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Bombings by South Africa

May 28, 1986

We have set a dangerous precedent, haven't we? Our bombing Libya opened the door to other similar incursions. Now South Africa feels free to bomb three neighboring black states--ostensibly for the same noble reason as ours--to "stop terrorism." And who are we to criticize them? So next, what other big powerful military force can attack small countries with impunity so long as they claim they are trying to exterminate radical factions?

Then there's Syria looming on the horizon. Are we going to act on a foolish consistency and bomb them next? Then who after that? Suppose there's no end? Will we escalate this deadly policy as we have continually escalated the arms race? Our record for peacemaking is not very good, is it? We are Ramboing our military power down everyone's throat.

Is there no better way to spend our genius, money and power? Of course there is: Instead of concentrating efforts on military force, we could learn how to perform more peaceably on the world political stage--working tirelessly and thoughtfully for reconciliation between Israel and the Arab states, for a Palestinian homeland, for the Contadora negotiations in Central America, and for economic justice at home and abroad. We could conscientiously espouse cooperative projects with the U.S.S.R., using our mutual technologies for world development and space exploration projects rather than for suicidal confrontations.

Who is we? You and I, friends. Our neighbors, our teachers, our journalists, our businessmen, our pastors, priests and rabbis. And above all our government officials, over whom we ourselves have the power of persuasion and ultimately the massive power of our votes. So write that letter. Make that cheap early-morning phone call to Washington. Visit that congressman. Call that senator's local office. Speak truth to power. It's the American Way.

JEAN S. GERARD

Temple City

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