The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 30, 2002 - 7
Karzai committed to democracy
WASHINGTON (AP) - Afghan leader Hamid
Karzai said yesterday democracy will thrive in his
country and elections will be held in two years. He
promised his interim government will never abandon
the war against terrorism.
"We are committed to the democratic process in
Afghanistan," Karzai said in a speech at the National
Press Club after spending the morning on Capitol
Hill. "We are committed to letting the Afghan people
determine their own future."
He said the political process that started in Bonn,
Germany, in December when he was chosen as head
of the interim government in Kabul would continue.
Karzai said his government would not interfere
with the work of a commission that will chose mem-
bers of a grand national assembly. It will meet in
May to create an administration that will serve for
two years while a constitution is drafted.
He is said to favor establishment of a strong cen-
tral government in Kabul like the one that existed
before 1973 when the monarch, King Zaher Shah,
Intervening in a U.S. policy debate, Karzai said
Taliban and al-Qaida prisoners being held at the U.S.
Naval base in Guantanamo, Cuba, are criminals, not
prisoners of war.
"They brutalized Afghanistan," he said. "They
killed our people. They destroyed our land. There
was no war there. It was plain killing fields and these
people were perpetrators of that atrocity."
Speaking to senators earlier, he said his govern-
ment would remain committed to the war against ter-
"We are here in Washington to thank the U.S. peo-
ple for the help they gave us in the fight against ter-
rorism and providing us the help to liberate our
country," Karzai said after meeting with 20 members
of the Senate.
"We will continue our war against terrorism to the
absolute end of it."
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the Sen-
ate Foreign Relations Committee, said "there is gen-
uine, genuine, genuine support" in Congress for
standing behind the reconstruction of a stable
"With our help, the presence of the U.S. mili-
tary on the ground and an international force, and
immediate aid as well as some long-term rebuild-
ing commitment and donations, I have no doubt
that Afghanistan will take its rightful place
among nations as a stable and positive influence
in the region, with a commitment to root out the
remainder of Taliban and al-Qaida," Biden told
The official activities of Karzai's two-day visit
ended yesterday night with his attendance at Presi-
dent Bush's State of the Union address.
The Bush administration will be looking to Con-
gress to fund a portion of a massive reconstruction
job that lies ahead for Afghanistan in the post-Tal-
iban era. After meeting with Karzai Monday, Presi-
dent Bush announced an initial $50 million line of
credit to finance private-sector reconstruction pro-
Secretary of State Colin Powell said last week that
the United States will be helping Afghanistan for the
long haul. But for that to happen, Congress will have
to go along.
Karzai, who heads an interim government that will
serve until June, was well-received yesterday on
Capitol Hill, given his role as an ally in the U.S.
campaign against the Taliban and the al-Qaida ter-
He indicated no concern over Bush's insistence
that the United States stay out of the multinational
peacekeeping force in his country.
"What is important for us is that we have from
President Bush the assurance that America will stay
in Afghanistan bilaterally, and will help with the
training of the national Afghan army. That's good
news," Karzai said.
After a White House meeting on Monday, Bush
called him "a man who stood for freedom in the face
Continued from Page 1
forces have delivered a message to
every enemy of the United States,"
Bush said. "You will not escape the
justice of this nation."
Outlining his post-Afghanistan bat-
tle plans, the president vowed to
unearth "a terrorist underworld" of
training camps in at least a dozen
countries, including the Philippines,
Bosnia and Somalia. He said nations
will be given a chance to wipe out ter-
rorists themselves, and the United
States is willing to assist their efforts.
But, he warned: "If they do not act,
In his strongest terms yet, Bush
called North Korea; Iraq and Iran part
of an "axis of evil," warning that their
pursuit of weapons of mass destruction
pose a "grave and growing danger"
and will not be tolerated.
"I will not wait on events, while
dangers gather. I will not stand by, as
peril draws closer and closer," Bush
The nation's 43rd president
addressed Americans with a degree of
national unity conferred on no other
chief executive since Franklin D. Roo-
sevelt. In polls, more than 80 percent
of Americans say they approve of his
In the Democratic response,
Gephardt mentioned Enron Corp., the
Texas-based energy company linked to
Bush that collapsed with the life sav-
ings of many workers.
Bush did not mention Enron, but
asked Congress to enact pension
reform and require more financial dis-
closure from companies. "Corporate
America must be made more account-
able to employees and shareholders
and held to the highest standards of
conduct," Bush said.
The measured response to Enron's
collapse reflects concern in the Nwhite
House that voters view Bush and
Republicans as more sympathetic to
big business than to average Ameri-
In stark terms, the president said
U.S. forces found diagrams of Ameri-
can public water facilities, detailed
instructions for making chemical
weapons, surveillance maps of U.S.
cities and descriptions of landmarks
- all evidence that terrorists may tar-
get a wide array of targets.
"What we have found in Afghanistan
confirms that -- far from ending there
- our war against terror is only begin-
ning,"the commander in chief said.
Continued from Page 1
guage exams for international GSIs;
Equal hourly pay for all GSIs; and
A paid 20-hour-a-week faculty position
created to monitor GSI hiring to ensure all
University schools and colleges have a
diverse set of student instructors.
At last night's bargaining session, the Uni-
versity offered a tuition-wage proposal. Two
weeks ago it offered a counter-proposal on
harassment, which would include language in
the contract stipulating that GSIs could go to
the University for help if they had any prob-
lems, but did not mention harassment.
"Those types of changes are strategic and
they have implications," said Rackham stu-
dent Charles Gentry.
Bottom-line budgeting, which the Univer-
sity verbally agreed to stop using last year, is
a method previously used by the College of
Literature, Science and the Arts in which
departments are allotted a fixed amount of
money to hire as many GSIs as possible. In
the current method - the slot model -- LSA
determines how many GSIs each department
can hire and does not set a fixed amount
departments can spend.
"We want to get it in writing," said Gentry.
"You can talk and say, 'the president (of the
University) is committed to' ... which has all
been said. There will be new people in the
administration and we want to put it in writ-
The GEO also requested that GSIs be
given bus passes, receive bi-monthly pay-
checks instead of monthly paychecks and that
GSIs currently not eligible for health care
benefits be given the option to buy health care
"In reply, we've heard not a whole lot,"
The University has refused to discuss many
of the issues, and GEO members said the
counterproposals to other issues offered by
the University have not been up to par. Peter-
son said the University is working toward cre-
ating counter-proposals that are feasible.
"It's not possible to respond to every pro-
posal. (In any negotiating process) you have
to try to get to some core issues that both
sides can agree on," Peterson said.
The University has stated economic rea-
sons - a lower-than-expected endowment
and the current recession - for not agreeing
to some of the proposals.
GEO organized in 1973 after the Universi-
ty raised tuition by 24 percent but did not give
GSIs pay raises. Contracts have been renewed
every three years since 1975, when GEO
went on a month-long strike. During the 1999
and 1996 negotiations, GEO held a walk out.
and participated in a strike.
GEO members said they are not in favor of
holding another strike and want to give the
University enough time to negotiate, but they
will do whatever is necessary for their negoti-
ations to be taken seriously.
"GSIs don't want to stop working. We have
a commitment to our students as well. I don't
want to strike," de Leon said. "But when the
administration behaves like this, what ate we
supposed to do?"
GEO members said so far they believe the
University has been stalling.
"It doesn't matter so much if it's taking
time, as long as the time is spent in honest
negotiations," said Rackham student Peter
Soppelsa. "If it's just them stalling, it's not
A strike is probably the last step members
would take. In previous years, the GEO has
held informational pickets, grade-ins and
grade-actions - when GSIs hold students'
exams until the deadline causing a flood of
paperwork for administrators.
"It's very likely that some type of action
will need to be taken. Maybe talking isn't
Peterson said the University is hopeful
about the ongoing negotiations.
"We felt like we had some productive back
and forth discussion this week," she said.
University Chief Negotiator Dan Gamble
declined to comment about the negotiations.
GSIs Amy and Alex Bates with son Evan sit through last
night's bargaining session. Expanded University-provided
child care is one of the issues GEO hopes to improve.
the michigan daily
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