The Collegian : the weekly newspaper of Behrend College. (Erie, PA) 1989-1993, September 07, 1989, Image 6

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    Page 6
Drug War
Government Free To
Take Strong Action
Against Medellin
by Rob Farnham
Collegian Staff Writer
Recently, the strife between
the Colombian government and
that country's immensely
powerful Medellin drug cartel
escalated dramatically. In the
wake of a tough government
crackdown on traffickers, the drug
lords issued a rambling, arrogant
"declaration of war" against the
legitimate government and
society of Colombia. This
outright defiance and expression
of contempt was accompanied by
the bombing of government
agencies and police facilities,
especially in the Medellin
province from which the largest
of the drug clans operate.
In their manifesto, the drug
lords attempted to turn leftist
ideology to the justification of
their terroristic actions, claiming
that their campaign is intended to
bring down a corrupt government
and police system that exploits
and steals from the poor peasants
in rural areas and the urban
Such statements are laughable
in light of the cocaine producers'
immense wealth and resources,
and considering their distinctly
capitalistic interest in the
accumulation of material goods
such as vast estates, private
aircraft, and heavily armed
platoons of bodyguards and
enforcers. But ridiculous as it is,
such "power to the people"
sloganeering may appeal to the
resentments of the disenfranchised
and sway many Colombians,
especially in remote rural areas,
to support this war on the
The situation indeed looks
bleak for Colombia, so much so
that the nation's leaders appealed
directly to President Bush for
emergency military aid, which he
immediately granted in the form
of $65 million from a special
discretionary fund, promising that
more assistance will follow. C
-130s loaded with machine guns,
rocket-propelled grenades,
animunition, jeeps, and other
supplies have already been sent to
help fight this "war," though the
Colombians have declined offers
of American troop support to this
point. The assaults on legitimate
authority have continued, though
casualties have not been as high
as might have been feared, with
most of the damage occurring to
government buildings. However,
there are fears that mass
bloodshed may yet occur as the
cartel continues its efforts to
destabilize the authorities which
have interfered with its
Despite the ugliness of the
current circumstances, this "war"
offers a potential benefit for the
government against which it is
directed. Aside from the
additional resources which have
been placed at their disposal, the
"declaration of war" gives the
Colombians an opportunity to
substantially alter the rules in
their favor. The policies of a
country fighting a war against a
vicious aggressor, whether it is a
foreign nation or a hostile
internal faction, can be far
different from those of its police
agencies when dealing
, with
domestic criminals in a non
totalitarian society.
The advantage is this: In a
"war," • the military need not
concern itself with due process,
with rules' of evidence, or almost
any restrictions on its actions
against the enemy. With
military aid from the U.S. and
the full, unfettered force of the
Colombian military turned
against it, the drug cartel may
finally have overreached itself.
The possibilities for action are
multitudinous and formidable:
Paratroop raids on drug producers;
saturation bombings of the
estates of cartel leaders; ground
assaults on suspected distribution
centers; the use of antiaircraft
missiles against planes carrying
drugs out of the country. Military
strength might succeed where
police action has not.
There is, of course, a great
danger of the military becoming
intoxicated with power and
abusing such immense freedom
of action. The civilian
government will have to keep a
close watch on their forces until
the crisis is over. But despite
such dangers, this "war" is a great
opportunity to strike a mortal
blow to Colombia's drug empire.
And if that proves the case, they
will have brought disaster upon
themselves, for by declaring war
on legitimate Colombian society,
they have forfeited the protections
and rights that this same society
normally affords its members.
Butch's Freshman
by Rob Prindle
I'm back. The powers that be have decided to
let me expel my words of wisdom for yet another
semester. Oh, don't get me wrong, Joe Paterno
wasn't too happy about it, but Joe lost a bunch
of his pull at Penn State after last years traumatic
Coming back to campus was as enjoyable as
a good talk with an old friend, and, speaking of
old friends, I was glad to see that my pal Butch
made it back for another year.
I was happy to see him, that is, until I saw
that his pupils were dilated and his face was pale
white and his lips were blue. When Butch is in
one of those moods, it's best to avoid him for a
while. I hurried to the closest door, but after that
woman threw me out of the ladie's room, Butch
grabbed me by the bookbag and screamed:
"Punks. Damn wimps. Freshmen make me
want to puke-up my Lucky Charms breakfast
cereal, Rob."
"Those lazy no-goods come to our campus,
take all the parking spaces, and then they have
the nerve to walk around like they're all
"Freshwomen are the worst, though," he
continued. They walk around, or rather, they
prance around like little puppies acting like they
own the place. Rob, do you realize that when we
were in first grade these people were eating
strained carrots and spitting up? Who do they
think they are? Do you know that I actually heard
a couple of these young ladies giggling as they
exchanged middle names? That'is very strange,
Rob. And I mean that."
"Oh yeah, here's something else that ticks me
off. Most freshpeople do their homework. What
are those kiss-ups trying to prove anyway?"
"Rob, I'm going to tell you something that
you don't know about me: I'm a great judge et'
character. That's right, I can spot a freshstudent a
mile away. It's all in the eyes. It's that innocent
look. Do you know that most of those geeks
have never slept through a class, never lived for
weeks at a time on Tic-Tacs and Combos and
never wrote a complete research paper in just
under 20 minutes. I bet that the closest most of
them have come to an all-nighter was watching
David Letterman before they looked at their test
notes for half an hour."
"And don't even get me started about their
juvenile drinking habits. They think they're hot
stuff because they went to a few keg parties or
threw-up some Jack Daniels. Throwing-up is
easy. Holding it in through a 75 minute biology
lecture, now that's tough. And they've never
experienced the guilt of eating 2-for-1 wings and
drinking quarter drafts when their Hemingway
paper is due in 15 hours."
I had to stop my friend for a minute to
explain that being a freshman is a very difficult
thing. I asked him to show compassion and to
remember when he himself was a lowly first-year
student. I asked him to put himself in their shoes
for just a minute.
Freshmen start college with almost nothing
(and if they came from a high school around Erie
they probably start with even less). They don't
realize that just coming to school is the least of
their worries. In the next year they will have to
deal with an unintelligible financial aid system
(this year I got a letter that told me I was eligible
for a certain type of financial aid but they didn't
have any money to give me...thanks a lot guys),
unreliable scheduling, and non-uniform grading
systems that are actually harder to understand
than the course material.
The Collegian Thursday, September 7, 1989
"Yeah, but," interrupted Butch,
"your getting off the mark a little,
aren't you Rob? I'm talking about
those chunks of eyeball slime that
invade our campus every year, I
mean I'm still not over last years
freshmen and here they are again."
And if all that weren't enough, how about the
billing and advance registration schedules. During
the last month of this semester, just as everyone
is swamped with tons of class work, the Bursar
will mail his bills and around that same time the
new scheduling packets come out. It becomes
hard to make a new schedule when you don't
know if you are going to be able to pay for next
semester, much less pass for your current classes.
Fortunately, there are some really good things
about Behrend. It would be hard to ask for a
better looking campus. It would also be hard to
find a better group of profs. I appreciate that the
professors and not teaching assistants teach the
"Yeah, but," interrupted Butch, "your getting
off the mark a little, aren't you Rob? I'm talking
about those chunks of eyeball slime that invade
our campus every year, I mean I'm still not over
last years freshmen and here they are again. "
"Hey Rob, I'll tell you what . If you like
those dinks then you field the question the next
time one of them walks up to me and asks me
where the RUB desk is because I can't take it
anymore. In fact, the next time a freshman asks
me, I'm pointing .towards the gorge and telling
them 'lt might be a little hard to find, but its
down there.—
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