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Government's Covert Actions

October 23, 1986

James Bamford's article (Opinion, Oct. 5), "CIA Gets Billing Again in Nicaragua, as Covert Action Becomes the Norm," on the United States' expanding foreign covert military actions and its "secret warriors," causes me to become very sad at the specter of our nation, born of a much higher vision, sinking to such levels of violence and intimidation.

Our country was founded on the vision that "all men are created equal," that the unalienable right of all people is "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Is this vision limited only to the United States? Could it now apply, in a world grown so much smaller by our collective global technologies to all peoples of the earth?

The old saying that "power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely" is as true about nations as it is for individual people. It is as true of America as for the Soviet Union. It is a human dilemma, which, because of the awesome physical powers that we possess today, tempts all those in power. How are we to resolve this fundamental problem of power and human frailty?

Clearly, the continued use of violence and intimidation to enforce "our way" on others will not work; whether "our way" is an American or Soviet way. The world is simply too small for such limited thinking today. Violence had never worked on an individual level, and it has never worked on a collective level. It has only sown the seeds of continued violence and retribution, which we have inherited today and which threatens the entire planet.

We Americans, who are so preoccupied with war and violence, must start by asking ourselves some fundamental questions about where we are going, as a nation and as members of a collective human family. How can we learn to see differentness in peoples, ideologies, and religious beliefs, not as a threat to "my way," but as a source of diversity, inspiration and hope?

How can we expand America's founding vision of the equal rights of all people to include all the peoples of the earth? And finally, how can we build a sustainable future for all people and all nations without the use of violence and intimidation? That would truly be so, as the motto of our nation declares, a "New Order of the Ages." The future of this nation and the world depends on our answers.



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