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Tourists and Terrorists

June 02, 1986

George Will's column (Editorial Pages, May 22), "Panicky American Tourists Signal Success of Terrorists," upset me. He fails to appreciate the true value of the American tourist's decision to stop overseas travel. He appears to be basking in some ill-conceived idea we Americans have some kind of bravado image to live up to if we are to maintain our self-respect.

That's nonsense. Foreigners have never envisioned us as a land of Sylvester Stallones or Rambos. The American celluloid hero is not our overseas image.

Respect! More nonsense. We are suckers, patsies, not heroes or supermen. They're laughing up their sleeves in the United Nations. Don't overlook the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. We foot the bills, are ridiculed, damned, and still keep paying. And then France turns us down on our overflight to get at Moammar Kadafi's nest of terrorists!

Will would have us believe the tourists are damaging the American image. It was shot down years ago! The heroics of World War I, World War II were long since washed away in the waves of younger generations. Fortunately, the American buck still gets its just due.

The terrorists will have no victory! The little guy, the American tourist, has hit them where it hurts! Right in the ol' pocketbook.

Forty to 50% reductions in American overseas travel has entire governments on the defensive, forced to listen to their businessmen's demands that something be done, even if it means protecting the tourists and going after the terrorists.

Lack of the buck, one by one, has stunned the heads of state. I submit instead of being labeled panicked cowards, we are the good guys, accomplishing what our State Department has been trying to do for months--get some cooperation between governments for ending terrorism!

Don't try to shame us into changing our travel plans. Prove to us the nations of the world have beefed up their security, thrown out the known terrorists, and are cooperating with our government, and then we will start planning our next vacation trip to Europe and elsewhere.

I'm sorry our more faithful allies, the British and Israelis, must suffer right along with our own travel industry. But the lack of bucks is working where diplomacy has been failing.



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