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September 25, 2001 - Image 4

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-25

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4 --The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 25, 2001

OP/ED

tbe lfiri gu a id

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, M148109
daily.letters@umich.edu

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

GEOFFREY GAGNON
Editor in Chief
MICHAEL GRASS
NICHOLAS WOOMER
Editorial Page Editors

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
We hope that these
brothers will be the first
martyrs in the battle of
Islam in this era against
the new Jewish and
Christian crusader
campaign that is led by
the Chief Crusader
Bush under the banner
of the cross."
- From afax sent to the Qatari-
based news station Al Jazeera regarding the
killing of three anti-U.S. demonstrators in
Pakistan and attributed to Osama bin Laden.

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily's
editorial board. All other articles, letters and cartoons do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

QtN'
/Kl !
tint 1SP"E?!

I

Giving war a chance

PETER CUNNIFFE

ONE FOR THE ROAD

4

W hile most of
the nation
supports the
"war on terrorism" that
our leaders have
declared, there are
some, especially around
here, who couldn't wait
for the first shot to be
fired before they started
second guessing this course of action.
I understand why some people are
uncomfortable with the "war" we'll soon
be embarking upon. Wars are dangerous
and costly things where people who don't
deserve to get hurt always do. In past con-
flicts, the United States has certainly
proven it can fail to distinguishing
between combatants and civilians, govern-
ments and innocent bystanders. And lis-
tening to our unelected president tell us
with a straight face that we are doing this
for democracy makes me want to wretch.
But whatever one thinks of our history
or the legitimacy of our leaders, it could
not be more clear that our coming fight
against terrorism is a just and necessary
one.
What we face in the fanatics we are
hunting is a group of people who want to,
destroy all of us, peacenik and warmonger
alike. Almost every nation on earth will
overtly support us or not lift a finger to
stop us because they understand that
Osama bin Laden and those like him pose
a threat to everyone. They know that
unless they all want to live in terror, there
is little choice but war.
Some ask why, if this was perpetrated
by only a small group, we should contem-
plate doing something as drastic as a large
scale bombing of another nation. Simple:
Because the nation in question,.
Afghanistan, is complicit in what hap-
pened in New York and Washington. They
have allowed a wanted terrorist, whose '
previous crimes (bombing our embassies)
have been proven in courts, to operate ter-
rorist training camps to teach people how
to kill Americans and anyone else they
dislike. And when asked to turn over a
man who, with his followers, had orches-
trated mass murder, their responses was
"we can't hand bin Laden over to non-
Muslims," followed by "we'll ask him to
leave by himself" and now, "sorry, can't

find him."
'Extradition of members of a group that
has killed thousands of our citizens and
has every intention of doing so again is a
perfectly reasonable request that there
shouldn't be much need for negotiation on.
We have made that request through several
channels and we have given them time.
The United States made pretty clear on
Sept. 11, who we thought was responsible
and Afghanistan has now had two weeks
to turn them over for this crime, to say
nothing of the crimes (the African
embassy bombings) that Afghanistan
should have turned them over for years
ago anyway.
But, of course, by Afghanistan, .I mean
the Taliban, the gang of thugs who run
most of the country. We have every reason
to attack and remove them from power.
What terrorists did to us is nothing com-
pared to what the Taliban have done to
their own people and whether the events of
Sept. had happened or not, we would be
fully justified in liberating the Afghans
from them. What bothers some, as it
should, is the fact that innocent people in
Afghanistan will die in our now almost
certain attacks. I'm sure we can expect the
Taliban to follow the lead of Saddam Hus-
sein and herd civilians into every area they
think we'd go after to try to inflame senti-
ment against us.
It's probably an unsatisfying answer,
but we'll just have to try our best to avoid
killing civilians and accept that some will
die whether because of our mistakes or the
Taliban's intentions. That sounds cold to
some, but the price of doing nothing is our
own civilian deaths on a much larger
scale. If things keep going the way they
are, eventually a terrorist group will get
hold of a chemical, biological or perhaps
even a nuclear weapon and as they have
shown, they will only be too eager to kill
the innocent. Six thousand slaughtered
people is child's play compared to what
they would and so eagerly desire to do to
us.
There are those in this country who
believe American deaths and insecurity are
our just deserts for our own misdeeds. The
rightness or wrongness of elements of our
foreign policy is debatable, but the wrong-
fulness of terrorism is not. Anyone whose
response to what happened two weeks ago

was, "that's too bad, but we deserved it,"
is a moral degenerate. To intentionally kill
thousands of innocent people is, to employ
the overused but accurate term, evil. This
is not some conflict where we can argue
about the merits of one side or the other
and good people can disagree about who is
right or wrong. We were wronged.
So what do we do? Everyone must
know that doing nothing is not an accept-
able response. Even worse would be'to
pull back from our international commit-
ments and abandon our friends and inter-
ests in an area that a small band of
extremists.has declared off limits to us.
Bowing to the demands of terrorists would
only invite them to demand.more. We
should also remember that people of bin
Laden's ilk don't want peace and prosperi-
ty for the societies they claim to be pro-
tecting, they want more Afghanistans.
They want uneducated women, armed chil-
dren, death squads, and compulsory reli-
gion. Their idea of paradise is hell on earth
and we are doing all the world a favor by
fighting them. War is horrible and messy
and usually, especially for powerful coun-
tries, a political act. But this time it isn't.
There's no political goal here, no acquisi-
tion of territory, no protecting of resources
or opening of trade. Our coming war is
about self-defense. We have known that
the terrorist groups being harbored in
Afghanistan and other countries were out
to get us for a long time. They have said it
constantly and have already attacked our
interests and people overseas. But, unsure
if they would really strike us here, we
waited for the them to attack us at home
before deciding to go after them with all
the seriousness we should have. Well now
we know we are all in danger. That regard-
less of our ethnicity, religion or support of
our government, they would kill each of us
if given the chance.
As we keep hearing, this war won't be
like any other, but a war it is, with all the
attendant uncertainty, danger and tragedy.
I don't want to see our nation embroiled in
conflicts around the world, but on Sept. 11,
we saw the price of avoiding the fight
against terrorism. And our nation is right
to take up that fight now.

Peter Cunniffe can be reached
via e-mail atpcunniff@umich.edu.

Homosexuality from the (my) hetero perspective
DUSTIN J. SEIBERT THE MANIFESTo

ome people listen
to or read my
unorthodox per-
sonal viewpoints and
assume froTh jump that I
am probably a morally
bankrupt individual. On
the contrary, much of
what I believe is based
upon my basic compassion for other peo-
ple. I believe that people in our society
walk around with the illusion that we are
so much more accepting of others than we
actually are, but most of us have no prob-
lem condemning an entire group of people
without thinking twice about why. Simply
put, I make it a point to ask the all too
often ignored question, "Do people's
beliefs or actions make any logical fucking
sense whatsoever?"
Homosexuals seem still to have the
hardest road to travel in a society that
appears to be gradually more understand-
ing all the time. If the recent events in our
country have shown us anything, it is that
we love to mindlessly point the finger of
blame ... the one which gays are typically
on the receiving end of.
A definitive understanding of homosex-
uality must be established, as there seems
to be confusion as to what the lifestyle
entails. It's called homosexual, not homo-
physical - just because a man finds quali-
ties attractive on another man does not
mean that he wants to jump his bones; I
think that it is simply the sexual, intimate
attraction that separates the sexualities.
Women tend to identify their attraction or
admiration of other women quite expres-
sively. Needless to say, men are naturally

son I have ever spoken to has told me that
they knew that they were "different" since
they were very young, and that it was not
an outside influence that made them that
way. You would imagine that, with the
hazards that accompany such a lifestyle,
no one would choose to want to be this
way. Hell, there are gays that try their
damnedest to "go straight" to no avail,
often resulting in much mental frustration
and anguish.
Why? Simply because we as a society will
not accept them otherwise. Put yourself in
their shoes ... if someone asked you to stop
being a heterosexual and cease the attraction
that you have towards the opposite sex, do you
think for one second that it would be an
achievable goal? Of course not ... you are
attracted to whom you are attracted to!
People have such a myriad of reasons
not to accept homosexuality, the least of
them certainly not being religion. The
Holy Bible is widely interpreted as con-
demning gays for their lifestyle, basically
screwing them over in the hearts, of a pre-
dominantly Christian society (and we all
know that if the Good Book says it, it must
be true, right?). Many non-Christians iden-
tify it as unnatural and filthy, and there-
fore wrong. Excuse me, but what exactly
entails being "natural?" Is that bleached
hairdo on your dome "natural?" Is making
love with the use of condoms "natural?" I
think of a Catholic co-worker of mine this
summer who claimed to regularly partici-
pate in anal sex with women, but tried to
convince me that it was "unnatural" when
men did it with each other. People,
humans as a race ceased being "natural"
long before we were brought into the
iunrld an on oc nmnv nf vxc are horn ti

beeause of the uncontrollable color of their
skin, as gays are shunned due to their
uncontrollable sexual preferences, and
finally, blacks didn't harm our country by
being black, and gays aren't causing a
national ruckus by being gay! The same
hypocrites that will lobby for equal rights
for all will turn around and shit on homo-
sexuals in the same breath. Where is the
logic in that? In the end, past the church
and past color and culture, aren't we all
human beings?
I can smell the brains of the sparse-
minded cooking already: "Duuhhh, well if
he is defending homos like that,.then he
must be one!" I hate to disappoint you, but
no ... I am quite comfortable in my hetero-
sexuality, despite my frequent tendency to
defend homosexuality. I have no problem
admitting that I crack the occasional "fag"
joke that your average gay person may
take offense to, but I am an equal-opportu-
nity shit-talker - I clown on everyone.
And the honest truth is that I am quite
turned off by the sight of two men engaged
in sensual physical contact. I am sure that
most heterosexuals are in the same boat as
I, but there are many things that we find
optically displeasing ... that doesn't make
them "wrong," does it?
Your child is not going to become gay
by having a gay math teacher. You won't
become gay by watching Will & Grace on
a weekly basis. I firmly believe that if
there exists any curiosity about a person's
sexuality, then it always existed, and the
only thing that can control the "end
result," if you will, is the strength of the
individual's convictions. I also doubt that
we live in a Clockwork Orange style soci-
etvy wxherep .vte~n uvp crnditi cnin can

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