Pubdate: Wed, 06 Sep 2000
Source: Times Record News (TX)
Copyright: 2000 The E.W. Scripps Co.
Contact:  1301 Lamar, Wichita Falls, TX 76301
Fax: 940/767-1741
Author: Allan Erickson


Major claps and whistles for Steve Clements (column, "We're the bad guys: 
Get us out of Colombian affairs," Sept. 4, page 6B). Clements gets kudos 
for the writing and the Times Record News gets kudos for printing it.

Colombian strife has been ongoing for nearly 160 years. The level of 
brutality is nightmarish. According to Bernard Aronson, writing in the 
Washington Post on (June 29):

"As former (Colombian) minister of defense Rafael Pardo writes in Foreign 
Affairs, 'The cost of the drug war has been staggering. In the last 15 
years, 200 bombs (half of them as large as the one used in Oklahoma City) 
have blown up in Colombia's cities; an entire leftist political party was 
eliminated by rightwing paramilitaries, four presidential candidates, 200 
judges and investigators, half the Supreme Court justices, 1,200 police 
officers, 151 journalists and more then 300,000 ordinary Colombians have 
been murdered.' "

Will our aid end this brutality, or will we end up with more troops like 
pilot Capt. Jennifer Odom and her crew of four U.S. GIs coming home from 
Colombia in body bags (July 1999)? Will our escalated policy of chemical 
and biological defoliating give us more ailing veterans as did Agent Orange 
in Vietnam?

And are our two presidential candidates (Tweedledum and Tweedledumber) ever 
going to address the war on (some) drugs and its implications on foreign 
policy? One of them will inherit it.

The press has the responsibility to ask our candidates where they stand on 
Colombia. Y'all keep covering this Colombia thang and ask them two boys 
what they have in mind - if indeed they have anything in their minds other 
than dollar signs.

Allan Erickson, Eugene, Ore., via e-mail
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