4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, December 3, 2001
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Defending (Ameican) Civilization
JOHANNA HANINK PARLANCE OF OUR TLMES
Cheney has been
working the college
circuit of late. She's fig-
ured out what's wrong
with American higher
As it stands, it's just
Cheney, who helped
found but has since moved on from her Amer-
ican Council of Trustees and Alumni, praised
the council's November report, "Defending
Civilization: How our universities are failing
America and what can be done about it."
The report cites 115 instances of what
Cheney and her old think tank pals have
deemed to be the wave of unpatriotic senti-
ment pouring forth from the faucets of the
academy and flooding the minds of the
impressionable students at colleges and uni-
Faculty and staff, students and administra-
tors, guest speakers and journalists are all
cited in the report which reads like a page torn
from one of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's personal
Some of the most clearly "anti-American"
examples that the Council has rooted out:
19.) "(We should) build bridges and rela-
tionships, not simply bombs and walls."
Speaker at Harvard Law School.
27.) "We have to learn to use courage for
peace instead of war." Professor of religious
studies, Pomona College
51.) "What you have to look at is the
underlying reasons. Poverty breeds resentment
and resentment breeds anger." Ivy League stu-
Cheney and her esteemed council think
they've got it pegged. It's dangerous state-
ments like these that are undermining the
moral foundations of American institutions of
And far be it from them to offer criticism
without construct. Cheney's solution is to
require, according to The Daily Princetonian,
"for American colleges and universities to insti-
tute core general education requirements, includ-
ing required courses in American history."
This suggestion may seem reasonable
enough. What may not come through so clear-
ly is the intended emphasis on the American
part. Emphatic emphasis. As chair of the
National Endowment for the Humanities from
1986 to 1993, Cheney became notorious for
her unapologetic reluctance to fund grant pro-
posals focused on non-traditional (or non-
Western) topic areas or on issues of diversity
It's baffling that under circumstances
which so clearly dictate a need to educate our-
selves about people other than ourselves,
national figures are suggesting a recession into
a narrow-minded focus on American history
and American ideals. "We need to know, in a
war, exactly what is at stake," Cheney is quot-
ed on the cover page of the Defending Civi-
This is true. But a look at American histo-
ry without criticism and as merely an exercise
in patriotism, without criticism and self-exam-
ination gives us nothing but egos and others
nothing but an excuse to hate.
Perhaps this report is so shocking because
the ideas are so ironically foreign. At the Uni-
versity we may have been spoiled with calls
for students to take foreign languages and crit-
icism of the University and faculty for not
responding with the teach-ins and a presence
at rallies; from all directions we sought to feed
our institutional nostalgia for the glory days of
1960s Michigan activism.
But what's more frightening than the
report is that it comes from the upper eschelon
of this country's leadership and is an easy
appeal to everyone who tears up, loves Ameri-
ca and hates Muslims when they hear Alan
Jackson's chart topper "Where were you
(When the world stopped turning?)," the cho-
rus of which goes: "I'm just a singer of simple
songs/I'm not a real political man/I watch
CNN but I'm not sure I could/Tell you the dif-
ference in Iraq and Iran/But I know Jesus and
I've talked to God/And I remember this from
when I was young/Faith hope and love are
some good things He gave us/And the greatest
Lynne Cheney and her benign-sounding
"American Council of Trustees and Alumni"
have provided "intellectual justification" for
the flags on radio antenna and the "United We
Stand" that now graces Wendy's fast food
bags. They've given validation to the cultural
abomination that is currently mainstream
America. It's our universities that we need to
look to as the most likely places for educating
this blindly-patriotic - and jingoistic - cul-
ture out of us and leave the witch hunts to the
history books that we'll be dusting off under
the Cheney education plan.
Johanna Hanink can be reached
via e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Y LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
'U' regrets Wolverine
TO THE DAILY:
First, I'd like to take this opportunity to
apologize to those students who attempted to
register last Monday and Tuesday. Students
should be confident that the registration system
is available when they need it and that it func-
tions effectively. The situation last week was
unexpected and unacceptable for all concerned.
Second, I'd like to point out that the opin-
ions expressed by Jennifer Ohren-Hoeft in the
letter to the editor last Thursday ("... but stop
whining") were her own, and not those of the
M-Pathways Help Desk staff or management,
or of Michigan Administrative Information
Services, the organization that supports Web-
based registration on Wolverine Access.
Wolverine Access performance improved
significantly early last Tuesday evening after a
major problem was identified and resolved.
Since then, students have been using it to regis-
ter, drop and add classes, and check their class
schedules. MAIS will continue to monitor
Wolverine Access closely and provide infor-
mation to the Registrar's Office to communi-
cate to students.
- We regret any negative perception that
may have resulted from Ohren-Hoeft's letter
that implies that M-Pathways Help Desk
consultants do not appreciate or understand
students' needs and expectations. The com-
ments received from students this week
were appropriate and appreciated, because
they help us to improve our service to the
The letter writer is manager of
the M-Pathways Help Desk.
'U' must do more to
To THE DAILY:
Waj Syed is doing a real service to the Uni-
versity by publicly relaying the hate crime he
experienced ("Ignorance on the Union Steps,"
11/28/01). Maybe now the University will
address this problem.
It is disappointing to see that the same
rampant ignorance about that part of the world
still peers its ugly head frequently at the Uni-
versity. When I was a senior two years ago, I
received a crudely written note on my South
Quad door asserting that the solution to the
sanctions that leave so many Iraqis dead, was
to "kill more."
It is because of Syed's testimony on these
pages that the need for institutional attention is
apparent. When I was there, I worked hard to
make sure Arab-Americans and Muslims were
included into multicultural discourse; that they
were an accepted segment of the American
mosaic. I looked at the University as a leader in
civil rights and multiculturalist thinking.
However, the University took no useful
steps at actively including one of the largest eth-
nic groups in the state and the fastest-growing
religion in the country. If perhaps, Arabs and
Muslims were not as readily and easily vilified,
it would be more politically expedient to
address their concerns institutionally. The Uni-
versity allows pervasive ignorance to persevere
instead of doing what -it can to make a safe and
hospitable environment for people of Middle
Eastern and South Asian ancestry. Syed's elo-
quence in describing his assault should not
remain unacted upon.
What's the big deal
with racial profiling?
To THE DAILY:
Why is everyone complaining about racial
profiling? While not the greatest of all ides in
theory, in today's society such actions are more
than justified. As the government continues its
investigation into Sept. 11, if it had the time and
money to interrogate every individual in the
United States, it probably would.
However, because of limited resources and
time, beginning the search with members of the
Muslim community, especially those who were
raised in those countries where Al-Qaeda net-
works exist, is the best approach. I understand
the need to prevent acts of prejudice and unwar-
ranted harrasment, such as those Waj Syed
reported in his Nov. 28 column ("Ignorance on
the Union steps"), however we as a nation need
to ensure our safety as well. If this means that
members of the community are investigated
simply because of the religion or upbringing, I
whole-heartedly condone such measures.
Envisioned state will give Palestinians 'due rights'
BY ASHRAF JOSEPH
David Post's "Palestinian statehood: An all
or nothing affair" (11/26/01) falls short of being
objective in its assessment of historical facts as
well as conjures up a very selective perspective
of the Israeli leadership's handling of the Pales-
tinian issue. Firstly, with regard to Ben-Gurion's
vision of "full and equal citizenship and repre-
sentation" by Arab "inhabitants" of the state of
Israel, I wonder if Ben-Gurion himself, would
have heen sard t o se that the IsraliParliament
remark "One-thousand UN resolutions could
not nullify Israel's first obligation is to provide
security to its citizens." Based on the countless
UN resolutions that Israel has failed to imple-
ment such as 242, 338, and 194, I would have
no choice but to believe him.
Moreover, it is short-sighted to assume that
an acceptance of Barak's proposal would "end
the suffering of the Palestinian population."
Aside from the fact that Palestinians have
already accepted Israel's existence on 78 per-
cent of what "was" Palestine and the fact that
bases and roads, which are only open for
Israelis. ("Say No to a Palestinian 'State,"'
11/13/01, Ran HaCohen anti-war.com). How
this resembles a state that will end the suffering
of the Palestinians is a mystery to me.
The Palestinians are desperately in need of
land, which Israeli settlements are not helping.
They need to have jurisdiction over their own
water supply. It is amazing how, for example in
Hebron, 85 percent of the water is given to
about 400 Israeli settlers, while 15 percent must
be divided among Hebron's 120,000 Palestini-