,, 1, lit Ma Ili l II IH I 11 1111111111111N1 II TEDBSERvER The Texas Observer Publishing Co.. 1985 Ronnie Dugger. Publisher Vol. 77, No. 8 April 19, 1985 Incorporating the State Observer and the East Texas Democrat, which in turn incorporated the Austin Forum-Advocate. EDITOR Geoffrey Rips ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave Denison EDITOR AT LARGE Ronnie Dugger CALENDAR EDITOR Chula Sims EDITORIAL INTERNS: Hanno T. Beck, Kathleen Fitzgerald, Terri Langford, Wendy Parker, Lawrence Reichard WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Al Watkins LAYOUT AND DESIGN: Alicia Daniel EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD: Frances Barton, Austin,; Elroy Bode, Kerrville; Chandler Davidson, Houston; Bob Eckhardt. Washington, D.C.; Sissy bridge, Mass.; Lawrence GoOdwyn, Durham. N.C.; George Hendrick, Urbana, III.; Molly Ivins, Dallas; Larry L. King, Washington, D.C.; Maury Maverick. Jr.. San Antonio; Willie Morris. Oxford. Miss.: Kaye Northcott, Austin; James Fred Schmidt, Tehachapi. Cal., Robert Sherrill, Tallahassee, Fla. CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Warren Burnett, Nina Butts, Jo Clifton, Craig Clifford, John Henry Faulk. Ed Garcia. Bill Helmer, Jack Hopper, Amy Johnson, Laurence Jolidon, Mary Lenz, Matt Lyon. Rick Piltz, Susan Raleigh, John Schwartz. Michael Ventura, Lawrence Walsh. CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS: Alan Pogue. Russell Lee, Scott Van Osdol, Alicia Daniel. CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: Mark Antonuccio, Eric Avery, Torn Ballenger. Jeff Danziger, Beth Epstein, Dan Hubig, Pat Johnson, Kevin Kreneck, Carlos Lowry, Miles Mathis. Joe McDermott. Ben Sargent, Dan Thibodeau. A journal of free voices We will serve no group or party but will hew hard to the truth as we find it and the right as we see it. We are dedicated to the whole truth, to human values above all interests, to the rights of humankind as the foundation of democracy; we will take orders from none but our own conscience, and never will we overlook or misrepresent the truth to serve the interests of the powerfill or cater to the ignoble in the human spirit. Writers are responsible for their own work, but not for anything they have not themselves written, and in publishing them we do not necessarily imply that we agree with them because this is a journal of free voices. Managing Publisher Advertising & Development Director Subscription Manager Circulation Assistant Consultant Cliff Olofson Dana Loy Alicia Daniel Stefan Wanstrom Frances Barton Editorial and Business Office 600 West 7th Street, Austin, Texas 78701 The Texas Observer at Austin, Texas. Subscription rates, including 5 1/8% sales tax: one-year S23, two years $42, three years S59. One year rate for full-time students, S15. Back issues S2 prepaid. Airmail, foreign, group, and bulk rates on request. Microfilm editions available from University Microfilms Intl., 300 N. Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106. Copyright 1985 by Texas Observer Publishing Company. All rights reserved. Material may not be reproduced without permission. POSTMASTER: Send form 3579 to: 600 West 7th Street, Austin. Texas 78701. 2 APRIL 19, 1985 EDITORIAL Honduran Folly WHEN ASKED at a recent press conference why he was going to Honduras to meet with the Texas National Guard units sent there for Big Pine III, Governor Mark White said that one reason was “to let them know the importance of their mission. If this mission is so much more important than National Guard training exercises in Europe, then White should have never let the Texas units be assigned to Honduras to take part in a mission obviously designed to increase pressure on the Nicaraguan government and to stir up the already volatile elements of the Central American stew. On April 7, NBC News reported that the Texas Guard was within view of the Nicaraguan border and armed with live ammunition. There are reports that White was forced into sending the Texas units by earlier unauthorized decisions by lower-ranking officials, including the former adjutant general of the Texas National Guard. There were reports that White was looking for a way out, for some provocation to prevent his sending the troops. The constitutional crisis in Honduras and Reagan’s escalating rhetoric provided sufficient provocation. But White did not seize the chance to extricate Texas lives from this hemispheric tinderbox. Instead, he took the opportunity to extricate himself from domestic difficulties by allying himself with military adventurism abroad. Usually only Presidents get such opportunities. White is also making the most of this opportunity to make an appearance as a leader in a foreign hotspot. While he and Lt. Gov. Hobby made light of the adventure prior to White’ departure, Congressional leader Jim Wright, D-Fort Worth, voiced his concern for the safety of Texans in Honduras. While White and Hobby made light of the adventure, Jim Wright voiced his concern for the safety of Texans in Honduras. If White is thinking of this event as a venue for showing off -his foreign policy skills in an effort to promote his stock for future national office, then his skills have been found to be sadly wanting. Not only has he never addressed the substantive issues involved in the Big Pine III exercises Are they destabilizing? What or whom do they serve? What is their effect on Honduras? Nicaragua? the U.S. in world opinion? but he has also jeopardized lives under his command in order to go along with a Reagan initiative doomed to eventual failure. “I think the President is entitled to the support of everyone,” White said in Honduras. Of such things political capital should never be made. To compound his mishandling of this affair, White ordered a news embargo on his trip. When that failed, White told a reporter that the embargo had been employed because “it’s just good policy.” The reporters accompanying White on his trip will be briefed at every step by U.S. military and National Guard spokespeople. This does not make for what might be called even-handed journalism. When a reporter asked White
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