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October 15, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-10-15

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, October 15 , 2001

OP/ED

(Tbe Ā£irbigtu + aii

420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
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

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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
If investigators' fears are
confirmed - and sceptics
fear American hawks could
be publicising the claim to
press their case for strikes
against Iraq - the pressure
now building among senior
Pentagon and White House
officials in Washington for
an attack may become
irresistible."
- Yesterday's London Observer indicating
that U.S. military strikes could move to Iraq.

1,0 7
THE ON~L.Y THING MORE. UN-AMUMW ANTHAU MOT VIGt TIM~G
FOR FREEDIOM IS TRYIG TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM
SOMEONE ELSE.

0

a

Bush and Albright all the world is your stage
AMER G. ZAHR THE PROGRESSIVE PEN

rthur Miller, in his
recent book "On
Politics and the Art
of Acting," has explained
how he feels that the role of
the politician in this country
is essentially that of an
actor. As we watch the per-
formance of many of our
country's leaders, some dis-
turbing things are shining through. It seems as
though our political elite has decided that we
cannot bear much reality, and politics is the
manifestation of that belief. Until Sept. 11,
George W. Bush had one role to perfect: He had
to act himself out of the 2000 election. He need-
ed to act as if he were elected president. The
amount of acting in order to complete that task
was awesome; and as we observed, the presi-
dent was spending much of his time finding
himself and developing his character, in the
process revealing to all of us that the compas-
sionate conservatism that had been his prevail-
ing rhetoric was in fact an ideology
masquerading as textbook American conser-
vatism.
This resulted in his isolating much of the
public and much more of the international com-
munity. So Bush came to symbolize that isola-
tion, that misdirection. The problem now is that
as we face a crisis, Bush, Powell, Rumsfeld, and
the bunch must act themselves out of that role.
Miller also noted that the presidency, in
specific, is a "heroic role. It is not one for
comedians, sleek lover types or second
bananas. In a word, to be credible the man
who acts as a president must hold in himself
an element of potential dangerousness." In
this current bombing campaign, holding
one's self up as a hero is of course not diffi-
cult as we "avenge" the terrorist attacks of
Sept. 11. What President Bush is actually
saying is not so important anymore. As he

returned from Camp David yesterday to the
White House, the president answered a few
questions on the lawn. When asked if he
would negotiate with the Taliban, Bush
replied that "maybe they hadn't heard ... we
aren't interested in negotiating." The
reporters, of course, ate this up. Bush con-
tinued as to how we would not stop bomb-
ing until our laundry list of conditions were
met, all the while perfecting his heroic,
world-saving gestures and facial expres-
sions. Just when he was asked perhaps the
most important question, whether or not we
are looking to install a new government in
Kabul, Bush yelled out for his dog Barney,
flashed a smile, and led the wagging dog
into the White House.
What Bush was saying was not so
important as how he was saying it, and the
reporters were posing as theater critics, as
on this stage, as Miller once again tells us,
"substance counts for next to nothing com-
pared with style and inventive characteri-
zation. The question is whether the guy is
persuasive, not what he is persuading us
of." Many facts were lost in the shuffle,
including the fact that we had just finished
bombing a residential neighborhood in
Kabul, the fact that human rights organiza-
tions are declaring that our food drops are
only a drop in the bucket as they need a
cease-fire to make sure victims receive
ample supplies, and the fact the only party
avoiding negotiations with the nations we
are bombing is us. Finally, in a beautiful
stroke of acting prowess, Bush has imple-
mented the $1 fund drive for Afghan chil-
dren. What can be better than asking each
American child to donate $1 an Afghan
children fund? I would suggest not bomb-
ing them.
But American policy has rarely worried
about children in other parts of the world, and

that leads us to an important event coming upon
us this Tuesday. One of our most distinguished
scholars is to speak at Hill Auditorium this
week. I am, of course, speaking of Madeleine
Albright. As we all should remember, it was
Albright who told Leslie Stahl of 60 Minutes in
1996 that in pursuit of our foreign policy objec-
tives, the death of over half a million children
was "worth it." To perfect the acting style,
Albright recently stated to CNN that she was
asked whether our policies have anything to do
with the recent attacks and distaste for America.
Her answer was "no. Only those who hate
democracy and human rights and freedom
would be opposed to what America stands for."
This is ethnocentric at best, racist at worst. But
desperate attempts to appeal to the emotion of
the audience is both the politician's and actor's
final remedy, as we observed Albright in a town
hall meeting in February 1998 where, after
being besieged by some tough questions on the
brutal sanctions policy on Iraq, she was moved
to shout, "We are the greatest country in the
world!" Patriotism here was her last refuge.
But I believe and hope she will find little
refuge this week as she attempts to use Hill
Auditorium as her stage to star as the local
expert on all that is around us. It is up to us, all
of us who believe that what you say is more
important than how you say it, that $1 per
Afghan children does not cancel out the destruc-
tion of their homeland, and that half a million
Iraqi children are not worth any foreign policy
objectives, to exercise our own style of Ameri-
canism, rejecting the efforts of Albright and oth-
ers like her to emotionally blackmail us into
following an American policy that is resulting in
much more death and destruction outside of our
borders than it will ever result in security inside
them.

Amer G. Zahr can be reached
via e-mail at zahrag@umich.edu.

0

V LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Y IN PASSING

New M-Card looks
idiotic, 'U' deserves
better design
To THE DAILY:
I don't know how many people out there
would actually care about this. But I just feel
that the way our M-Card looks is rather out of
style. Yes, I am talking about the new one in
yellow with a big M as the background. At
times, it makes me hesitated to show it to peo-
ple outside of the community.
I always ask myself, "Am I the only person

on Earth who is complaining about
this?
And, don't we have a bunch of
artistic students and a well art and
design school on campus?" In my
opinion, there is definitely room for
the M-Card that we carry and use so
often to look smarter.
It represents the University. It rep-
resents us. I am not expecting a M-
Card of platinum with 10,000
functions integrated. But, after all, this I
is a world-class university. We deserve ..
one that looks cool to be proud of.
RICHARD Yiu
LSA junior

0

AL-QAEDA CYANIDE PLOTS
SCARIER THAN ANTHRAX; NEW
METHOD COULD KILL THOUSANDS
For those who read British daily newspapers
on a regular basis, yesterday was a scary day.
London's Sunday Times reported that Osama
bin Laden's terrorist cells in Europe had
planned a chemical attack on a U.S. government
building in London or Rome.
Secret tapes recorded by Italian police show
that bin Laden's comrades in Milan were dis-
cussing acquiring 10 liters of "a liquid that suf-
focates people."
Security officials told the newspaper that the
poison is most likely cyanide. One of bin
Laden's trainees said he was taught how to
release cyanide in ventilation systems. That
could kill thousands of people if released in a
large quantity.
Here' is some disturbing dialogue from the
tapes. "What's going on - you are putting
down your guns and taking up industrial prod-
ucts?" ... "There's a liquid which is extremely
efficient because it suffocates people. Do you
want to try it?" ... "Yes,.why not. A few bar-
rels."
A scan of U.S. media outlets yesterday
turned up nothing of the Times' report.
This is probably one of the most troubling
news stories I've come across since Sept. 11.
Anthrax sent in the mail seems like a cake walk
compared to what was revealed in yesterday's
report.
- Michael Grass
FINALLY, A CHANCE TO DEBATE
AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
RATIONALLY
Next week, the United States Court of
Appeals in Cincinnati will begin hearing

case to preserve its Law School admissions
policies which consider the race of appli-
cants among many other factors.
Legal observers believe Grutter may
eventually head to the United States
Supreme Court and could determine the
future legality of affirmative action.
Since the Center for Individual Rights
first sued the University on the behalf of
white applicants rejected from the Law
School and the College of Literature, Sci-
ence and the Arts, students have been sub-
jected to ridiculous, oversimplified rhetoric
on both sides of the affirmative action
debate.
That is all set to change tomorrow at 7:15
p.m. in Lecture Hall 3 in the Modern Languages
Building when two members of the University's
top-ranked philosophy department square off on
affirmative action.
Philosophy Prof. Elizabeth Anderson will
defend the merits of affirmative action against
philosophy graduate student Justin Shubow
and Philosophy Prof. Stephen Darwall will
moderate.
Afterwards audience members are
encouraged to express their own views on
the matter and challenge the speakers to
defend their positions in a question-and-
answer session.
This is a rare opportunity for students to
hear the best arguments for and against
affirmative action rigorously analyzed in a
calm, rational and respectful setting. If
nothing else, everyone should leave the
debate with a new appreciation for the com-
plexity of issues surrounding affirmative
action.,
- Nicholas Woomer
In Passing views are those ofindividual
members of the Daily 's editorial board,
but do not necessarily represent the

Courtesy Division of Student Affairs

V VIEWPOINT:
Stop political games: Let MSA work for you

BY MATr NOLAN
There was a lot of rushed reaction and mis-
information in the Daily last week, and I feel
that I need to speak for the integrity of the
Michigan Student Assembly.
First and foremost, neither myself, nor Jes-
sica Cash, nor any other delegate, were "visi-
bly drunk," as Rachel Fisher put it, at the
Association of Big Ten Schools' formal dinner
last weekend in Minnesota. I actually con-
ducted a television interview at the dinner, and
the account presented in Fisher's viewpoint
("MSA execs, reps railroad war resolution,
ignore 'U' students they claim to serve"
10/10/01) was 100 percent factually incorrect.
We would never dream of misrepresenting
University in such a fashion, and to say we
would do so is an insult to our sense of pride
for the University, and nothing more than a
political attack in the face of the upcoming
election. It was interesting to note that Fish-
er's roles as Peace and Justice co-Chair and
member of the Daily's editorial board were
mentioned, yet her deep involvement with the
University Democratic Party was mysteriously
left off.
Fisher's viewpoint, along with select com-

do want the buses to run more frequently and
more predictably, more time off from class,
better recreational sports, ice machines in the
residence halls, and other things to make their
lives on campus better. As MSA president,
these are the things I am focused on accom-
plishing, and most representatives ran for the
assembly with these as their goals as well.
Unfortunately, my having a meeting with
the associate vice president for student affairs
to discuss the need for more performance
venues for student groups isn't exactly Michi-
gan Daily headline material. If it were, MSA
would need a couple of Michigan Daily's per
day to cover everything we've been doing.
Since we are a democratically elected body
and hence partially political in nature, howev-
er, we do occasionally debate political issues
as well. Consequently, rifts over issues that are
prominent and hotly contested make better sto-
ries than those about sitting in front of a com-
puter for six hours drafting academic
calendars, and MSA's public perception is that
we talk about a lot of stuff we don't have con-
trol over.
I'm not sure there's a solution to this prob-
lem, except for readers to recognize that
there's always more going on than can be writ-

edge or to have more readers talking about
your column, you weaken your own student
voice, which, while it may not publicly always
seem like it, does have the potential to make a
big difference for all of us. How can MSA tell
an administrator that students want some time
off in the fall calendar, when simultaneously
we are being publicly attacked and told that
we don't represent the student voice?
On a personal note: while I am a junior, I
am serving a one term presidency, and will not
be running for re-election in March. I have no
political agenda outside of what I ran on last
term- making student government work for
students, and leaving campus a little better
than I left it. Unlike the vast majority of stu-
dent body presidents nationwide, I don't get
compensated. I don't get tuition vouchers, I
don't get a stipend, and I don't get free tickets
to sporting events. Outside of everything that
comes with being a student, I spent 40-plus
hours per week working on MSA initiatives
and student projects, just because I want to
make campus better for students. While you
may not have voted for me or the representa-
tives on MSA, a plurality of the 38,000 stu-
dents on this campus did, and they voted for us
because they wanted us to represent student
iterests n carmnhTze nrsonallv wauelcte

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