Looking Back reviews opinions published in The Spokesman-Review during this week in history.
Sputnik, Oct. 9, 1957
An S-R editorial responded to the news that the Soviet Union had successfully launched Sputnik, the first satellite to circle Earth.
“Critics of the Eisenhower administration have lost no time in demanding explanations why the Soviet Union, rather than the United States, was the first to launch a successful globe-circling satellite. The president himself is expected to make some statements on that subject today.”
It continued: “We certainly ought to be concerned with American progress in this field of space travel and what it means to our own national security and the preservation of our free institutions on this planet. We ought to recognize the Russian scientific accomplishment without depreciating our own efforts, which are little known to the general public. And we ought to be aware of ways in which the communists have already begun to make prime propaganda capital out of their success to date.
It concluded: “Americans ought to be leery of this line of propaganda from Moscow. We do have a substantial air defense that is not going to be obsolete overnight and is not going to be scuttled because of one successful test flight of a potential new weapon. The United States must maintain a strong air defense with manned aircraft while it also steps up its missile development.”
Afghanistan war, Oct. 8, 2001
An S-R editorial responded to the U.S. attacks launched in Afghanistan.
“Compassionate, even in war. How often, on history’s bloody stage, has food for war’s refugees fallen from the sky along with bombs? It was after World War II that Americans rebuilt Europe and Japan. Then, valiant military leaders such as Gen. Douglas MacArthur set weapons aside and laid foundation stones of goodwill and democracy amid rubble they had helped create.
“Under the leadership of President George W. Bush and his foreign policy team, the United States launched a war to build international peace at the same time it launched its war to destroy terrorism and those who sponsor it.
“Americans of every persuasion ought to take pride in this. Our highest values, justice and compassion, are both embodied in the struggle now under way on our behalf. Little wonder that Americans have rallied to the president’s support with approval margins that have ranged as high as 95 percent.
“But it is not the opinion polls that guide our president’s strategy. Nor should it be. Rather, he is simply striving, borne up by a nation’s prayers, to do the right thing. It is justice that he seeks.
“Justice requires the military action that began Sunday. Just as it would be immoral to let a serial killer run free in our neighborhoods so he could kill again, so too would it have have been immoral not to stamp out terrorism.”
It continued: “From the beginning, President Bush has emphasized that our fight is not with Islam, a religion the terrorists have perverted into an excuse for the slaughter of innocents. He has now underscored his words with deeds.”
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