Baby Boomers and Vietnam WarAs the "baby boomers" reach...


October 02, 1992

Baby Boomers and Vietnam War

As the "baby boomers" reach for their rightful station in society, many want to question our birthright on the basis of one factor: Did you serve in your generation's war in Vietnam?

I did. And I believe that gives me the constitutional right to freely express my opinion.

In Vietnam, the U.S. lacked a policy to deal with the plight of the exploited people of southeast Asia. . . . Ho Chi Minh originally sought help from the U.S. but was turned away because the French had been our allies.

The lack of a vision in Washington cost over 58,000 American lives. It is safe to say that they didn't draft 18-year-old boys for their understanding of world policies. I now admire the few who had the intelligence, or insight, to question the apparatus I blindly served.

Only a fool would place himself on the wrong end of a loaded gun for fun. The very real prospect that you could die in the service of your country before you really lived was not a fool's thought.

Likewise, it was not foolish to believe your country needed you. It is foolish to believe that young men of that time made their choice without regard to the other choice.

Maturity may be considered as having learned from one's own experiences and then acting more wisely in future choices. In combat, the experience of being close to death cannot be denied as exhilarating in an otherwise mundane life. This is the opium passed from father to son.

It helps men with the illusion that they are manly. It blocks out the reality of the brutality that men are capable of inflicting upon other men, because that experience is lost to the consciousness of the nation.

Thus, rational decision-making gives way to national bravado and temper tantrums; the nation then fails to mature.

This nation's first generation of non-heroes is now ready to take the reins.

We found out that no one wanted to make movies of us.

No one wanted to listen to our stories.

We were never welcomed home by the nation.

We were losers not because my brethren didn't serve well, but because the policy was bad.

Tim Maginnis

Princess Anne

U.S. Apartheid

The Barry Rascovar column Sept. 13 is correct. The redrawing of election district lines was accomplished under a law passed by Congress which endorsed and directed an apartheid policy for the United States.

Slice it any way you wish, that is what demanding separatism because of race, religion or creed is all about. It is certainly not about integration and harmony. It is separatist law.

If it is wrong for South Africa it is just as wrong for America.

For the record, I supported opposition to this law in federal court in relation to Baltimore City redistricting in 1991 with a black constituent voter.

I believed then, as I do now, that Baltimore and Maryland should have tested the constitutionality of this law as apartheid law by refusing to blindly go along in lock step and by districting fairly and properly.

This apartheid law continues while we look the other way. It will haunt us and cause much grief before we have the courage to protest and eliminate this law that divides us.

Ross Z. Pierpont


Recession Requires Changes in Bank Rules

Thanks to a talk by a local banking official at a recent Baltimore Economic Society luncheon, the way into and out of the current recession is clear.

If the banks had been allowed the same latitude in 1989 as they had in 1980, we would have avoided the current crisis in lending, according to the speaker.

In the late '70s and early '80s, when the large money center banks were confronted with a crisis concerning loans to developing countries, that did not lead to massive failures and a severe recession.

After overbuilding in some commercial real estate markets (particularly Texas) and mostly involving local and regional banks, new federal banking regulations devalued real estate loans and caused billions of dollars of loans to be reclassified as non-performing loans.

This meant that some loans were called, some loans were written off or the capital reserve was increased, causing banks ,, to reduce lending dramatically and others to be acquired by the Resolution Trust Corp. or Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

On the surface this may have looked both prudent and responsible. In retrospect, it was clearly neither.

By declaring a $10 million loan non-performing, the bank was forced to increase the loan reserve perhaps by the loan amount or write off the loan, or the borrower had to repay the full loan.

This meant that an otherwise solvent borrower would be forced into bankruptcy, a bank would lose its interest income or an otherwise healthy bank would be taken over.

Today the banks that have survived are flush with capital. But most of that capital has been used to increase stock prices (not investment), increase cash reserves or invest in safe Treasury notes. That capital should go back to businesses as loans so that business can invest.

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