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November 07, 2001 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2001-11-07

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, November 7, 2001

OP/ED

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
daily.letters@umich.edu

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE

t

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.

I fear that while
Sept. 11 united the
West, the response
to Sept. 11 will
unite the Muslim
world."
- Harvard scholar Samuel Huntington,
author of "The Clash of Civilizations
and the Remaking of World Order"
as quoted in yesterday's Boston
Globe. The White House has invited
Huntington for a briefing tomorrow.

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The new American sex object
MANISH RAIJI NO'IHING CA'CHY
merica has a new them. All of us are told to tighten our belts, sac- there's no sharing going on: We still get our
Scrush.rifice a little. This country is going to suffer, but pie, but the pile of crumbs left over for workers
We used to be it's all for the moral good, the righteous right. is getting smaller and smaller.
enamored with the Wall But, as always, the working class gets the Our new amours have been suffering, and
Street-type - throughout dubious distinction of shouldering the'majority this nation needs to realize that it's not
the majority of the 1990s, of the sacrifice. The Department of Labor enough to bat eyelashes at them when they
their Bruno Magli shoes released its economic report last week, showing come in handy. No one is arguing that con-
and Ermenegildo Zegna that 732,000 of our beloved workers were laid sumer confidence - a vague calculation of
ties made our hearts flutter. off in the month of October. The "middle class" the incalculable willingness to spend - is
In a nation that appeared so (a statistical anomaly, since barely 20 percent way down these days. The "relief' package
wealthy, they were the creme de la creme of the of Americans earn a "middle class" wage of that the Bush administration is steamrolling
American success story. $80,000 or more) isn't suffering nearly as much through Congress provides economic relief to
They're passe now -- symbols of an old as our working class heartthrobs. the middle- and upper-class, while only
grandeur, one that crumbled just as easily as One-hundred forty thousand manufacturing relieving the working class of such things as
the buildings they worked in. In the play- positions, 60,000 trucking and railroad employ- dignity and autonomy.
ground of American fancies, the new heart- ees, 42,000 waiters and waitresses, 30,000 con- When consumer confidence is down, peo-
throb is less polished - their Lee jeans are struction workers - gone in one month. ple stop buying Vera Wang pumps and Lexus
dirty and their nails haven't ever seen a mani- Meanwhile, we have 5,000 new mortgage bro- SUVs, but they don't stop buying groceries
cirist. Ann Coulter (the only attractive thing kers, 4,000 new bankers, 3,000 new computer and gas. A couple hundred extra for $80,000-
about conservatism) gets positively giddy technicians and 2,000 new real estate agents. plusers goes straight to the bank (his highness,
about them; Business Week looks at them What, if any, is the discernable trend here? Alan Greenspan pointed out that under 20 per-
with curious envy. Simple: Our objects of infatuation, the cent of Bush's last kick-back-to-the-rich went
Remember the Diet Coke commercial? working class, are getting laid off in record into spending,.the rest into savings), but give
Remember the construction workers, rippling numbers, while the no-longer sexy middle- to that money to those suave working class
in all the right places, being ogled by gray-suit- upper-class are still smoking their Benson & heroes and suddenly you alleviate the difficult
ed women who represent the female side of the Hedges. Sexily. decision for them: Do I feed my children or do
old infatuation? The grunts, who have been During the 1990s, inequality in the U.S. I pay my mortgage? A novel idea would be to
grunting throughout the 1990s, are en vogue began to slowly abate, giving egalitarian econo- let them do both.
again - I'm wondering when Italy will start mists a reason to finally raise their flags and Confuse this not with some socialist dia-
churning out $800 overalls, complete with pre- point out the working class. The Cold War was tribe; what's good for workers is, in fact, good
applied grease stains. over, "Commie Pig" was no longer that great for America. Not even just on an ideological
Yes, they've been there all the time, unno- an insult and with the new wealth of our nation, level, though I do argue from that platform.
ticed in a decade of prosperity, silently sweat- it looked like silly ideas like equality might just Giving money to the working class will neces-
ing while the rest of us stroked the ego of the have a shot at seeing daylight. sarily infuse money into the economy because
MBA. The working class, seemingly overnight, And then Sept. 11 ... right? they need the money to survive - they don't
has morphed from the overweight, drunken Wrong. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao spend on luxury goods, they spend on necessi-
GM worker to the statuesque firemen of repeats (hesitantly, lest she anger the beast we ties. There's the key: They spend.
Ground Zero. call Mr. President) that the economy was weak- The American working class was heroic on
Unfortunately, our collective attention ening for almost a year - the sharp drop in Sept. 11, but they've been heroic for decades
focuses only on the physical; they're admirable unemployment was certainly exacerbated by before. After years of ignoring them, let's not
as long as they shut up and do what they're Sept. 11, but was not caused entirely by Sept. allow this passing fancy to be quite so passing.
supposed to. do. Their plight is ignored, just as 11. So when Bush tells our working class
it always has been - only now, there is a inamoratos that they have to share in the burden Mnsh Ragi canbe reachedvia
"national emergency" with which to silence brought upon this country, let's all realize that e-mail at mraiyi@umich.edu.
Y UNDER THE FLAK
PART IV: CULT RE SHOCK - THE RAMADAN ANGLE
BY WAJ SYED

S
6

9,

Sensitive insensitivity

It's official. Rumsfeld is on a rampage. The
hawk de la cold-war small talk that general-
ly accompanies discussions about the Secre-
tary of Defense is starting to look boring
compared to Rummy's latest feats in Islamabad.
News Flash: Operation Enduring Freedom is
starting to look like just another military exer-
cise: The ex-general analysts with their new
suits on Fox, the virtual walk-on maps that are
Joie Chen's new carpet, National Geographic
Explorer's recent 1000th showing of-Sebastian
Junger's documentary on the Afghan plight.
Even ESPN has joined the fray, talking about
the similarities between buzkashi, the national
sport of Afghanistan which involves carrying
the headless-carcass of a goat by riders on
horseback, with polo, our symbol of elite sports-
couture. Calling buzakshi a "rugged" version of
polo, ESPN is going over the same way Rummy
is, for it is actually polo which is a version of
buzakshi, having been picked up by British
colonial officers in the 1860s serving in what
today would be northern Pakistan. Anyway,
Rumsfeld and ESPN should be holding hands
right now. They have overlooked the intricacies.
They have become sensitively insensitive.
The insensitivity has come two-fold. The
first wave has come from the Defense Depart-
ment's unyielding stance on giving up the idea
of a Ramadan War. The question of continuing
to engage Taliban forces, infrastructure,
weaponry and the Al-Qaeda camps during
Ramadan came up in the mainstream media
around a month ago. As expected, the questions
were a savvy potpourri of moral and political
implications. At first, Rummy and his boys at
Defense were ignoring any direct response to
the questioning with open-ended blah. Now, as
the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer
comes closer, the scenario is more black and
white. Rummy wants war.
Understandably, many don't. A recent poll in
some Western European countries indicated that
the American pastime of killing a mosquito with
a cannon has now run its course. showing a dron

recent field trip to Islamabad to hold talks crucial
to maintaining Pakistani support for the U.S.-led
campaign is a strange experience. Here is the
U.S. Sec-Def meeting President Pervez Mushar-
raf, a military ruler who has risked the security
and integrity of his country, his government and
even his own military, to support the U.S., decid-
ing against the opinion of millions of Pakistanis
to "help the global cause against terrorism."
Rumsfeld was
expected to keep
it tight withx
Musharraf, toS
tell him that the1
concerns of Pak-
istan will be
appropriately
addressed, and
to maybe even to
defer'to Mushar-
rafs warning
that continuing
the campaign
would produce a
"huge negative
fallout."
But instead
o f wearing a Parvez Musharraf and Donald1
ofit wingsla Islamabad, regarding the futu
suit in Islam- Afghanistan.
abad, Rummy
put on blinders. He hid from the fact that pub-
lic patience in Pakistan is wearing thin, that the
humanitarian crisis in the region is worsening
as hundreds try to cross into Pakistan every
day, and that Ramadan means a lot more than
fasting and prayer. Instead, Rummy confirmed
that the war would go on, fasting or not, and
that the U.S. would even consider launching
tactical nuclear weapons if necessary. On the
home front, his views were aired by CNN,
where tactical nukes suddenly started to sound
like a sexy alternative to an extended ground
war (something that could start Vietnamesque
protests in colleges as more and more collateral'
damage opon civilians is sustained and Red

strategic thinkers of Pakistan as well as other
Islamic and non-Islamic states to condemn
thoughts about tactical nukes and the Ramadan
War, and to reconsider their support to the U.S.
Seeing his chance, bin Laden has recently come
out on Al-Jazeera and reemphasized the cru-
sade-like aspect of the U.S.-led campaign, while
even Salman Rushdie has written an opinion
piece about how, despite of whatever anyone

says, this war is
about Islam. React-
ing to Rummy's
easy outlook on
nukes in the con-
flict, Ayaz Amir, a
Pakistani colum-
nist, recently wrote:
"In its undoubted
grief and agony,
the U.S. is in dan-
ger of forgetting
what the Greeks
taught: hubris
invites retribution.
While there's no
denying America's
AP PHOTO distress, it will only
n help its cause if this
distress is not

Rumsfeld on Nov.4i
re of the campaign in

clothed in too

excessive an arrogance.
So then, what's it going to be? Team Arro-
gance, captained by Rummy, thinks it is right to
go bombing, Muslim Holy Month or Jordan's
Second Coming - its all the same. The Arab
Muslim states are voicing their usual rhetoric,
but they're all politically castrated, so who
cares? The Pakistani government, eager to put
aside the isolation mask it was wearing for the
last decade, is protesting, but weakly. But more
importantly, the Pakistani people, upon whose
supports rests the Pak Government and thus this
coalition, are beginning to question the advan-
tages of "selling out" on the expense of their
Afghan neighbors. What good is an ally who

..__. ..

A

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