Pubdate: Tue, 07 Aug 2001
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Los Angeles Times
Author: Judith Terzi, Steve Gowler, Michele Zack
Bookmark: (Peruvian Aircraft Shooting)


Re "Tape Details Attack on Missionary Plane," August 3:

It is truly reprehensible that the CIA civilian agents cited in your 
article would be so poorly prepared in Spanish for the military mission 
they were assigned. This incident is not only an embarrassment for the 
State Department but indeed another example of American naivete and 
arrogance vis-a-vis the role of foreign-language instruction in this country.

The poor English skills of the Peruvian pilots in this case are irrelevant; 
the Americans were flying the Peruvian skies and should be expected to give 
commands in at least intermediate Spanish. Think about the American woman 
and her infant daughter killed the next time someone says, "Everyone speaks 
English, so why learn a foreign language.

Judith Terzi, Pasadena


Can someone please tell me that the CIA did not send agents to Peru with no 
better Spanish than "brrrr" for machine-gun noises. What a travesty. Maybe 
we should suspend the shooting war on drugs until the agents learn basic 

Steve Gowler, Santa Barbara


Every time I read or hear the attack on the missionary plane shot down in 
Peru with help from our CIA described as an "accident" it strikes me as a 
lie, a weak attempt to varnish over the fact that my tax dollars are being 
spent systematically murdering people by extrajudicial means. The idea 
seems to be that if some or all of the people being shot out of the sky 
without benefit of trial are involved in transporting drugs labeled 
"illegal," then assassinating them is OK. In my mind this is a dangerous, 
evil rationale that should appall people everywhere who believe in the rule 
of law. What's more, it does little to solve the problem.

This is just the latest stupid page in the war on drugs. When will America 
take responsibility and deal with drug-use problems at home using a sane 
public health, demand-side approach instead of exporting terror and placing 
the blame abroad. Let's be honest with ourselves: What happened to the 
missionary lady and her baby was no accident--you and I planned and carried 
out their killing according to U.S. government policy.

Michele Zack, Altadena
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