What is it good for?
To be a responsible (or overly serious and self-impressed) newspaper editor, you have to occasionally write about things like war.And since I seem to be the lone liberal light in a vast, dark sea of conservatism when it comes to my local rag-editing peers, I should probably take that responsibility more seriously and be more self-impressed as a result.But somehow I just can’t get over the notion that for state, national and international news, most of the highly educated readers in this valley turn to the Denver papers, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Internet, news magazines, television, or all of the above.So who cares what the editors of the local puppy trainers think about what is either deemed our impending invasion of Iraq or some serious saber-rattling designed to scare Saddam into spending the rest of his life on the French Riviera?Just in case the local papers are your sole source of global information (and you really should start reading other papers once you’re released from the institution), then here’s how I feel about the looming “war,” all condensed in one terribly long-winded paragraph:It’s the wrong war at the wrong time because we already have Iraq boxed in with no-fly zones; it will divert us from the war on terrorism and the growing threat in North Korea; we have zero international support; a conventional conflict flies in the face of our new strategy of fomenting local opposition and backing it up with covert operations (worked like a charm in Afghanistan); it is viewed internationally and to a lesser degree domestically as our president avenging his father’s honor in a blatant oil grab that will only sow the seeds of more terrorism; and it’s bad for the ski industry.There, you now have my anti-war arguments in a nutshell, and you’re free to ridicule them (and me) at your own leisurely pace (email@example.com).The last argument on the list, and likely the most shallow, gets to the heart of my news philosophy as the editor of a Vail-area paper. To me, everything boils down to skiing and the environment.It was recently suggested to me that too many of the stories in The Vail Trail focus on those two subjects, but I submit that without skiing or the surrounding natural beauty of this place, none of us would be here.Everything we write about development, crime, social issues and the local economy has the common denominator of how it impacts or relates to the environment that drives our tourism, real estate and ski industries.So yeah, I don’t want us to go to war in Iraq because I want the state ski industry to thrive. Make a good case that Saddam financed 9/11 or has a nuke and a way to deliver it to the United States, and maybe I’ll change my tune.Until then, the headlines in this paper will read: “Powder day in Vail! (World War III breaks out, see page 83)”David O. Williams is managing editor of The Vail Trail and has been an editor and writer in the Vail Valley for more than 10 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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