2002-03-23 / Columnists

On The Beach… With Beverly Baxter

With all that is going on in the world in the Middle East, with our continued efforts against terrorism in Afghanistan and with the very real possibility of imminent attacks on U.S. soil, the looming crisis of abuse against minors in the Catholic Church and within other faiths, it is rather difficult to feel optimistic about anything. Here are just some of my thoughts for whatever redeeming value they may or may not have!

 ***With regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I have to agree with New York Times Columnist Tom Friedman that in order to accomplish any shred of movement toward peace in the Middle East, we need to deploy U.S. ground troops to protect the most sensitive areas. Perhaps the plan is rather courageous; however, I believe that a third party, US, would have to intervene. There has been much too much bloodshed coupled with a lack of trust, on both sides, and it has become apparent that Yasser Arafat is unable to control the extremists.

***As for deploying ground troops in Iraq, even with the support of Saudi Arabia, I believe that we would need a firmer coalition; however, if we do not in some more profound way intervene between the Israelis and Palestinians, it is unlikely that we would be able to shore up support for an Iraqi invasion. We need to go into Iraq, with the help of our friends, form a constabulary, and rid the world of Saddam Hussein. If we were to go it alone, would we be prepared to take as many casualties that it would take to accomplish the mission?

***I do not believe that the Justice Department made the right decision to indict Andersen. There are nearly 100,000 employees worldwide, who had nothing to do with the shredding of documents and obstruction of justice, whose futures would be directly impacted by the imminent demise of a company like Andersen. Rather than rock the financial world with the fall of companies like Andersen and Enron, I think that indictments should be brought against the individuals, many of whom are top echelon executives, who were directly culpable and had all to gain by their involvement.

***I have to agree with the esteemed Pat Buchanan when he says that with the nearly eleven and a half million illegal aliens who reside among us, America has become an international "flop-house". We need an entire overhaul of the I.N.S. It is absolutely outrageous, and the height of bureaucracy run amok, that student visas were approved and sent six months after the terrorists slammed our planes into the WTC killing 3,000 people.

***Why won't President Bush allow Tom Ridge, Director of Homeland Security, to go to Capitol Hill to testify? Is it a matter of security? Should we be informed about what the department's function is and the progress that is being made? Or is President Bush keeping his small fraternity close to his vest?

***With the torrent of allegations of sexual abuse of children by Priests in
the Catholic Church, as well as the allegation of sexual abuse by a Cantor of an Upper East Side Synagogue, I am fervently relieved that the veil of

Secrecy is being lifted and that the truth is coming out. A crime is a crime, and it should not be brushed under the carpet or bought off with a substantial settlement bribe. I do not believe that church leaders have kept
quiet to protect the priests as so much as they have kept quiet to protect the reputation of the church itself. Regardless of the intent, crimes such
as these against children should not go unpunished. Children become victimized twice. Once by the abuse itself, and then again by secrecy and denial. These acts are not only a sin, but rather, they are CRIMES. Nearly a BILLION DOLLARS have been paid out to victims in exchange for their silence.

I hope that sexual abuse continues to come out from beneath the covers and that by dealing with and confronting the issue head-on, some kind of redeeming good will come out of it. The hierarchy of the church is responsible for the protection of the children in their charge.

***Don't forget to reserve your tickets for the Chamber of Commerce Bravest and Finest Awards Luncheon on April 11 from 12:30 til 3pm. This year, due to the anticipation of nearly 500 people attending, the chamber will host the event at Russo's on the Bay. Special Awards to honor heroes from 9/11 will go to officers from the 100 and 101 Precincts as well as Battalion 47. Governor Pataki has been invited as the Key Note Speaker. Call the chamber for details.

*** To everything, turn, turn, turn.. There is a season...." To get you in the mood for the renewal and rebirth of spring, take notice of the many yellow daffodils that have been planted by the garden clubs, each with a prayer, as they bloom around our town.

   See you...On the Beach!


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