The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, November 05, 1986, Image 2

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Page 2AThe Battalion/Wednesday, Movember 5, 1986 Opinion The Battalion (USPS 045 360) Member of Texas Press Association Southwest Journalism Conference The Battalion Editorial Board Cathie Anderson, Editor Kirsten Dietz, Managing Editor Loren Steffy, Opinion Page Editor Frank Smith, City Editor Sue Krenek, News Editor Ken Sury, Sports Editor Editorial Policy The Battalion is a non-profit, self-supporting newspaper oper ated as a community service to Texas A&M and Bryan-College Sta- tion. Opinions expressed in The Battalion are those of the editorial board or the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Texas A&M administrators, faculty or the Board of Regents. The Battalion also serves as a laboratory newspaper for students in reporting, editing and photography classes within the Depart ment of Journalism. The Battalion is published Monday through Friday during Texas A&M regular semesters, except for holiday and examination periods. Mail subscriptions are $17.44 per semester, $34.62 per school year and $36.44 per full year. Advertising rates furnished on re quest. Our address: The Battalion, 216 Reed McDonald Building, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843. Second class postage paid at College Station, TX 77843. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Battalion, 216 Reed McDonald, Texas A&M University, College Station TX 77843. A habit worth kicking The recent remodeling of a State Department suite in a tobacco motif may have been done as a tribute to the industry that funded the renovations, but it also proves that one arm of the government doesn’t know what the other is doing. Besides two signs noting the tobacco companies’ contribution, the redecorated suite is furnished with trim work featuring tobacco leaves and flowers, antique tobacco jars, bowls with tobacco leaf pat terns and several peace pipes. The State Department says the decorations are a way of saying thank you and are appropriate because of tobacco’s long history as an American cash crop. No mention was made of tobacco’s long his tory as an American cancer crop. The Treaty Room renovation lights up a two-faced government policy towards tobacco. While happily taking the industry’s money and gratefully paying tribute to it on one hand, other government hands are downplaying, if not openly attacking the use of tobacco products. For years the surgeon general has warned of the dangers of ciga rette smoking, and now chewing tobacco also carries similar warn ings. The armed forces have implemented new smoking restrictions as have many other federal agencies. The tobacco lobby is the most powerful agricultural interest group on Capitol Hill. When its money talks, the administration lis tens, but when the products it supports cause cancer, the administra tion condemns. When the federal government takes tobacco money, it indirectly promotes the product. We can’t ignore the tax revenues gleaned from tobacco, but we also can’t ignore that the money is tainted with cancer and emphy sema and death. The administration needs a consistent policy. It needs to stop wasting tax dollars attacking the products of an indus try it indirectly “thanks” and supports. If the administration and Congress truly were concerned with the health of the American people, it would get the arms of govern ment working in unison and kick the tobacco-lobby habit. Then we could all breathe a little easier. MAR&UUES &1986 HouziW fV$T ' (abcpefgmijklmnopqrstuvwxvz Summit transcripts reveal l< in-depth talks in Iceland s The Russians, to White House indignation, have released a small portion of the transcript of the Iceland meeting between President Reagan and Mik hail Gorbachev. The White House, although asked, has refused to re Richard Cohen lease its transcript. A confidential source, though, slipped it to me over the transom. The two leaders sat down the first time at precisely 10:03 a.m., Saturday. According to the transcript, Gorbachev opened with an offer to eliminate all ballistic weapons in Europe. The presi dent responded with a story about L.B. Mayer, once head of the MGM studio in Hollywood. At that point, according to the official notes, Gorbachev went to his briefing books to find out who Mayer was. The president then followed with two more anecdotes about Mayer, one about Marilyn Monroe and another about John Wayne. He then launched into a story about going down the coast high way in California that, the transcript in dicates, had no ending. Finally, the president agreed to abolish all nuclear weapons in Europe. “How about all ballistic missiles?” Gorbachev asked. The president then told the story about having lunch in The Brown Derby in Hollywood with Gene Kelly. They were approached by an other actor whose name he had forgot ten but who was very short. The short man’s head was level with their table. “Who’s this?” Kelly asked, “John the Baptist?” The notes indicate that the president laughed but that Gorbachev only smiled. The president told Gorba chev how the bravery of a black sailor at Pearl Harbor resulted in the desegrega tion of the armed forces. Gorbachev smiled again. At this point, the president said he would agree to the elimination of all bal listic missiles, but not those on subma rines because they could be recalled. “Nyet,” the Soviet leader said. “They cannot.” The president looked puzzled and asked to see one of his advisers, Richard Perle. After a brief conversa tion, the president assented to the pro posal on all ballistic missiles. He then asked for time to take a nap or tell a story about Errol Flynn. Upon resuming their conversations, Gorbachev congratulated the president on how well-rested he looked. He re marked <4n the progress they had made and suggested even more could be done. The president agreed and then told his Errol Flynn story. The notes in dicate that Gorbachev smiled and asked about all nuclear weapons. “I’ve already done that,” the tran script shows the president as saying. Gorbachev said no, it was ballistic mis siles they had eliminated. The notes in dicate the president seemed confused and then launched into a story about the difficulty he once had getting a Social Security card for one of his children. He described the length of the line and the amount of time he had to spend in it and said that this was the problem with government. He said he understood that lines were a problem in the Soviet Union to which, the notes show, Gorba chev nodded his head. “What about all l;o nuclear weapons?” the Soviet leac!ift>n< then asked. B tes “I thought we had already taken a® 01 of that,” the pi cskIciu i rsponded (. I?','* ( bachev said they had not. The prelF” dent, seemingly confused, said ttJSU, had. It was his intention, he said, Pw’ eliminate them all, since he had sejjinui wh.it w . 11 (<Mil<l d(> when hr helped ..if tin erate Auschwitz while with the Am cine motion-picture unit. “Let’s do it," RtiB nu gansaid- ,n p‘; At that point, Gorbachev asked ftiP the elimination of the Strategic Defenst )ri ,‘ l j Initiative. “No way," the presidentsai;S ie( He described SDI as the ie< hnologicyith t breakthrough that would end nudei|jcu! war for all time. He likened it to if ^ a l 1944 Norihandy invasiorf which,1” * said, won the war for the Allies. “The Soviet Union won the war the Allies,” Gorbacnev said. “And i: way, if we eliminate nuclear weap why woidd you need SDI?” At point, the president lanched into story about Albert Einstein’s letter Franklin Roosevelt, proposing thattl* United States build an atomic b< The president suggested that SDI his chance to be another Rooseveltaj he was not going to blow it. By now it was late and, inexpli the transcript shows the president sal ing, “Honey, l forgot to duck.” Gorki chev then said, “No SDI,” towhichij president responded, “I cannot accff that. We built SDI, we paid foritandii ours.” The notes indicate that Gorki chev then stood to leave, but befoi doing so, turned to the presdientwittij puzzled look on his face. “One m thing,” he said. “Who’s Errol Flynn? Copyright I9H6, Washington Post Writers CM! Mail Call - Syrian bad manners versus freedom for U.S. hostages Great Britain severed diplo matic relations with Syria this past weekend, and both Canada and the United States withdrew their ambassadors in re sponse to Syrian leader Hafez As sad’s continuing Mark Ude support of terror- ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ ism. Syria in turn responded that Great Britain would pay dearly and by “suita ble means” for their actions. This is an expected reply from a na tion that is considered much more dan gerous than Libya, despite the United States’ recent clash with the north Afri can nation. Perhaps this is because Syria is much more subtle. Syria, through its own groups and proxy militia in war-torn Lebenon, has been linked to numerous terrorist at tacks upon the general populace, all in the aim of restoring the balance of power in the Middle East and helping displaced Palestinians, which means dis placing the Israelis. While Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi is viciously anti-American, and freely welcomes known terrorist groups, he is at most a paper tiger. Libya does not have strong support from the Soviet Union because of Gadhafi’s radical be liefs. Assad, on the other hand, enjoys strong support from the Soviets and maintains a close relationship with Gor bachev. A direct confrontation with Syria would be close to a direct thrust against the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, such ties to the Soviets are not the only reason there has been no retribution against Assad for terror ism. Opinions have surfaced that Syria had a part in the release of David Jacob sen and the Rev. Lawrence Jenco, two American hostages in Beirut. France also needs Syria’s help in negotiating the release of eight French hostages held somewhere in Lebanon. For countries to make an effort to stop Syrian-sponsored terrorism, retri butions need to be enacted. But if a na tion’s hands are tied by citizens held hostage in Lebanon or other Arab coun tries, such retribution is difficult. To ob tain hostages’ quick release, Syria’s coop eration is required. But the cooperation will not be there if Syria is attacked in the diplomatic and economic worlds. European powers also hesitate to is sue rash an impatient responses against Syria because they fear terroristic repri sals. Aristotle once said that evil will pre vail only when good men do nothing. If we cower in inaction, because we fear terrorist attacks against our people, then evil definitely will win. But Amer ica does not willingly back clown from threats and abuse against its citizens abroad. And perhaps the United States is unique in this respect. While many countries will rise up in anger if their homeland is invaded or despoiled by an invader, only the United States has a history of seeking retribution when one of her citizens has been cold-bloodedly cut down. While the United States should make all efforts to obtain the release of those Americans, it should not be pressured into passively accepting or condoning Syria’s bad habits in return for goodwill and freed hostages. Nor should we be afraid to retaliate for terrorist acts throughout the world, for fear of Soviet response or being too closely identified with Israel’s interest or foreign policy. Mark Ude is a senior geography major and a columnist for The Battalion. Missing rings EDITOR: My purse was stolen from DeWare Field House Monday between 11:30 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. I was frantic until it was recovered by an honest custodian in G. Rollie White four hours later. My purse and credit cards were returned, but I’m still upset because along with my checkbook, two valuable pieces of jewelry also are missing. I had taken off two special rings before handball. They are gone. They were both from another country and are virtually irreplaceable. 1 wish whoever took the rings would contact me instead of going to a pawn shop. I'll offer the money, and they can remain anonymous if they wish. The police will not be involved. If anyone has any information about the rings, their help would be greatly appreciated. Stephanie Richard ’89 Bikes nof death machines' EDITOR: Parts of the Oct. 28 article on sportbikes were inaccurate. Budd Abbott’s statement on the number of people capable of handling sportbikes was misleading. While there may be only 500 people in the United States able to ride these machines to their full potential, just about anyone can ride a sportbike safely. Abbott’s label “death machine” is a misnomer. Today’s sportbike has better suspension, better brakes, better tires, more responsive handling and is much easier to ride than the bikes of the past. As far as high horsepower is concerned, we have in several instances been able to use the extra horsepower to get out of the way of careless drivers. For this reason, we believe that Abbott’s approach to limiting sportbikes’ performances is misguided. Although we agree inexperienced riders are a problem, Abbott places too much of the blame on the sportbike and not enough on the sportbike rider. Fernando Maldonado ’87 Kolchi Tsukimashi ’87 Letters to the editor should not exceed 300 words in length. The editorial staff reserves therigl 11 to edit letters for style and length, but will make every effort to maintain the author’s inte" 1 . Each letter must be signed and must include the classification, address and telephone number 11 the writer.