical expenses. Mothers with dependent children will need to bear up as well, as will students trying to find educational loans to enable them to go to college.
Yes, I think many of us need a lot more courage than Representative Kasich, and that other brave man, Newt Gingrich. A good memory would help, too, to remind those noble leaders that most of that deficit they are so worried about now was run up during the Reagan and Bush years!
Editor -- Thank you for printing William Safire's article (''The GOP Delivers'') on May 17. It's refreshing to hear the Republican point of view regarding the upcoming budget battle in Washington. Through cutting funding of the national service, PBS and all art in general, Mr. Safire's conclusion is this: ''the best way to redirect our nation is stronger government spending restraint plus tax reduction.''
I find it humorous that his reasoning equates scrapping those programs with a balanced budget. Scrapping all of public broadcasting wouldn't buy us one B-2 Stealth Bomber (bombers which actually aren't very stealthy). We've got a whole fleet of nuclear subs swimming around out there, keeping the whales company, with no enemy to track. Our military spending (per GNP) is that of a nation at war, and yet our rail service, education and national enhancement programs are under-funded to the point where they can't work.
If Mr. Safire and the Republican Party are so interested in balancing the budget, maybe they should check out the cost of a peacetime military. A little scrutiny at the Pentagon's budget might reveal the balanced budget they've been looking for.
EDitor -- I fail to see the logic in referring to the Unabomber as an anarchist bomber. The Chron does not attach the adjective Christian to the Christians who assassinate women's clinic workers and bomb clinics. Nor are the suspects in the Oklahoma bombing described as capitalist bombers though they are very frank in advocating an unregulated free market. And I have yet to see the words ''government bombers'' used to describe AFT/FBI officers in the Waco disaster or the Philadelphia Police Department in the MOVE firebombing. If you are going to use the word anarchist to describe the Unabomber, please be consistent in regards to others' political or ideological associations.
PACIFIC WAR REUNION
Editor -- Since the end of World War II, almost 50 years ago, I have seen, read and heard, almost exclusively, coverage of the European Theater of Operations, but very little coverage of the Pacific war, which I considered ''our personal conflict.''
Some of the obvious past oversights, by the media, can be corrected during the forthcoming reunion of the Alamo Scouts, Sixth Army, World War II, and the former prisoners of war liberated from the POW camp at Cabanatuan, Philippine Islands.
The reunion will take place at The Villa Hotel, 4000 El Camino Real, San Mateo, (415) 341-0966, on June 1 through June 3.
TERRY R. SANTOS
Editor -- For many decades, in thousands of households throughout the Bay Area, one partner starts with the front page and the other partner starts with Herb Caen-and-the-comics.
As a modest example, my husband and I have participated in this breakfast table ritual since 1975.
Why are you screwing around with successful marriages? What do you have against stable human relationships?
Keep Caen where he has always been and protect the American Way of Life.
MARGE & BILL THOMAS