Dyson's dilemma

September 14, 1990

The old maxim that history repeats itself rings with a kind of stinging irony now for Roy Dyson, the embattled congressman from Maryland's 1st District who pulled off one more primary victory Tuesday. Though Dyson's recent record is tinged with ethical conflict, the latest hoopla has focused on the hypocrisy of the congressman's strident, hawkish votes in light of the fact, which he tried to conceal, that he had received conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War.

Now comes the massive U.S. troop deployment in the Persia Gulf and a surge of applications from enlisted men and women for CO status in this conflict, too. We suggest that all such calls be referred to Congressman Dyson who -- despite his own CO status -- apparently has no qualms about sending other people's sons and daughters off to fight in the desert.

Dyson said he sought CO status not because of any religiou beliefs but purely because of his opposition to U.S. involvement in Vietnam. In that case, he has painted himself into a corner. How can Dyson explain to today's recruits why it was OK for him to pick and choose which wars he would support back then, but not OK for them to do the same now?

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