Pubdate: Tue, 24 Apr 2001
Source: Ventura County Star (CA)
Copyright: 2001, Ventura County Star


Even if it is true that the Americans on a CIA plane tried to stop an
attack that killed innocent people, is it right to continue justifying
a U.S. policy that involves our country in a surveillance role in
Peru's policing of illegal drug shipments? The situation as presently
related is that Americans aboard the CIA plane informed Peruvian
authorities of a plane that might be carrying illegal drugs. Officials
have told the press that a Peruvian officer on the American plane
sought permission for a Peruvian jet to fire on the suspicious
aircraft after a failure to find a flight plan for the aircraft or to
receive replies to radio inquiries. The Americans on the CIA plane
reportedly objected, but to no avail. An American missionary and her
adopted daughter were killed when the jet opened fire.

The American policy, President Bush has explained, is nothing more
than to pass on information, but what seems the case is that the
United States has put itself in a position of participating in
law-enforcement actions that it cannot control, and with a partner
that is not entirely trustworthy. Our supposed self-interest is to
stop the influx of drugs into the United States, but as long as
American demand remains what it is, it is hard to imagine that
surveillance flights in Peru will make much difference.

This terrible loss of life that has occurred should prompt the Bush
administration to review a policy that, of course, is not one it

While it would be a mistake for the administration to drop the policy
unreflectively, the burden of proof should be on those who see
benefits in the status quo that outweigh the costs and risks.
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MAP posted-by: Derek