THE MAJORITY VIEW overstates the Khadafy problem and misses the point. The point is disproportion: what Khadafy's bombthrowers did is minor, should be treated as minor, and probably would be treated as minor if it were not for a media fixated on terrorism. Twenty or 30 Americans are killed in five or six terrorist incidents, and the press brings the emotions of the American people to a boil. But in world politics and in the lives of Americans, Khadafy's bombers have changed little but airline and hotel reservations. To put Khadafy's murders in perspective: more than 1000 Americans are murdered on the streets of New York City every year; the press and the desensitized man in the street react with tired indifference.
The President reacted to the public uproar with a bombing that seems to have accomplished nothing but filling a few more coffins. It didn't topple Khadafy, and it won't even put a dent in terrorism. The United States and its leaders don't have inexhaustible attention, effort, and resources. They shouldn't waste what little they have on a miniscule, tough-to-solve, technicolor problem when so many staggering, but low-profile, problems being neglected. There would be fewer graves to dig if Reagan and the press realized that it is their responsibility to focus attention on and find solutions to the most serious problems their country faces, not to make a mountain out of a mole hill and then bomb it.