Several readers have criticized REASON's investigative series on anti-Soviet freedom fighters, written by Jack Wheeler, on the grounds that the implicit message of these articles is that US taxpayers' money should be spent to assist these groups. Reasonable people can disagree on such a question of foreign policy, but our objective is simply to let people know, first-hand, about this new phenomenon—of valiant, patriotic people risking everything to free their homelands from Soviet imperialism. This new kind of liberation movement, as Wheeler has been documenting, ranges from Nicaragua and Angola to Afghanistan and Cambodia.
But for readers opposed to government aid to these freedom-fighters, there are private, voluntary alternatives. We have previously mentioned the efforts of the Caribbean Commission (732 North Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70802). This group aids the families of Nicaragua's anti-Sandinista rebels by providing basic items such as soap and toothpaste.
Now we've learned of the Sponsor-a-Guerrilla project of the Khmer People's National Liberation Front. (KPNLF is the subject of the cover story in this issue, the latest in Jack Wheeler's series.) Borrowing a leaf from Save the Children's book, the KPNLF allows an individual to sponsor a specific member of its anti-Soviet force. For $10 a month, a freedom-fighter can be provided with two uniforms, a knapsack, shoes, socks, hammock, etc. And the KPNLF promises to send a photo of the sponsored guerrilla and a letter of thanks. (KPNLF, c/o Kok Sar, P.O. Box 22-25, Ramintra Post Office, Bangkok 10110, Thailand.)
Last month's cover story on the struggle of space transportation entrepreneurs against NASA's monopoly has also prompted some critical comment, to the effect that REASON shouldn't be attacking the space agency because "it's the only space program we've got" and private enterprise will eventually prevail anyway, once NASA has laid all the groundwork. I can understand the emotions underlying this criticism; I count myself as an ardent, lifelong space enthusiast. As the "Space Entrepreneurs" story was in final editing, in fact, I was at Cape Canaveral, just after the successful November Shuttle mission. Reliving the first flight of the Columbia on the huge IMAX screen and in incredible Dolby sound at the Kennedy Space Center brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Even there, however, I reminded myself that as magnificent an achievement as the Shuttle is, in isolation, NASA's determination to make it the monopoly space transportation system is not in the best interest of healthy development of space. So long as NASA remains in control, distorting the economics of space development, venture capitalists will get the wrong signals about the true costs and rewards of going into space, as the article argued.
Back in 1979, Bob Poole and I were devastated when REASON's art director at the time, Don Wood, announced that he was bowing out of the free-lance job to pursue his heart's desire—illustrating children's books. (Poole and Wood and I were all of REASON's staff at the time.) But REASON survived—and Don has prospered in an arena in which it is very difficult to make it. In the intervening years, several of his works have been displayed at the New York Museum of Fine Art. And in December his latest book won the kudos of the New York Times, which named it one of the 10 best illustrated children's books of 1984. The Napping House (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich), was a joint effort by Don and his wife, Audrey, who wrote the text. We never thought we'd be glad Don left REASON…but it's such a pleasure to see a friend do well.
The letters have been streaming in from readers taking us to task for doing the investigation of Texas's spree with industrial development bonds ("How the Rich Get Richer in Texas," Dec.). Some of the letters, and an editorial reply, can be found on page 8 of this issue.
Correction: In John McCarthy's review of Weapons and Hope in the December issue, it was incorrectly stated that Helen Caldicott was the founder of the antinuclear group Physicians for Social Responsibility. This was an error on the part of REASON's editors, not Professor McCarthy. Caldicott, the author of the new book Missile Envy, is very active in PSR but was not a founder.
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Notes".