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The Prism

Letters   Peruvian Commandos
Social Security Benefits
Juvenile Justice System
  To the Editor,

In the May-June 1997 issue of the Prism, I was amazed, but not surprised at the lack of respect that Stan Goff and Kropotkin exhibited to the brave Peruvian commandos who lost their lives storming the Japanese Embassy in Lima while trying to save the lives of innocent diplomats held hostage by communist death squads known as the Tupac Amaru.

In Mr. Stan Goff's article he claims that the US Army Delta Force that trained the Peruvian commandos is "racist." Yet Mr. Goff was a proud member of this "racist" and "phallic" organization for four years! This raises some serious questions about Mr. Goff's credibility and his membership in the "whitest unit" in the army.

For instance, when did Mr. Goff realize that Delta was "racist," and why did it take him four years to find out? Did Mr. Goff report this racism to his chain of command or the Inspector General or the NAACP? As a "pampered" arch-liberal, why didn't Mr. Goff immediately resign from the Military and go public about this "racist/phallic" group of white "shooters" with "chic haircuts"? Maybe it was because Mr. Goff was a white "shooter" with a "chic haircut," wore "Oakely" sunglasses and enjoyed getting paid more than the "lowly" "support" people of color (i.e. cooks, supply sergeants, etc.).

Speaking of racism, Mr. Goff also mentions that the leader of the communist terrorists. . . er agrarian reformers, Nestor Cerpa, was a Marxist. Wasn't it Karl Marx, an anti-Semite and racist, who called the famous Jewish socialist, Ferdinand Lassalle, "a dirty Jew of Negro blood" and "the Jewish Nigger"? I wonder how many Jews and blacks are allowed in the Marxist Tupac terrorist organization?

Mr. Goff should do the honorable thing and refuse to accept any veterans benefits or retirement pay since he earned them serving in a "racist/phallic" military and served a "racist," "imperialistic" country called the United States of America.

Then we come to Mr. Kropotkin's column where he's outraged that the Cuban trained left-wing communist death squads known as the Tupac Amaru were unfairly gunned down during a "friendly ball game." Poor Kropotkin. He needs to stick to commenting on venereal diseases. I guess that Kropotkin felt it was unfair when the 8th Air Force bombed the Fuhrer Bunker in Berlin while Hitler played a "friendly" game of fetch with his dog Blondi. Or maybe Kropotkin thought the brave Peruvian Commandos should have RSVP'd in advance or at least sent the left-wing hate group in the embassy an E-mail warning two weeks in advance before the assault was made.

All freedom loving people should pray for the brave Peruvian commandos who died storming the embassy and for their families.

Vaya con Dios, amigos.
G.R. Quinn
Sanford, NC

Stan Goff replies:

Mr. Quinn is a declared supporter of Jesse Helms, who has a venerable record of supporting the most vicious state terrorist thugs in Latin America (Cedras, D'Aubuisson, Pinochet, et al). Mr. Quinn proclaimed Joe Straley a racist for supporting a Democratic candidate for office in a letter to the local paper, and has referred to anti-tobacco advocates as Nazi storm troopers. However, to avoid being guilty of the same composite of material, psychological, and logical fallacies as Mr. Quinn, I need to point out some problems in this particular bit of correspondence.

Three Peruvian commandos lost their lives in this operation. Whether they were brave or not is a judgement we are unqualified to make. Being killed by fellow commandos in what the military euphemistically calls "accidental fratricide" is a probablility. One hostage died, and 14 Tupac Amaru guerrillas lost their lives, most of them executed after they had laid down their arms. Certainly these summary executions were the actions of brave lads.

The innocence of the diplomats is a questionable judgement, one that may not be shared by the millions of Peruvian poor who are economically and politically saddled with the burden of protecting the mutual investments of Peruvian and Japanese profiteers and speculators. The MRTA, far from being death squads, have been remarkably scrupulous in their previous activities, and harmed not a single hostage during this episode. The Peruvian officers I worked with, however, while drunk, enjoyed telling how many Indians they'd killed on their forays into the sierra-not terrorists or guerrillas-Indians.

The very disputable reference to Karl Marx as an anti-Semite is doubly bizarre when one considers that Marx himself was a German Jew.

Now to the real question. The less than honorable Mr. Goff. I am an American citizen, and I want the best for my country. I admit that I do not identify the interests of our economic elite with the interests of the majority of Americans.

I worked for the government of that country for over two decades, and the contract I worked under awards me a pension, which I earned and enjoy unabashedly. It is not the military I object to, but the policies it carries out at the behest of powerful civilian monopoly capitalists who perpetuate misery, oppression, and poverty around the world in order to enlarge and consolidate their power. I want a strong and just United States, and I do not believe we can achieve that until we come to grips with the history of sexism, racism, imperialism, and genocide that still has very real consequences in our society.

I believe in justice and democracy, but unless there is economic justice and economic democracy, the legal renditions of these two constructs are shams. The reason I can hold out hope in the face of these destructive contradictions is my belief in the ability of people to change. I was a collaborator in patriarchy, racism, and imperialism when I did not speak out. On this account, Mr. Quinn is absolutely right.

The comfortable world of denial can be a scary place to leave, but well worth the trouble. I invite Mr. Quinn to join me.

To the Editor,

An important adjustment in social security benefits is needed. Right now there are excess earned income penalties for retirees who draw social security benefits and are under 70 years old. Retirees under 65 forfeit one dollar in benefits for every two dollars they earn over an annual limit of $8,640. Retirees 65 to 69 forfeit one dollar in benefits for every three dollars of earned income over an annual limit of $13,500.

These excess earnings limits are low. Many retirees simply stop working when the reach the earnings limit.

But just like many younger people there are retirees who need to work extra hours to make ends meet. The reasons can include legal theft medical bills, loss of income due to a spouse's death and legal theft funeral expenses.

For our overpaid lawmakers to keep "kleptocracy" legislation in place against senior citizens is as despicable as to rob graves, to legally rob widows and children, to not raise minimum wage for a long time or not to limit thief rents especially against the working poor and the handicapped poor.

Abolish the social security penalties on excess earned income for senior citizens. It is right and it would start to live up to the need for moral values being preached from the president on down.

Even if this matter is not in their power, state and local lawmakers form the governor on down can make a difference by expressing their support.

Gabriel Apollo

To the Editor:

There are some very real and destructive problems with our nation's juvenile justice systems. Not only has the system itself failed miserably, but it has failed children in the process.

Once upon a time, we were a people of compassion. We sought understanding of complex social problems, like "What causes children to turn to crime and violence" and "What causes delinquency?" When it came to light that the obstacles of molded children were produced by a society of adults that failed them, we opted to dismiss our persistence to find answers.

Once upon a time, the criminal justice system-especially in the critical area of juvenile delinquency-was concerned with issues of education, prevention, therapy, and rehabilitation. Once upon a time, someone gave a damn.

Welcome to today. Today, troubled youth are punished, tried as adults, permanently yanked from society, shipped to adult prisons as raw bait and, in some cases, sent to death row. And all this because of a subsiding nation which has lost its humanity and, accordingly, become a manufacturer of criminals from birth...

Children, if you are abused, just be sure the abuse doesn't affect you. You could be considered rebellious.

When you are thrown out of your home, you shall not return to school. This may cause harm.

When daddy beats mommy, act like you don't see it. Your natural psychological response to this tragedy is now a felony.

Do not dare tell anyone what your gym teacher did to you behind the dumpsters. This would subject you to the hellish wrath of "the system" whose mission and intent is to mold you into a repeat offender. How else will they keep tabs on you?

Children are no longer our most valuable natural resource; political clout is. Venal politicians score points by vowing to "get tough" and throw the book at "youth thugs." Heartless prosecutors score points by placing kids into the savage adult system. "They deserve whatever they get!" Old-school judges score points by handing down unyielding sentences which surely will "send a message" to other potential thugs.

Every town has its right-wing nuts. What's really sad is the overwhelming public support for transforming the once-progressive department of juvenile justice into a heartless penal system.

Children are mirrors of the society which forms them. Beware.

"When you refused to help the least of these my brothers, you were refusing to help me." -Matthew 25:45

In Struggle,
Jeremy Ireland, 17


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