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This is Texas today. A state full of Sunbelt boosters, strident anti-unionists, oil and gas companies, nuclear weapons and power plants, political hucksters, underpaid workers and toxic wastes, to mention a few. Al ….J \\_.. , 4. ‘”,-. Q ‘ 1′ Ar … 4!” BUT ft …b ri i6 -24 DO NOT rwir DESPAIR! ,-.g . pr im , THE TEXAS -, server ip TO SUBSCRIBE Name Address City State -. Zip, $32 enclosed for a one -year subscription. .Bill me for $32. 307 West 7th, Austin, TX 78701 HE MADDENING THING about ter rorists is that they are indiscriminate in their acts of vengeance, or cries for atten tion, or whatever it is they think they are accom plishing, right? They don’t care who they kill: a tourist passing through the Rome airport at Christmas; anyone who happened to be on that plane over Lockerbie, Scotland; a harmless old man in a wheelchair. Passers-by when the car bomb goes off, innocent bystanders anywhere, the dead horses of the queen’s guard they had nothing to do with Palestinian liberation or South Moluccan independence or Tamil rights or Northern Ireland. How many people who were in the World Trade Center when it was bombed had ever so much as heard of Sheik Omar AbdelRahman, much less of whatever grievances he may have against the government of Egypt? Perhaps that is what the terrorists think is the victims’ crime: that they don’t know. Perhaps the accusation behind terrorist acts is: “You don’t see me; you don’t even notice my pain.” But in a world full of pain and trouble, even the professionally compassionate are hard put to keep up with it all. We know that whole peoples are being wronged the Bosnian Muslims, the Kurds, the Palestinians. But no sane person accepts even such awful suffering as a legitimate excuse for killing those who have no involvement in it. It is not only cruel to die for something with which you have had nothing to do; it is insulting to one’s humanity, to whatever one has tried to make one’s life stand for. To be killed without regard to whether you are dedicating your life to finding a cure for AIDS or helping the homeless or volunteering at the Humane Society is such a profound denial of individuality. What is true for individuals like that set of morally deficient characters making the “witches’ brew” in New York City recently must also be true of nations. The United States decided to take vengeance because we had “incontrovertible proof’ that Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency laid a plot to assassinate George Bush. So we bombed Baghdad. Anyone who has been reading the Reuters Molly Ivins, a former Observer editor, is a columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. dispatches from that city knows as if we had not known before that “surgical Strikes” and “smart bombs” are pure fantasy. At least six people were killed in one suburb of Baghdad, including a prominent Iraqi artist and her husband. That’ll teach ’em, eh? Don’t tread on us. We’ll kill your artists. “Ah, but it’s different when nations do it,” cry our eternal hawks. Is it? The columnist William Safire, one of our more bloodthirsty brethren, is upset because we didn’t hit Iraqi President Saddam Hussein harder. We didn’t hit Saddam at all. We killed an artist and five other suburbanites with bad luck. And no accurate count yet from the other parts of Baghdad. “Not the same thing” as terrorism? Really? What “an eye for an eye” has always resulted in is a lot of eyeless people. There’s an old game called, “What would you do if you ruled the world?” I’m so dubious about power that my best response is, “Have everyone use their turn signals to indicate a lane change.” And that’s with the understanding that massive confusion will result when half the drivers of the world forget to turn the damn signals off again. A thoughtful friend of mine, playing the game not long ago, replied, “I’d give everyone amnesia.” Amnesia? “Yeah, amnesia. So no one would remember why they hate anyone else. The Croats and the Serbs and the Bosnians wouldn’t remember. The Palestinians and the Israelis wouldn’t remember. Everyone would forget why they hate anyone else.” Not a bad platform, amnesia. A person could run on that. Until that happy day when we develop an amnesia pill \(probably have to be more like we’d do better to follow that sage old bit of wisdom, “Put you money where your mouth is,” which is known in government circles as setting priorities. If you want peace, study peace, pay for peace. Quit sending missiles and put the money into something like the Center for the Study of Conflict Resolution. Let’s assume the six suburbanites in Baghdad had two children each. That’s 12 new enemies this country has. And they aren’t likely to get amnesia. MOLLY IVINS Smart Bombs and Terrorism 4′ JULY 16, 1993