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March 20, 2002 - Image 4

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 20, 2002

OP/ED

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420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
letters@michigandaily.com

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

JON SCHWARTZ
Editor in Chief
JOHANNA HANINK
Editorial Page Editor

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
"It's like
'Osama yo'
Mama' as an
insult."
- Morgan Hubbard, 17, a high school
senior, as quoted by The Washington Post
in yesterday's article "In Times of Terror,
Teens Talk the Talk, "about the new
slang that Sept. 11 has produced.

"'- SerA (roots it...
Fake Them out...

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44

CHIP CULLEN GRINDING TmE Nm

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The sexist fascist and the 'bounds of the expressible'
NICK WOOMER BACK TO THE WOOM

peaking before roughly
3,500 people at the
Conservative Political
Action Conference's meeting
last month, University Law
School alumna and strikingly
attractive right-wing pundit
Ann Coulter argued that "we
need to execute people like
(American Taliban holy war-
rior) John Walker in order to physically intimidate
liberals, by making them realize that they can be
killed too ... Otherwise they will turn out to be
outright traitors."
Weeks later, in a Feb. 28 column, Coulter
implicitly complained that Afghan Transportation
Minister Abdul Rahman was recently assassinated
instead of Transportation Secretary Norman Mine-
ta because Mineta isn't too keen on the idea of
explicitly singling out Arabs for searches at air-
ports. In the same column Coulter reveals (no
doubt following an exhaustive review of Mineta's
civil service record) that Mineta "is given plumb
government jobs solely and exclusively because
he is a minority." Furthermore, "Mineta is burning
with hatred for America," because he has com-
plained in the past about his and other Japanese
Americans' treatment in internment camps during
World War II-- the nerve of that guy!
The Aryan vixen made a name for herself in
the world of post-Sept. 11 "discourse" when she
published a column advising the United States to
"invade their (Arab/Muslim) countries, kill their
leaders and convert them to Christianity" on Sept.
12. David Horowitz, Coulter's new boss since she
was fired as a contributing editor to the National
Review Online, later justified that comment by
suggesting that it was merely "hyperbolic, tongue
firmly in cheek." You see, she was just kidding

around - on the day immediately following the
disaster.
Well, so what? By almost any standard (appar-
ently even the National Review's), Coulter is (for
lack of a better term - politically correct or oth-
erwise) a total bitch. It's too bad that people like
Ann Coulter exist, but that shouldn't mean they
ought to be censored.
Obviously ... But that's not the point. Coul-
ter's column is syndicated nationally by Univer-
sal Press Syndicate and she's a frequent guest on
many of the pundit shows that air on the news
networks. Coulter even shared the podium at the
CPAC meeting with such esteemed (by some)
personalities as conservative moral crusader Bill
Bennett, Lynne Cheney and Health and Human
Services Secretary Tommy Thompson. In other
words, Coulter is widely acknowledged as a
legitimate participant in public discourse; her
(crazy) opinions are ones that the media elites
apparently think we ought to take seriously.
Hmm ... maybe it really would be good if Sec.
Mineta was assassinated.
Umm ... no.
In our national debates over policy matters,
there is what Noam Chomsky calls the "bounds of
the expressible."
Only opinions that fall within the bounds of
the expressible are regarded as legitimate and thus
worthy of genuine consideration. For example,
Chomsky argues that mainstream criticism of the
Vietnam War was/is limited to arguments about
how the war was a regrettable tactical blunder; a
terrible waste of resources and life. Missing from
this criticism was/is the viewpoint that maybe the
U.S. should not have been in Vietnam in the first
place; that the U.S. occupied the moral low
ground during the war; that the war was nothing
less than a murderous crusade against average

Vietnamese people.
Think about it this way. There are certain peo-
ple whose opinions are (for better or worse) com-
monly thought to be unworthy of even thinking
about. Ex-Klansman David Duke and ex-Nation
of Islam official Khalid Abdul Muhammad fall
into this category because they are both, quite
simply, vulgar anti-Semitic idiots (among other
things). It's not that they should be censored,
they're just not worth listening to because there is
so little to be gained from due consideration of
their views.
But Duke and Mohammad aren't the only vul-
gar (and, it has been alleged by some, anti-Semit-
ic) idiots who we would probably do well to just
pass off as irrelevant: Fascists and theocratic
snake oil salespeople like Coulter, Jerry Falwell
and Pat Robertson have all demonstrated them-
selves to be intellectual dead weight in public dis-
course. I suggest, then, that the public demand
from the media elites that these views be discard-
ed. Better yet, they should be counterbalanced
with more radical critiques from prominent
thinkers on the left of the seeming consensus that
the American response to the Sept. 11 attacks has
been both just and beneficial to all of humanity.
Suspend your political sentiments for a minute
and ask yourself this: Apropos of post-Sept. 11
U.S. policy, would it not be healthier for main-
stream discourse (not to mention much more intel-
lectually stimulating for individuals) to give due
consideration to radical analyses of the "War on
Terror" - or Ann Coulter's asinine remarks about
how great it would be if a member of George W.
Bush's cabinet was assassinated?
... That's what I thought.

Nick Woomer can be reached
at nwoomer@umich.edu,'

VIEWPOINT

It's the occupation, stupid
This 35-year occupation is fully in line with 54
by Fadi Kiblawi years of Israeli apartheid-like policies of ethni-
Two weeks ago, after Israeli occupation cally cleansing and discriminating against the
tanks entered Palestinian refugee camps in the indigenous Christian and Muslim population.
West Bank, their military leaders triumphantly The occupation began after an Israeli-initiated
announced to the public that they faced weak war in 1967 which resulted in the disposses-
opposition. Were they expecting an army? In sion of 400,000 Palestinians from their homes.
order for peace to prevail in Palestine, certain Since then, Israeli occupation policies have
false implications must be removed from dis- resulted in oppression in the form of house
course on the topic at hand. Specifically, the demolitions, land confiscation, curfews, clo-
catchy phrase "war in the Middle East" must be sures and full control of the livelihood of
examined. This is most certainly not a war in the every Palestinian in the occupied territories.
most conventional sense of the word, between How does Israel justify this?
two armies. The catch phrase that Israeli officials use
W we are seeing is a recurring event in is that all of their occupation policies, despite
Whatwca ngscuing eeytaie the vast majority of them being in complete
history in which an occupying army faces violation of any standards of human rights
resistance from the population that it is trying and international law, are done under the
to isolate and control. We saw this with the inenational saur e nne u-h
children's riots in Soweto, South Africa during scope of national security." Palestinian secu-
thei aprthid ear andwit th trumpantrity and natural rights are sacrificed. The flaw
their apartheid years and witnthe triumphant in this argument and the true nature of
freedom fighters of our own nation that defeat- Israel's imperialistic motives, is quickly
ed the occupying English imperialists. After revealed in Israel's settlement policies. Last
18 months of bloodshed, over 1,500 funerals week, the Knesset approved an additional $58
and hundreds of thousands of newspaper head- million be used for settlement construction in
lines, the cycle of violence is at an unprece- the occupied territories, where the "war" is
dented level. Every week, President Bush taking place.
repeatedly calls for restraint and an end to the These 121 Jewish-only settlements are
cycle. Newsflash: This has not worked and built on lands forcibly taken from Muslims
will not work! The only way to stop a broken and Christians, many of them refugees. I find
record from replaying the same line over and it quite difficult to understand how transfer-
over, is to not just repeatedly tell it to stop. ring over 200,000 citizens into new Jewish-
The broken record must be removed. In the only condominiums built on occupied
same sense, the root of the cycle of violence territories in full site of those that were just
needs to be removed. forced from that land is going to foster nation-
The root is the illegal Israeli occupation of al security. Call me crazy, but common sense
Palestinian land and lack of recognition of would lead me to believe that this will only
Palestinian natural rights to self-determination. lead to less security, especially at a time when

0

conflict is raging through these same lands.
Let us keep it very simple. Israel is not
fighting a war for its survival or its security.
The facts on the ground clearly indicate that
Israel is fighting a war armed with F-16s,
Apaches and Merkavas, to continue occupy-
ing a land which it is transferring its citizens
to, and controlling a population unarmed but
with rocks and a few archaic rifles. Their
most considerate peace offer at Camp David
would have created a Palestinian state with
lines of Israeli military cutting through it and
Israeli control over all of its resources. This
falls well short of any realistic Palestinian
state, and is nowhere near what Israel is oblig-
ated to concede under international law.
If Mexico attacked America and forced all
of us into California, we would resist. Fur-
thermore, if Mexico's military then took over
California and flexed its muscle daily affect-
ing every aspect of our livelihood, we would
resist even more.
This is exactly what the Palestinians are
doing. It is not Israel that is fighting for her sur-
vival. If she moved the 20,000 soldiers in the
West Bank and Gaza to her own borders, she
would be much more secure. It is the Palestini-
ans, who are living under military rule of an
imperialist power, that are fighting for their exis-
tence, to the point where they know they have
nothing to lose. It is in our interests to urge our
government to stop aid to Israel, the largest
recipient of U.S. foreign aid, in order to pressure
them to end their illegal occupation, which is the
sole primary cause of the conflict and roadblock
to peace.
Kiblawi is an LSA junior and a member of
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.

0
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Bakalyar's sentiments did
not accurately represent
Johnson's harassment case
To THE DAILY:
I read Elizabeth Bakalyar's letter on my
sexual harassment case (Women should not
'cry wolf about harassment, 3/15/02) against
the University. There are many points I
would like to make in response, but two of
them seem indispensable.
First, I can understand how Bakalyar
. -a n t nnracin In, mu - ra ce 1n1w fknn

case and other issues facing women on campus
next month before the trial. I hope that every-
one who has questions about the case or about
sexual harassment in general will come hear a
complete account of what happened.
There is a second portion of Bakalyar's
letter, however, that I cannot understand.
She writes that there is nothing you can do
about unwanted advances. She thinks that
one should just "put up with it."
Well, I don't agree with that statement
at all. Not only is this lascivious treatment
intolerable, it is illegal. If we condone this
behavior, conditions for women on this
Snc wi.l ne.e 1 ,r ,,nrneT aI ntctdaentc

he will be subjected to. I am writing this
letter to emphasize that there is something
we can do. We do have choices in this mat-
ter, and I choose to fight.
MAUREEN JOHNSON
Alumna
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from all
of its readers. Letters from University students,
faculty, staff and administrators will be given pri-
ority over others. Letters should include the writer's
name, college and school year or other University
affiliation. The Daily will not print any letter con-

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