Madison County Opinion...

FEBRUARY 19, 2003


Column
By Frank Gillespie
The Madison County Journal
February 19, 2003

Frankly Speaking
Good cop, bad cop
I am sure all of you are familiar with the good cop, bad cop routine so often displayed in TV crime dramas. In the scene, a suspect is being questioned. The bad cop comes in with threats, intimidation and dire warnings if the suspect does not talk. After he leaves to answer a phone call, the good cop tries to comfort the suspect, offering him a cigarette and coffee. The good cop tells the suspect that he is doing all he can to help him, but there is little he can do unless the guy “comes clean.”
It appears to me that Bush and his allies are using this technique on Saddam Hussein. America is coming across as the “bad cop,” threatening military invasion, devastating attacks and other dire warnings unless Iraq agrees to confess their “weapons of mass destruction,” reveal their locations and destroy them in public.
On the other side, Russia and others are playing the “good cops.” They are telling Saddam that they are trying to keep the U.S from attacking, but he has to come clean and cooperate with the inspectors.
Now, if this trick is played out carefully, it might work. Saddam might be convinced that he cannot win this conflict and agree to one of the offers of asylum. That would give him a chance to follow the examples of Jimmy Carter and Mikhail Gorbachev and recreate himself as a shaper of world opinion but without any real political power.
However, if Saddam continues on his path of defiance, the allies have no choice but to force him to disarm by military action. That would require removing him from office by what ever means necessary, even if it ends in his death.
But there is a fly in the soup. France, for some reason, has decided to obstruct the plan. They are giving unqualified support to Saddam and his criminal government. Every statement from Paris appears designed to boost his determination to hold out against world opinion. France, in its misguided efforts to prevent war, is making it more likely that war will be necessary.
Saddam will be removed from office and his weapons of mass destruction will be destroyed. If the good cop, bad cop routine works, it will be done without massive casualties to Iraq’s military and economy. If it fails, thousands of Iraqis and a handful of allies will die. And their deaths will be on the hands of the French obstructionists.
Frank Gillispie is founder of The Madison County Journal. His web page can be accessed at www.mcga.net. His e-mail address is frankg@mcga.net.

Column
By Margie Richards
The Madison County Journal
February 19, 2003

A Moment With Margie
A different kind of compensation
Early last Thursday morning my husband Charles and I were awakened by a phone call from our niece, Deserree.
A phone call in the middle of the night seldom carries good news, and this one was no exception. Her house was on fire.
Knowing she and her husband and small children had made it out of the home and were out of danger made our drive there a little less frightening, but we were still apprehensive about what we would find when we arrived at the scene.
What we found was a field and roadside full of fire trucks and other vehicles. It was amazing that so many had left their own warm beds and arrived at the scene so quickly. Volunteer firemen from Colbert, Hull and Comer were on the scene, racing here and there with water hoses, ladders and other equipment trying to reach the flames glowing just under the metal roof.
It was a valiant effort.
Despite my distress at watching the destruction of the beautiful home Deserree and Tony had built and designed with their own hands, I couldn’t help but be struck by the fact that so many of their — of our — neighbors, friends and community members were there, not because they were being paid to do so, but because they were doing a job they had volunteered to do, sometimes at risk to their own lives.
The firefighters on the scene had left their own warm homes on a freezing cold night to come there and do what they could to save someone else’s.
And their compensation comes not from a pay check, but from the feeling they get when they save a life, or a home, or even a few pictures and other items that mean the world to someone.
You can’t put a price tag on that.
Most had another job to go to the following day, but they were in no hurry to leave there until that job was done and they were certain the fire was out.
Some of them stayed until after daylight, checking and re-checking the scene.
Since that day, many more people have come by to offer a hand to Deserree and Tony and their three precious small children, helping them cover their home from further damage, gather supplies, salvage what they can from the house and settle into a temporary home nearby.
No one in this county should take for granted what we have here.
I’ve seen it many times over the years as part of my job, and as a resident here I’ve benefitted from the kindness of this community on more than one occasion.
I saw it again last week. And it makes me proud of this community.
So many came together last week to help a young family — part of my family — that was struck by tragedy. Without your help, I don’t know what they would have done that night.
And your concern and prayers since then have meant more to them, and to all their extended family, than you will ever know.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for the Madison County Journal.

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