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February 18, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-02-18

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, February 18, 2003


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
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.

* (It is pretty.
It is also very
inconvenient and
very expensive."
- New York Gov. George Pataki on the
approximately 20 inches of snow
that fell on New York yesterday,
according to the Associated Press.

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Fighting terror with terror

ot wanting to
appear out of
touch with the
terrorist community,
President Dubya
punched the national ter-
ror-o-meter up from
"Fear of God" to "Duck
and Cover" nearly two
weeks ago. Yes, it's
time to renovate those dusty old fallout shel-
ters, because the terrorists are here, and
they've got four kilos of anthrax with your
office building's name on them. They've got
dirty bombs by the dozen, slated for arrival
- any second now - at your apartment
complex, place of worship, child's school
and nearest national monument.
Hey, friend, you're looking a little peaked.
Don't worry; there's nothing you can do to
help except place blind, unwavering faith in
the president. And report any sightings of
bipedal swarthy and/or bearded men to the
local authorities, just to be on the safe side.
And put that gas mask away; you look ridicu-
lous. You need to get out of the house. Buy a
car. Go to Disneyworld. Invest in the- stock
market, for God's sake; that'll show 'em. In
the meantime, your progressive and even-
handed government is going to blow a small
crater in the Middle East. For freedom, that is.
And safety and love. Really.
The problem with this apparently imminent
military strike is not that Saddam Hussein isn't
an evil dictator or at the very least a sneaky
brute; it's not that terrorism isn't terrifying or
that there aren't plenty of terrorists around. He

is, it is and there are. The problem is that the
television news media are devouring the Bush
administration's every word, pausing only to
let out the occasional satisfied belch. I don't
care how good they think his reasons for war
are; the way they've dismissed the opposition
entirely, attempted to scare U.S. citizens into
silent submission and set the linguistic stage
for war deeply upsets me.
The networks have been regurgitating pres-
idential metaphors ever since Bush the Lesser
declared war on terror. Not "terrorism" or "ter-
rorists," but terror itself. I laughed when I first
heard Bush say it because I thought it was a
mistake, a TelePrompter typo or a typical
Dubya-style grammatical blunder. Isn't that
cute? He forgot the suffix. Ha, ha. Idiot. But as
the months went by and no one bothered to
correct him, it became increasingly clear that
declaring war on a concept, a powerful emo-
tion, was exactly what Bush intended to do.
Keep the public on edge, convinced that the
United States is teetering on the edge of chaos
and the only way to make the world safe again
is to fight this abstraction to the death (of mili-
tants and civilians alike).
Striking terror into the hearts of citizens is
a sinister, cowardly and sadly effective politi-
cal strategy. That's why I'm so excited to see
that all these verbal scare tactics are finally
coming back to haunt the Bush administration
and its media subsidiaries. A few Washingto-
nians start hoarding duct tape and bedsheets,
and like magic, Homeland Security (gag) Sec-
retary Tom Ridge speaks out, prompting the
following CNN.com headline: "Ridge: No
need to panic over terror alert." I jump out of

my chair and point triumphantly at the moni-
tor. No need to panic over terror alert? Ha! Fear
campaign working a little too well, is it? Stum-
bling all over your own rhetoric, eh? Before
long, the American public is going to realize
that no government can prevent terrorism any
more than it can prevent rape or murder, and
then you'll really be in trouble.
Certain subversive members of the media
have already caught on. During one prominent
network's 17-second coverage of last month's
D.C. protest, a bold young reporter tried to
suggest that the protesters might not be a
bunch of nose-picking, anti-American hippie-
wannabes with no understanding of world
affairs, that perhaps they had spent a good deal
of time weighing the pros and cons of war and
decided they wanted no part of it. The anchor
- apparently not so interested in healthy
debate - cut off the reporter as though she
were attempting to say "fuck" or "the president
is wrong" on live feed. He panicked, changed
the subject ("Hmm, er, yes, very interesting
report, thank you (nervous chuckle). Ahem.
And now, some three-year-old footage of
WTO protestors getting tear-gassed in Seat-
tle") and cut to commercial. What a shame.
The word "terror" used to mean "fright,"
"alarm" and "horror." I don't know how Tom
Ridge and the rest of the gang would re-define
it if they could, but for now, I wish they'd real-
ize that creating more of something is not a
very good way to rid the earth of it.-


Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

War in Iraq is so 12 years ago

The real question that decides the
'should we attack Iraq' dilemma is whether
or not Saddam Hussein is a real threat.
News flash: The answer is no.
Like many of the world's leaders, Sad-
dam is guilty of ruthless genocide against an
indigenous population within his own coun-
try and of illegal aggression toward innocent
neighbors. Like other world leaders, he has
built a regime devoid of a real democratic
process and civil liberties, and he has direct-
ed the wealth of the country to the ruling
elite, leaving much of his citizens to starve.
This is a scenario we have seen in countries
in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America.
We have even seen some of it here.
But while the Bush administration uses
Saddam's past and the possibility of owning
weapons of mass destruction (that he proba-
bly bought from the United States during the
war with Iran in the 1980s) as indicators that
he would plan to harm American citizens or
American interests abroad, a deeper under-
standing of Saddam's motives makes this
idea unconvincing.
Saddam has never committed an atrocity
on ideological principle. He has only used
such means for political and economic
strength to stay in power. For example, he
gassed innocent Kurds because their inde-
pendence movement posed a threat to his

stability. The invasion of Kuwait was to
control oil and secure more commodities for
Iraq. All of this resulted in Saddam holding
a tighter grip on power.
However, an attack against America,
would not further his interests in keeping
power. He knows that if he were to strike,
America and its allies would most certain-
ly defeat his defunct military, topple his
regime and very possibly kill him. Unless
he has suddenly become suicidal, such
motivation would be a complete reversal to
how Saddam has conducted power for his
entire reign.
We have also heard rumors that Iraq sup-
ports al-Qaida. While American officials can
only verify this by proving that Mohammed
Atta once had lunch with an Iraqi, there are
other regimes that have more acutely support-
ed terrorism. For one, Saudi Arabia, our ally,
has had more proven al-Qaeda involvement
than Iraq. Furthermore, Saddam's Ba'athist
philosophy is strictly opposed to fundamen-
talist Islam. He knows that if he strengthens
that movement, it will be a threat to his sta-
bility as well, and he cannot afford that.
Sadly, even our closest allies have been
complicit in sponsoring terrorism. Even the
United States has aided terrorists, including
al-Qaida and the Taliban, by granting them
money, intelligence, training etc.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder
proposed the well-thought out and histori-
cally-accurate argument that attacking

America would not be in Hussein's inter-
ests. While he brought a clear political
analysis to argue against war, the only
response the Bush administration could
come up with were a huff and an insulting
remark about Schroeder acting on behalf of
"Old Europe." How mature.
There is no altruism involved in the
argument for this war. Pro-war advocates
base it on a threat that does not exist, for
they are either not intelligent enough to
understand this logic or blinded by national-
ism. Whether the real reasons for war are
oil, a distraction from a falling economy or a
need for higher ratings for CNN and Fox
News, it will be unnecessary motives that
will result in our brothers, fathers and best
friends returning home in body bags and
more innocent Iraqis dying under our guns,
bombs and sanctions.
Currently, we are living under a Code
Orange terrorism alert. Unless this is a false
alarm to install a state of fear, the rise in ter-
rorist activity is a result of this aggression,
which is based solely on the superfluous
interests of this administration and its sup-
porters. If an attack occurs, it will be evil
and unforgivable, however it will be brought
on by our arrogance and our fear of a threat
that does not exist.

Paul is an RC junior and a member
of the Daily's editorial board.


Michigan Student Assembly
is fighting for a superior
Student Legal Services
On Friday, the Daily published an editori-
al titled Tenants' Time (02/14/03), arguing
that the Michigan Student Assembly should
prevent the extinction of the Ann Arbor Ten-
ants Union. The Daily's editorial comments
were uninformed and ignorant of the facts
regarding the relationship between MSA and
the AATU. Let's clear some things up.
First, the AATU is horribly inefficient at
providing counseling services to students.
Every time the AATU counsels a student, the
student body pays $85 to the AATU. This
number is actually an improvement; last
year, the student body paid $103 for every

AATU counseled 45 students per month on
average. This year, at the William Monroe
Trotter House, the number is exactly the
same: 45 students per month. Moving out of
the Union has had zero impact on the
AATU's services.
Third, Student Legal Services is a better
place for tenant counseling services. Since
February, SLS has agreed to expand its ser-
vices to include advice to students on land-
lord/tenant issues. And, since SLS is already
paid for by students, this presents no addi-
tional cost to the student body. Better yet, the
lawyers at SLS are actually lawyers, unlike
the volunteers at the AATU who come dan-
gerously close to the practice of law without
a license. SLS can provide better service to
more students at lower cost. It's that simple.
Fourth, no one on MSA has suggested or
wants the AATU to disappear. In fact, MSA
has repeatedly asked the AATU to be
involved in other projects, like a "rate-your-

ing student money on programs which bene-
fit students. Spending $85 per email is sim-
ply not good enough; MSA should not be
criticized for finding a better and cheaper
way to help more students with their land-
lord/tenant problems. And the AATU, if it
truly wishes to help students, must find a
more cost-effective way to work with the stu-
dent body instead of against it.
MSA president
MSA student general counsel



A ~ N c i




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