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American Leadership

January 11, 1991

This first day of 1991, Columns Left and Right (Commentary) expose without mercy failings of the American "democratic" system. Murray Kempton (liberal) exposes the tragedy of our style of making war: The careless sacrifice of the have-nots on the battlefields of political wars by leaders (with the exception, of course, of George Bush) who nimbly avoid exposing their own tails to the bullets. Kempton doesn't mention the sad fact that blacks weren't even allowed to fly in Bush's restricted air corps. Their willingness to go the distance was exceeded only by their tenacity in forcing creation of squadrons limited to blacks only by the military. Brave. No Dan Quayle look-alikes here.

Fred Barnes' (conservative) bare-faced defense of politically motivated decision-making is another sad commentary. Barnes' dismal Middle East picture has Democrat and Republican legislators tap-dancing their way through the minefield of public opinion. Seems like ratings and potential campaign effects are more important than national security or human life.

Is this how we expect our leaders to run the country? Must be, because we keep reinforcing their behavior by letting them get away with it.

The Bush Administration's Middle East debacle is doing more than just endangering the lives of our fighting people. It's exposing some rotten threads in the fabric of our sociopolitical structure. Whether we fight or not, it may be a very expensive war.

ALLAN RABINOWITZ

Los Angeles

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