U.S. MUST PROTECT, AID CIVILIANS IN WAR ZONE

October 16, 2001 11:00 pm

No one wanted to see the headline this past weekend about an errant bomb killing civilians in Afghanistan.

A Navy F-18 accidentally dropped a 2,000-pound bomb Saturday in a residential neighborhood of Kabul, killing four people and wounding eight others, the wire service reported.

The U.S. war effort in Afghanistan was not supposed to turn out that way. Our military effort is directed at stopping Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida terrorist network. Bombing of strategic sites has been going on for more than a week.

The F-18 aircraft missed its intended target, a military helicopter at a Kabul airport a mile away. Instead, the satellite-guided, one-ton bomb was dropped into a group of houses.

Killing innocent people in Afghanistan will never be the U.S. militarys intention. We can all pray that there will not be any more civilians killed in Afghanistan or anywhere else where the war against terrorism takes us. But realistically well probably see more innocent people die in coming weeks and months. Accidents, misfires and human errors will occur, as sad as that may be.

Americans must be as intentional about helping the people of Afghanistan as pursuing the war on terrorists. U.S. cargo planes dropped hundreds of food packets last weekend over a desert area near the Tajikistan border. President Bush is also asking that every American child donate $1 for the Afghan children's fund.

The U.S. is not an evil empire, intent on killing or injuring innocent people or engaging in a holy war. Our goal is to see that Afghanistan people be protected and nourished and make it through the war. Bush is asking Americans to be tolerant of Muslims and their faith.

We must show the world that we play by much different rules than the terrorists, who didnt blink twice when they killed more than 5,000 innocent people in our buildings and airliners on Sept. 11. The message must be clear. Well do whats necessary to smoke out the terrorists and put them out of business. But well also be seeking to protect and help the innocent who are found in the crossfire of this war.

WERSATILITY IN RANKS

Eastern Oregon University has once again pulled someone from out of its teaching faculty to fill an important leadership position.

Burr Betts, a long-time biology professor at Eastern, has been named interim provost and vice president of academic affairs. He joins the ranks of other former faculty members who have assumed leadership responsibilities at Eastern, including Dennis Swanger and Michael Jaeger.

Its a sign of a capable and versatile faculty when teachers not only are able to do their jobs well in the classroom, but are able to fill key administrative positions when asked.