House ResolutionYour editorial of Aug. 31 raised the very...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 30, 1993

House Resolution

Your editorial of Aug. 31 raised the very important question: Where is Congress on Somalia and Bosnia? I cannot speak for the Senate, but I know where the House is.

Back on May 25, after extensive deliberation and debate, the House of Representatives amended and adopted S.J. Res. 45, authorizing U.S. troops to participate in U.N.-sponsored operations in Somalia for 12 months.

Although Somalia was relatively calm back in May, the House was mindful of the potential for hostilities.

This legislation, now pending before the Senate, includes authorization for U.S. participation in combat operations in Somalia.

Consultation between Congress and the Executive Branch on matters relating to military deployments has rarely been as full, as complete, or as timely as Congress would like. But Congress is often silent when U.S. troops are deployed overseas.

In the case of Somalia, the House has not remained silent. We have spoken, and done so in support of U.S. participation in the U.N.'s Somalia effort.

On Bosnia, your editorial was correct to note a lack of extensive public deliberation in Congress. While we have had extensive private consultations and briefings from the Clinton administration, and several public hearings, few legislative vehicles have emerged in Congress on this subject, and the Clinton administration has made no legislative requests on it. This absence of debate is in part because U.S. military involvement in Bosnia thus far has been limited.

It is also due to the lack of consensus on the issue. It is my belief that public hearings examining administration policy would generate much emotion and heated argument but would not necessarily serve a useful purpose, especially at those times when negotiations were at a negotiated settlement, and divisive, unfocused or poorly prepared hearings or floor debate in Congress probably would not contribute to that goal.

It is my expectation that any further U.S. military involvement in Bosnia, including U.S. participation in a peace-keeping operation to implement a peace agreement among all the parties, would be preceded by extensive consultation with members of Congress, and active debate in Congress, including public hearings in my committee.

President Clinton has promised to seek congressional approval before committing U.S. peacekeeping troops to Bosnia, and I think he would be wise to seek such approval.

Lee H. Hamilton

Washington

The writer is chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Police Work Hard at Thankless Job

I am writing this letter in the spirit and belief that I am part of the silent majority of victims who, while not having totally good experiences with the justice system, owe many thanks to the lowly police officer.

In February 1981, my mother, Olga F. Hutchinson Lipton, was reported missing in Maryland, then found murdered in New Jersey, two weeks later.

Det. Wayne Murphy was assigned to the case. In hindsight, it was the best thing that would happened during this heinous time. He was a highly professional detective with a -- of unshakable persistance and a large measure of humanity.

When I hear of a bad cop I remember the outstanding qualities of Detective Murphy. I hope and pray there will always be police officers with his high standards.

My mother's case was ongoing for 10 years. During this time, of course, he had many heart-wrenching cases, such as the Jamie Griffin case. It made strong demands on his time, but his interest in Mom's case was always there.

After the initial investigation, his superiors in Baltimore County tried to discourage him from working on the Lipton case. Their feelings were that it was New Jersey's problem.

Detective Murphy continued to follow leads. He developed a relationship with an equally dedicated and professional policeman, Det. Norman Reeves from New Jersey. Their insatiable attention to details and interest in justice allowed my mother's case to come to a close with a guilty verdict in 1991 in New Jersey.

Det. Wayne Murphy helped us to understand the system as it is. In doing so, we were able to endure the 10 years that passed. They never made any promises and they always believed in the system.

I want everyone to know that in this time of questioning everything a police officer does, there are caring professionals like Det. Wayne Murphy and Norman Reeves, now a captain.

This is a job that demands superhuman responses 24 hours a day. Many deliver, some fail, but I say to all police: You have my deepest regards and eternal thanks.

Leslie A. Brocato

Baltimore

This letter was co-signed by other family members.

Rush to Judgment

Andrei Codrescu, as shown in the Sept. 20 op-ed piece called "Zombies," is a charming writer and one of my favorites, but he should get his facts straight before commenting in the political arena.

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