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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - December 17, 2003, New Braunfels, Texas Page 4A — Herald-Zeitung Wednesday, December 17,2003 Herald-Zeitung Serving New Braunfels and Comal County since 1852. New Braunfels Zeitu^g was founded 1852; New Braunfels Herald was founded 1890. The two papers merged in 1957and printed in both German and English until 1958 HS Managing Editor News Editor Features Editor Editor and Publisher Circulation Director Advertising Director Business Manager Gary E. Maitland Brady Creal Brian Grant Doug Toney Craig Pauling Courthey Abernathy Heather Grant Our Opinion Emissions testing news a big relief Air quality is important, especially to future generations. But testing tailpipes isnt the answer to our air quality issues. The announcement this week that mandatory Omissions testing of automobiles might not be necessary for the region to meet national clean air standards was great news. Analysis using a computer program that simulates ozone production has shown stringent antipollution measures wont be necessary in Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe and Wilson counties. Emissions testing is a huge political football and the kind of pocketbook issue that citizens would rail against. Inspections would cost about $20 per year, but repairs for vehicles not up to standards could costs thousands. Its an expensive option. Make no bones about it. Air quality is important, especially to future generations. With the help of the Alamo Area Council of Governments, government, industry and business leaders are learning what parts they can play to ensure we have safe air quality. But if scientific studies indicate the overall benefit of emissions control is minimal, why implement these costly procedures? We don't think testing tailpipes is the answer to our air quality issues. Each year automobile manufacturers are producing improved emissions technology. As older cars become inoperable, this should lessen the need for such testing. Leaders can focus instead upon other antipollution efforts that will help the area meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements. Today in History By The Associated Press Today is Wednesday, Dec. 17, the 351st day of 2003. There are 14 days left in the year. Today’s I lighlight in I listory: One hundred years ago, on Dec. 17,1903, Wilbur and ()rville Wright of I Jayton. ()hio, went on the first successful manned-powered airplane flights, near Kitty I lawk, North Carolina, using their experimental craft, the Wright f lyer. (They made four short flights with the Plyer before an ocean gust lifted and badly damaged the plane.) On this date: In 1777, f rance recognized American independence. In 1933, in the first world championship football game, the Chicago Bears defeated the New York Giants, 23-21. In 1944, the IJ S. Army announced it was ending its policy of excluding Japanese-Americans from the West (’oast. In 1957, the United Slates successfully test-fired the Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile for the first time. In 1975, lunette bromine was sentenced in federal court in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President ford. LETTERS POLICY ■ Letter must be 250 words or fewer. ■ The Herald-Zeitung reserves the right to edit all submissions. ■ Guest columns should be less than 500 words and must be accompanied by a photo. ■ Address and telephone number must be included so authorship can be confirmed. Mail letters to: Letters to Editor c/o Herald Zeitung RO. Drawer 311328 New Braunfels, TX 78131 1328 Fax them to: (830) 606 3413 e-mail them to: news@herald- ted wXipiii of nan® prisoners' 93666(1 , critics torHited aft). executed ■EW tttHftfii nnJAHi VHT toapds (MJH lase im Maoris Ain SomhBGi IK AND TV€ VERDICT US should be congratulating Putin on his victory, not criticizing him CHARLEYREESE Charley Reese is a columnist for King Features Synicate. You can write to him at PO. Box 2446, Orlando, Fla. 32802. It’s odd that the American reaction to the recent Russian elections was they were not up to snuff and probably rigged. One would think Americans would instead celebrate the fact the Communist Party suffered a serious defeat that will probably finally consign it to that famous dustbin. The truth is the elections strengthened the hand of President Vladimir Putin and greatly weakened the Communists and liberals. Most of the gains were by parties that have in common a strong sense of nationalism. To make sense of world politics today, you have to keep in mind that “neoconservative” is very close to being a synonym for “Trotskyite.” Leon Irotsky was the unlucky third member of the triumvirate that imposed communism on Russia. Vladimir Lenin died, arid the other member, Joseph Stalin, outmaneuvered IVotsky and forced him to flee into exile, where one of Stalin’s killers eventually put an ice ax into his brain. Trotsky’s gig was internationalism. He hated nationalism and nationalists. And so do the neoconservatives and most liberals in the United States. They look with jaundiced eye on any nationalist, be he Arab, Russian, French, German or American. That and a high regard for big government are about all liberals and neoconservatives share in common. Putin has been drawing criticism for going after the crooked oligarchs, men who used bribery and influence to grab most of the state’s assets when the Soviet Union collapsed. I Ie gets criticism from ideologues who don’t distinguish between capitalists and crooks, and he’s gotten some because some of the oligarchs he’s targeted are Jewish. The jewish magazine Forward, in an articled headlined "Kremlin'Targets Jewish Tycoons in War on Critics,” later says: “In the eyes of most Russians, the oligarchs are clearly guilty, of theft and cor ruption,^ the best case, and probably a lot worse. That much of their wealth is ill-gotten no one really doubts.” Still, the point of the article is that while Jewish oligarchs have been arrested or have fled into exile to avqid prosecution, the Kremlin has not yet gone after the non-Jewish oligarchs. A valid point. Maybe after these elections, which have greatly strengthened Putins hand, he will go after the other oligarchs. We’ll have to wait and see. I don’t see it as “undemocratic" for Putin to go after crooks who stole the assets of the Russian people and made themselves into billionaires while ordinary Russians were impoverished. I wouldn’t call it undemocratic if he had them shot. There is no incompatibility between justice and democracy. Nor is there any incompatibility between democracy and nationalism. Putin understands he was elected president of Russia, not of the world. I Iis duty is to improve the lot of the Russian people. I wish George Bush had the same common sense. As for whether the Russian elections were strictly honest, I doubt it, but ours aren’t either. I would be surprised if there is a IOO percent honest election anywhere in the world. It’s too easy to steal or buy votes. We should not forget that in America it’s said that “The only qualification you need to vote is to be alive and 18 years old; in some parts of the country, you don’t even have to be alive." Cemeteries in Cook County, 111., Louisiana and Texas have often provided a margin of victory in American elections. Another great blunder of American foreign policy lias been to ignore Russia. It’s far more important for us to have a strong relationship with Russia than it is with, say, Great Britain. The United Kingdom is a minor power. Russia still has the means to blow us off the face of the Earth. We ought to be congratulating Putin, not criticizing him. II Qif TO CONTACT ■EmEWREr    ■    TffEfWRiREROTEkET United States Government PRESIDENT ■ George W. Bush 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, D C. 20500 SENATE ■ Kay Bailey Hutchison Russell Senate Office Building Room 284 Washington, D.C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-5922 Fax: (202) 224-0776 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) SAN ANTONIO OFFICE; 8023 Vantage Drive, Suite 460 San Antonio 78230 Telephone: (210) 340-2885 Fax: (210) 349-6753 ■ John Cornyn Russell Senate-Hart Room 517 Washington, D C. 20510 Telephone: (202) 224-2934 Fax: (202) 228-2856 Web: (Send e-mails through Web site.) AUSTIN OFFICE; 221 West Sixth St., Suite 1530 Austin 78701 Telephone: (512) 469-6034 Fax: (512) 469-6020 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 600 Navarro, Suite 210 San Antonio 78205 Telephone: (210) 224-7485 Fax: (210) 224-8569 CONGRESSMAN Bl Lamar Smith Rayburn House Office Building Room 2231 Washington. D C. 20515 Telephone: (202) 225-4236 Fax: (202) 225-8628 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 1100 NE Loop 410, Suite 640 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 821-5024 Fax: (21 OF821-5947 ■MM* IO CONTACT Texas    Bi Government GOVERNOR BT Rick Perry State Capitol, Room 2S.1 ' P.O. Box 12428 Austin 78711 Telephone: (800) 843-5789 Fax: (512) 463-1849 STATE HOUSE ■ Carter Casteel 254 E. Mill St. New Braunfels 78130 Telephone: (830) 627-0215 Toll Free: (866) 687-4961 Fax: (830) 627-8895 WHILE IN AUSTIN: PO. Box 2910 Austin 78768-2190 Telephone: (512) 463-0325 Fax: (512) 473-9920 E-mail address: [email protected] STATE SENATE ■ Jeff Wentworth 1250 NE Loop 410, Suite 720 San Antonio 78209 Telephone: (210) 826-7800 Fax: (210) 826-0571 WHILE IN AUSTIN: Telephone: (512) 463-0125 Fax: (512 ) 463-7794 E-mail address: [email protected] state Bi Judith Zaffirini PO. Box 627 Laredo 78042-0627 SAN ANTONIO OFFICE: 12702 Toepperwem Road *214 San Antonio 78233 Telephone: (210) 657-0095 Fax: (210) 657-0262US troops capture ultimate weapon of mass destruction CALTHOMAS (xii Thomas is a collun Hist for Tribune Media Services International. He hosts "After Hours' on Fox News Channel Saturdays al 11 inn. EST. Direct all mail for Cal Thomas to: Tribune Media Services. 135 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 1500, Chicago. 60611, or leave an e-mail at bt* ultimate weapon of mass destruction has been captured in Iraq. Saddam found biding in a mud,” like the rat that he is, in a farmhouse on the outskirts of Tiki it. I lis end came not as a self styled heroic leader of millions, but as a wimp who resembled a bedraggled homeless man, unable to muster the nerve to take his own life with the gun on his hip. Hie arrest of Saddam is a triumph for the long-suffering Iraqi people and, depending on the reaction of Iraqis and whether insurgents can be defeated, it could be the ultimate triumph of the Bush administration's policy of preemption. The critics — political and journalistic — who said (he administration’s efforts were failing have been proved wrong. These would indude not only the United Nations, but also f rance and Germany and much of the liberal media establishment, espe cially the virulently anti-Bush and anti-American British press. Critics of American intelligence were also wrong. I bis was classic police work as U.S. forces slowly and systematically interviewed people who provided pieces of information that led to other interviews and ever-closer steps toward their objective. The immediate debate will be over how to bring Saddam to justice. For political reasons, he will probably be tried in an Iraqi court and not a Nuremberg-type tribunal. Some will call for a trial before a “world court.” Given the weakness of the Arab nations and much of the rest of the world and the reluctance of most European countries to confront Saddam when he held power, it is unlikely they could muster the fortitude necessary to give Saddam his just deserts. France and Germany must be nervous about what a trial could reveal about their complicity in enabling Saddam for three decades. American companies and politicians might also be concerned because their policies and decisions could also be made public. Good.*Embarrass ment should not be a reason for any cover-up. Uke those in the West who enabled the Soviet Union for seven decades and provided gas and armaments for Hitler’s Germany, whoever helped Saddam in his murderous ways should be exposed to the light of public accountability. As important as the capture of Saddam I lussein is, the war against terror is far from over. President Bush said as much in a statement from the White I louse on Sunday. I ie again declared this is a different kind of war, and be reminded Americans that it will continue to be conducted “capture by capture, cell by cell and victory by victory." The president wisely warned the public that Saddam’s arrest "does not mean the end of violence in Iraq.” Evil dies hard. The hatred of all things Western, Jewish, Christian and modern is deep throughout much of the Middle East. Children are taught to hate before they learn to walk. The Arab and Palestinian media are packed with anger and vituperation against the United States and the West. The danger, though, is to think evil is incarnated in a single leader. Saddam Hussein is just one of many tyrants that are threats to the freedom and existence of all humankind. Just as other mass murderers rose lo power after I filler’s demise, so, too, will new tyrants step forward to inherit Saddam’s bloody mantle. Politically, Saddam’s capture creates a predicament for the Democratic presidential candidates. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said i Inward Dean “has gotten smaller" and is "the big loser.” Dean has been sharply, even personally, critical of the president for his Iraq policy and the “failure” to find Saddam. Only Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., can claim a measure of support for the administration’s Iraq policy, buj it is doubtful he will receive a political boost. The man who has the most to worry about now — aside from Saddam I ius-sein, who it is hoped will be executed after he is confronted by relatives of those he tortured, raped and murdered — is Osama bin leaden. The steps he hears might not be millions marching to his drumbeat, but the boots of American soldiers headed toward whatever hole he has dug for himself. ;