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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of June 26 - July 2, 2002

Opinion Columns

In war or business, innocents always victims

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Sure, tears and sympathy are in order for the innocent 85,000 employees of auditing giant Arthur Andersen, most probably out on the street in due course as the firm’s felony conviction dooms its survival.

But, isn’t that always the case? Innocents pay the dearest for foolish or misbegotten judgment or fraudulent acts of brass that are in charge.

The most tragic victims of errant decisions are the tens of thousands of America’s finest, innocent youth who’ve paid with lives and limbs in war because of military commanders and U.S. presidents who ordered them into meaningless and pointless battles—to name just two, Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s ill-fated, ego-driven charge met by hordes of Chinese at the Yalu River in Korea in 1950, and President Lyndon Johnson’s obsession with hurling more men into battle like so much cannon fodder rather than admitting defeat in Vietnam.

Then there were loyal young White House stalwarts of Richard Nixon who paid for his felonious behavior by forever wearing the stigma of Watergate shame as well as some serving jail time.

Bill Clinton betrayed his believers with lies and deceptions and delays, saying that accusations of his predatory sexual behavior were merely right-wing political slanders.

When the final dollar is counted, investors will have lost billions of dollars this year alone because of criminal machinations of corporate CEOs seeking to dump stock and enrich themselves before calamity struck.

Princes of the American Catholic church surely have brought shame and disrepute on their institution, perhaps even cheated the needy by stripping the cupboard of hundreds of millions of dollars, otherwise reserved for charity, to settle lawsuits growing out of indefensible cover-ups of criminal sexual molesters in the priesthood.

And even as Washington politicians from President Bush down through Congress wring their hands in mock sympathy for employees of bankrupt corporations, they, too, are blundering with the nation’s future economic stability by mindless spending and tax cuts that have wiped out a robust surplus and saddled the country with new deficits and renewed debt.

Who, now, will weep for the new victims, the taxpayers?

Keep your eyes on a freshman Arizona congressman, Rep. Jeff Flake, and the bipartisan ad hoc congressional panel he’s organized, the Cuba Working Group, composed of 19 House Republicans and 19 House Democrats.

Its aim is to end U.S. embargo policies toward Cuba—and thus directly challenge fellow Republican George W. Bush’s policies.

Keep this in mind: Flake is a rigid conservative Republican, a fifth generation Arizonan, who was executive director of the Goldwater Institute at Arizona State University before being elected.

Flake couldn’t be clearer in his goal.

"Quite simply, our Cuba policy has failed. After forty years, the United State’s policy toward Cuba has yielded few results. I think it’s time to try something new. Only through engagement can we promote democracy and improve human rights."

This is a Republican rebuke of President Bush’s recent promises in South Florida to tighten the screws on Cuba, promises pandering to the vote-rich Cuban-American community on which his brother, Gov. Jeb Bush, relies for reelection.

Cuban-Americans have been dictating failed U.S. strategies through nine U.S. presidents (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush the Elder, Clinton, Bush the Junior).

How demeaning that greed for the South Florida Cuban vote should lower the presidency to such a low state and maintain imperious foreign policy toward nothing more than a pesky, pipsqueak tyrant.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.