New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - May 16, 1995, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 4 ■ Tuesday, May 16, 1995
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E D I T O R I A L
Texas congressman out of line with baseless charges of mass execution
Much has been said in recent weeks about the extreme harshness that has marked political debate. Many hoped that everyone from talk radio hosts to members of Congress would tone down their rhetoric and agree to disagree without being disagreeable.
Now a Texas congressman, Steve Stockman (R-Friendswood) has weighed in with accusations so baseless and inflammatory they would make Jesse Helms blush.
Writing in the new issue of Guns and Ammo magazine, Stockman claims the Clinton Administration executed the more than 80 people, including women and children, who died in the fire at the Branch Davidian compound at Mount Carmel in 1993. Further, he claims that Clinton did this extraordinarily evil act for political gain, because he wanted to drum up support for a ban on assault weapons. If that were not enough he adds that Attorney General Janet Reno should have faced premeditated murder charges for her role in the raid.
MWaco was supposed to be a way for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Clinton Administration to prove the need for a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons,”* he wrote.
The President and his assistants murdering innocent babies simply to get a piece of legislation passed — what kind of amoral monster did we elect? But is it true? Never mind that the raid was being planned before Bill Clinton took office, or that the standoff had already developed before Janet Reno became attorney general. Let’s look at the evidence.
Evidence? Who needs evidence? Apparently not Steve Stockman, because he offers none to back up his theory. Sharp accusations of murder and execution are enough for him.
It makes very interesting reading, but a Congressman is not elected to provide Guns and Ammo with good copy, or editorial writers with their daily fodder for that matter.
It is one thing for a talk radio host to throw around baseless allegations with no evidence. But a United States congressman is a different story. The title congressman lends credibility to his statements. For Stockman to claim an evil conspiracy by the government with nothing but his own imagination to back up the allegation just fuels and legitimizes the paranoia that exists in the country today. That is not a proper role for a United States congressman.
(Today's editorial was written by City Editor Roger Croteau.)Write us
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Poy I MASI! JI: Send address changes to the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung, P.O. Drawer 311 328, New Braunfels. Tx 78131 -1328Vietnam questions still lingering
West Point, N.Y. — The recriminations about the Vietnam War and whether we ought to have been there and whether we did all we could to “win” it are lingering.
Probably the most significant question is whether it was worth the loss of 58,000 American lives. Is there consolation for those who died and for those who continue to grieve?
There is. His name is Francis Q. Hoang, and next month he will graduate near the top of his class from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Hoang’s family moved from North to South Vietnam in the 1960s because of religious persecution under the Communists. His father was drafted into the South Vietnamese Army. His mother worked for the American Navy attach^ in Saigon. On April 27, 1975, three days before Saigon fell, Hoang’s family—father, mother, himself and
sister Ann—were given one hour to grab their belongings and board an American plane for San Diego.
When they arrived in the states, they were told they could live anywhere they wished. Hoang’s father chose Washington state because he had heard fruit trees grow there and he wanted to start a business. A sponsoring American family in Tumwater, south of Olympia, took them in and helped them start their new life.
When Hoang was in the 8th grade, his class traveled to Washington, D.C., where he visited the Vietnam Memorial and the Wall with the names of the American dead. “As I looked at the names stretching on either side of me,” he says, “I suddenly felt a deep, deep sense of sadness and grief. That was followed by a sense of a debt that I had to repay.”
Hoang kept this vow to himself, telling neither his teachers nor his parents, because, he says, he didn’t know how he could repay so great a sacrifice. “All I knew was that I had been given something and I had to give it back.”
In his senior year in high school, a retired three-star general visited his school and took an interest in him. He advised Hoang to apply to West Point.
He did and, despite his late application, was nominated and accepted.
On a subsequent trip to the capital, Hoang paid another visit to the Wall, wondering whether he was wise to seek an Army career. “It was late at night,” he recalls, “and I remember distinctly walking down that path and hearing murmurs as I passed people and standing there in that spot (where I had made my vow) and feeling that I had done the right thing.”
What does he think about the controversy over former Secretary of defense Robert McNamara’s book? “What matters,” he says, “is that American soldiers came to Vietnam, fought in a country far from home, spilled their blood and, in some cases, gave their lives out of a sense of duty, out of a sense of honor and out of a desire to serve their country. It made it possible for people like me to have another life. I would have died if I had stayed there, or become an orphan because my parents would have been killed and I would have been forced to live in the streets like a dog and eventually die. Instead, I got to come to the U.S., have a wonderful education and an opportunity to serve this nation.”
Hoang, who says he believes Vietnam will someday be free, was in Washington on April 27, the 20th anniversary of his family’s escape from Vietnam. He went to the Wall, leaving some of his brigade ribbons along with a letter of thanks to those who gave their lives for him.
Hoang personifies West Point’s motto—Duty, Honor, Country—all the more because this is not his native land. The 58,000 died for more than one, but if there are more Francis Hoangs and if Vietnam is someday free, the debt will have been paid. For Hoang, graduation day at West Point and his commission in the U.S. Army will mark a significant down payment.
(In a recent column, Cal Thomas wrote that Sen. and Mrs. Bob Dole were “members” of Foundry Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. To clarify, Bob Dole maintains his membership at Trinity United Methodist Church in Russell, Kan., and while Mrs. Dole is still a member of Foundry, she says the church’s liberal theology has caused them to search for another church home in the Washington area which more accurately reflects their traditional Christian beliefs.)
Democrats scramble for budget strategy
WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats are invoking everything from the bombing in Oklahoma City to the deadly Ebola outbreak in Zaire in futile attempts to cushion Republican budget blows.
“Gloom and doom is not the final strategy,” says Rep. Bob Wise, D-W. Va. But as Republicans march determinedly toward balancing the federal budget, it is the interim strategy.
And it’s making Democrats Itxik like apologists for the status quo.
Tile official party stance right now is to let the Republicans have center stage, highlight the hardships their budgets would impose, champion Medicare, insist the GOP abandon its “tax cut for the privileged,” and wait for the political fallout.
Any other approach would mean entering the debate on Republican terms — that is, the federal budget must be balanced by 2002.
Furthermore, Democrats say they did their part by passing a 1993 deficit-reduction plan without so much as one Republican vote.
"We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” said Rep. Vie Fazio, D-Calif.
But the waiting game carries risks.
How long does it last? Democrats are deeply divided.
The White House is under the most pressure to produce; the House is under the most pressure to define ideological differences.
And what impression are Democrats projectingAnalysis
during the wait? In House and Senate work sessions last week, GOP leaders were coming across as committed, serious, long-term thinkers — while frustrated Democrats were dying piecemeal, with no overall plan of their own, to save various individual programs from death or decimation.
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., brought up the Ebola outbreak while attempting to restore money to the National Institutes of Health.
"This country is one plane ride away from a virus that could wipe out a lot of our people,” she said. "What a time to walk away from health research."
Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., fretted about a proposed change in the way federal pensions are calculated.
He cited the Oklahoma City bombing lo highlight the contributions and nobility of federal employees.
"I don’t think it’s fair to such people to change the rules on them right at the end of their careers,” he said.
The Senate Budget Committee chairman, Pete Domenici, R-N.M., presided patiently until Democrats demanded that a $ 170 billion dividend, possible if interest rates fall with passage of the GOP budget plan, be used to restore cuts in social and medical programs.
Domenici is reserving the money for an eventual
Democrats shouldn’t try to dictate "how to spend a dividend that they didn’t help get,” he snapped. "You want to prioritize, then be part of the game.”
If and when Democrats get into the game, it won’t be with official budget alternatives.
In the House, "the judgment has been made not to do that,” said Rep. Martin Olav Sabo, D-Minn., the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee. He left the distinct impression it wasn’t his judgment.
Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., said Democrats may offer floor amendments to make the Senate GOP budget more acceptable and didn’t rule out support for a compromise version.
Unofficial Democratic budgets are in the works, including a liberal blueprint from the Congressional Black Caucus, a Senate plan that is easier on agriculture and a conservative House plan that resembles the Domenici budget but "make less radical cuts in areas like agriculture, Medicare, Medicaid and education,” said Rep. Bill Orton, D-Utah, one of the authors.
Bul the official party strategy — laid out emphatically Friday by Vice President Al Gore and Democratic congressional leaders — is non-engagement until the GOP abandons its tax-cut plans.
Republicans are fractured over the tax cut and may also have to deal with skittishness among members standing for re-election next year.Today In History
By The Associated Press
Today is Tuesday, May 16, the 136th day of 1995. There are 229 days left in the year.
Today's Highlight in History:
On May 16, 1868, the U.S. Senate failed by one vote to convict President Andrew Johnson as it took its first ballot on one of 11 articles of impeachment against him.
On this date:
In 1763, the English lexicographer,
author and wit Samuel Johnson first met his future biographer, James Boswell.
In 1770, Marie Antoinette, age 14, married the future King Louis the XVI of France, who was 15.
In 1866, Congress authorized minting ofthefive-cent piece.
In 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized in Rome.
In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented during a banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The movie “Wings” won “best production”; Emil Jannings and Janet Gaynor were named
best actor and best actress.
In 1946, the musical "Annie Get Your Gun,” featuring songs by Irving Berlin and starring Ethel Merman, opened on Broadway.
In 1948, the body of CBS News correspondent George Polk was found in Solonika Bay in Greece, a week after he’d disappeared; Greek leftists and rightists blamed each other for the killing.
In 1955, American author and critic James Agee died in New York.
In 1960, a Big Four summit conference in Paris collapsed on its opening
day as the Soviet Union leveled spy charges against the U.S. in the wake of the U2 incident.
In 1965, the musical play "The Roar of the Greasepaint — the Smell of the Crowd,” by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley, opened on Broadway.
In 1975, Japanese climber Junko Tabei became the first woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
Ten years ago: The president of El Salvador, Jose Napoleon Duarte, visited President Reagan at the White House to talk about attempts to negotiate peace with leftist rebels.