Shouldn’t be an issue

Well it seems as though another one of President Clinton’s nominees is being haunted by the past, except this time the past is not even his own but his father’s.

Earlier this month President Clinton nominated one who seemed to be the perfect man for the job, Gen. John Shalikashvili, to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Gen. Shalikashvili has served the United States of America for the past 35 years in a number of ways, most recently as the U.S. commander in NATO. He is a four-star general in the Army and has been described by his peers as a smart and tough solider.

Standing on his record, Gen. Shalikashvili should be a shoe- in for Senate confirmation but some people are not looking at his record; they’re looking at his father’s.

Uncovered over the weekend was the fact that Gen. Shalikashvili’s father served in a Nazi Waffen SS unit in World War II. According to writings in his father’s own hand, it appears that he collaborated with the Nazis throughout the war. This fact may not sit well with some, especially those who still remember the war a little too vividly, but these actions were Gen. Shalikashvili’s father’s, not his own. In fact Gen. Shalikashvili was only eight when his family immigrated to the United States.

In this country we should judge what a person is by what a person does not by what others in his family have done. Gen. Shalikashvili had no control over what his father did nor what his father believed in. Yet he did have control over the actions and choices in his own life and that covers the case for him quite sufficiently.

If the Senate recognizes these things, as they should, then Gen. Shalikashvili should have no trouble getting through confirmation and can get busy dealing with the bigger military problems we need him to.

One good aspect did come out of this. Despite all of the problems the Clinton administration has had in the past with nominations and with its tendency to run from the first sign of trouble, i.e. Loni Guneir, the administration did stand by this one.