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New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 15, 1985, New Braunfels, Texas Mailbag New Braunfels Herald Zeitung P.O. Box 361 New Braunfels, Texas 78131 o Hwrald-Zeitung pinions Dave Kl r, General Manager Hobart Johnson, EditorAndy Rooney Forty years ago I borrowed something and never returned it. I promised I would but I didn’t. I’ve always felt terrible about it. It was not just any day in my life. I was standing on the west bank of the Rhine River looking at the Ludendorff Bridge on the day the 9th Armored Division captured it, March 7, 1945. Everyone calls it the Remagen Bridge but Remagen is the name of the town nearby. The bridge is named after a German general. It was a reporter’s dream. One of the great stories of the war had fallen into my lap. As I scribbled pencil marks in my notebook, wondering how to describe an event of such importance, a young lieutenant in theI have some photos to return Engineer Corps came along with a camera. He said he’s taken lots of pictures of the bridge. They were still in his camera as exposed negatives. It was too good to be true. I had not only a story but pictures to go with it. I pleaded with the lieutenant, promised him, cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-die I’d have his pictures developed and returned to him. He let me take the pictures and The Stars and Stripes printed two of them the following day. The young lieutenant’s name was Erie Hoffman. I have thought of him many times in 40 years. When I go to a strange city, I often look to see if his name is in the telephone book. I never found Erie Hoffman again ... never returned his pictures. I still have them. Erie Hoffman, where are you? If you wonder why all the fuss is being made about a bridge this week, let me tell you. There were five great days for the Allied Armies in Europe in World War II. 1 - D-Day, the invasion on June 6, 1944. 2 - The Breakthrough at St. Lo, June 18, the U.S. and British forces had been bottled up on the beaches at Normandy. Until that day, it was not absolutely certain we wouldn’t be pushed back into the English Channel. The beachhead was so narrow that German artillery could still shell our troops along the coast. Ships were dumping tons of weapons, vehicles, food and several thousand men into France but until the breakthrough at St. Lo, they couldn’t get off the beaches. 3 - The taking of Paris on Aug. 25. It was more a symbolic victory than the others but it was some symbol. We knew we were on our way. 4 - Taking the bridge over the Rhine at Remagen. Then Germans had confidence that, even if they were pushed back to their own side of the Rhine, that great river, with its bridges destroyed, would provide a barrier that would give them months of protection while they regrouped and rebuilt their decimated forces. When Americans raced across the Mailbag Abortion choice shows lack of responsibility Dear Editor: Two readers have recently submitted letters to the Mailbag encouraging support for the “Pro-Choice” argument in the abortion debate. Though I may not agree with the choices, I support the right of a woman to choose what she does with HER body only. And unless forcibly raped or a victim of incest, a woman can virtually exercise that choice right up to conception. Abstinence, restraint, contraception, and even adoption are all part of the choices already available to women...choices which do not deny a baby the right to life. Drug companies spend millions of dollar marketing contraceptives thus encouraging women to exercise their choice to become pregnant or not. Unfortunately, the proliferation of contraceptives and sex education has had an alarmingly small affect on unwanted pregnancies. Therefore, a growing human fetus is often aborted merely because it was a “mistake” or an “inconvenience,” murdered because of the irresponsible and selfish actions of a man, woman, boy, or girl. Though abortion has become an all too convenient “way out,” it remains a physical, emotional, spiritual, and social tragedy nonetheless. Is it too late in this debate to back up and ask where the voices are that once preached, admonished, and encouraged against pre-marital sex, extra-marital sex, and irresponsible reproduction? Perhaps if those bridge, it was the beginning of the end. It was only a few days later that we came on the first concentration camps at Tekla and Buchenwald. In any war, the best fortifications are not manmade. It doesn’t take many defenders with guns to keep a whole army from crossing a river when there’s no bridge. The intact bridge across the Rhine was all the good news Eisenhower needed. The first reporter over the bridge that day was Howard Cowan of The Associated Press. Howard, still a towering hulk of a man, now owns a weekly newspaper in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. He has the good taste and editorial judgement to run this column in his paper. Ixist week we sat in a restaurant in New York and talked of those times. I jfe, on such an occasion and at such a distance from our first meeting in Germany, does not seem short at all. Howard had the fried oysters, I the eggs Benedict. Howard bought. 5 - The real end of German resistance came when we met the Russians on the banks of the Elbe River at Torgau on April 26, 1945. They had been driving west as we drove east. Had we not captured the Ludendorff Bridge intact, the Russians might have met us at the Rhine instead of the Elbe and there would have been very little West Germany at all. Jack Anderson Reagan shows penchant for secret documents voices had not become so silent, we wouldn’t now be shouting over abotion. Reverence for all human life is being casually and deceptively eroded as five people become the tragic victims in each abotion act-the mother, the father, the doctor, the baby...and the person who grants to a mother the freedom to kill her baby. Sincerely, Pat Nichols The Reagan administration is using the rubber stamp of secrecy with reckless disregard for the American public’s right to know I’ve sounded this theme before, but this time I’m going to let you in on a little secret about many of these classified documents: Quite frankly, they are often classified not so much for what is in them, as for w hat isn’t. Take, for example, A Central Intelligence Agency report I saw -classified higher than “Top Secret” -on “Unidentified Research and Development Facility No. 3.” This confessed that all the CIA’s satellites and all the CIA’s men hadn’t been able to solve the puzzle of a building located at a Soviet nuclear test site. Its purpose remained unknown for nearly a decade, even though it had been under construction for almost that long. The same is true of several top-secret CIA briefings for President Reagan on Soviet leaders - they must have been classified to hide our ignorance. The CIA had no idea whether Yuri Andropov had a wife and, if he did, whether she was his first or second. Her prescence at his funeral finally enabled the CIA’s dogged agents to solve this puzzle. Konstantin Chernenko’s wife was also kind enough to show up for the same event, settling another intelligence gap. Hiding the limitations of U.S. intelligence may be justifiable at the “Top Secret” leve, but there is no excuse at the lower “Secret” level. If the Soviets snatched a secret document and found out the CIA hadn’t learned about an “X” missile system, or the peccadillos of a “Y” Politburo member or the cost of a new “Z” agricultural plan, they would reckon the information was simply held under tighter security. So ignorance classified at the “Secret” level is more likely intended to protect the intelligence analysts who wrote the report and don't want to advertise their lack of special insight. My associates Donald Goldberg and Dale Van Atta have come across a classic example of this in a 1982 Air Force study. Commissioned by former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Lew Allen, the study - called "Air Force 2000” - apparently was supposed to determine “the operational environment which will confront the Air Force at the turn of the century. ” The executive summary my associates obtained is classified “Secret-No Fom-WNINTEL." By legal definition. “Secret” means that the disclosure of this documents woudl cause “serious” damage to our national security. “No Fora” is short of “No Foreign Dissemination,” meaning the document may not be shared with a foreign country, not even those such as Great Britain with whom we routinely share intelligence. “WMNTEL" stands for “Warning Notice:    Sensitive Intelligence Sources and Methods Involved.” All that classified embroider) points to the idea that this is one hot document So my associates dutifully compared the secret version against the public one to find out just what the classification stamp was used for. Their conclusion is that the secret document is sunply crystal-ball gazing and has no business being classified, other than to hide the absence of omniscience evidenced by the Air Force’s top planners. Page 5 of this secret summary features a chart, separately classified “Secret,” of ll “possible” nations which will join the six-nation “nuclear club" by the year 2000 Never nund that I reported these ll publicly three years before the Air Force report - in 1979. ATTENTION-GETTER: A length of 2-by-4 is the recommended method for catching a mule’s attention. Rep. Clarence Miller, R-Ohio, tried a subtler method to pique his colleagues’ interest in a subject dear to his constituents’ hearts, but probably of faint interest elsewhere. He was hoping to wm support for federal aid to the long-suffering ferroalloy industry. Miller’s solution to this potential eye-glazer was to write a “Dear Colleague” letter in the form of a quiz. "What is a ferroalloy?” he asked, and supplied five possible answers: — “Something your mother told you never to mention in public.” — “The latest sports car model to come out of Detroit." — “A new starlet on the Dallas’ series.” — “A fear of Dear Colleague’ letters.” — “None of the above." House members whose curiosity was aroused presumably consulted their dictionaries and learned that ferroalloys are the various combinations of iron and other metals that can be used to make steel. Mailbag policy The Hera/d-Zeitung welcomes the opinions of its readers, and we’re happy to publish letters to the editor. Letters are published on the Opinions page as soon as they are received, unless delayed by space limitations. While readers’ opinions on local issues generally are of more interest to other readers, we welcome letters on any topic — local, state, national or international — that the writer chooses to address. Content will not prevent publication unless the letter is judged to be potentially libelous. All letters to the editor should be signed and authorship must be verifiable by telephone. Anonymous letters will not be published. Send your letter to: Mailbag, New Braunfels Heraid-Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 361, New Braunfels Texas, 78131. Letters may also be hand delivered to the newspaper offices at 186 S. Gas tell. ;