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March 04, 2003 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-04

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4- The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 4, 2003


U~l'fw Licggn &t-


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's not good
enough to accept what
the right wing has said,
which is, 'The French
hate us, so we must be
doing something right.'
That's so dumb."
- Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John
Kerry (D-Mass.), in a Sunday address to
the Idaho Democratic Women's Caucus as
quoted yesterday by The Boston Globe.

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He's not with me

So there's this guy
that I sort of
know. We've
never really been close
and I don't talk to him
much, but he's some big
shot who a lot of people
seem to like and respect
(for reasons that escape
me), and thus, I have to
continually put up with him. We don't get
along because we occupy opposite ends of
the political spectrum, lead dissimilar lives
and have little in common. He follows base-
ball, I follow basketball; he's from the South,
I'm from the North; he likes pretzels, I like
popcorn. That sort of stuff. He's also a fer-
vent supporter of our administration while I
am likely one of its most stringent polemics.
However, beyond petty schisms over junk
food and important disagreements concern-
ing this country's direction, what might
make me most upset with him - and trust
me, the results of our ideological divergence
really raise my ire - is his stupidity. The
guy seems profoundly unintelligent, or at
least unconcerned with intellectual pursuits,
and resultantly, is incapable of speaking well
or talking with distinction.
(Quickly, let me add a few notes: First,
the guy has to be somewhat smart, at least
socially, because tons of people like him
and he seems to persuade others really
well. I think his friends probably tell him
what to say often, but he clearly under-
stands what he's doing. Second, I'm not
sayingithat the guy has to quote Thucydides
or have a Ph.D, but he should at least pos-
sess the ability to have a substantive dis-

cussion without pausing all the time and
stumbling over his words.)
Normally, I wouldn't be complaining like
this, and usually it isn't a problem when
someone I know sounds like a ten-year-old,
except that the person in question embarrass-
es me almost every time he opens his mouth.
He's like that one relative everyone dreads
going out in public with because you never
know what he or she is going to say, but you
know that it will always be embarrassing.
I mention all of these issues because the
guy with whom I take umbrage is the Presi-
dent of the United States. That's right. My
man G-Dub is an embarrassment. Have you
seen this man deliver a speech? Whether he's
inventing language, pausing every six sec-
onds to remember what he's been told to say
next or simply bungling a common apho-
rism, G-Dub constantly makes himself seem
stupid, and that reflects poorly on the public
that both voted for him and has allowed him
to remain a bumbling fool. We should feel
ashamed of him and, mostly, ourselves.
Practically, we should feel ashamed
because we're lazy and don't ask nearly
enough of G-Dub. Our president, as leader of
the nation and the free world, should be a man
of intelligence, one able to both understand
broad, nuanced topics and articulate U.S. posi-
tion clearly and accurately. We have not held
G-Dub to that standard. For instance, he has
routinely substituted "embetterment" for "bet-
terment." Why do we allow our president to
abandon the language, giving him a pass as he
substitutes his own words for English?
The answer is that we don't demand any-
thing more than the minimum from our lead-
ers or ourselves. (Yes, there have been

recent anti-war protests, and I applaud those
Sisyphusian - see, here I have created a
nonce word, not a Bushism - citizens who
have demonstrated their opposition to the
approaching conquest of Iraq.) That apathy
is how we (sort of) elected the Dub Man in
the first place, ignoring his lack of erudition,
questionable accounting (how's that sur-
plus?) and silver-platter life.
That apathy, our apathy, has also allowed
for the scariest part of G-Dub's reign: his
myriad and apparent flaws - in case they
forgot to tell you this at Yale, George, one's
subject should always agree, in number, with
his predicate - still haven't inspired us to
take action as the man has taken our rights,
ruined our economy and advanced his neo-
Reagan ideology. That we can idly watch G-
Dub compromise bedrock American values
while claiming to uphold those deteriorating
ideals is cause for real alarm.
That indifference has most clearly mani-
fested itself in our tolerance for the presi-
dent's blathering. As G-Dub spoke at the
American Enterprise Institute last Wednes-
day, I felt close to ill watching my most
prominent representative stammer over his
words, pause to remember his ideas and
employ generalities backed by no sub-
stance. I was only furthered sickened when
I considered that seemingly barely-literate
G-Dub was accepted by his own people as
a fine representative of our nation's educa-
tion system and governing ideology. I was
not proud and I cannot handle that any
longer. I'm not with stupid.


Litman can be reached at

Anunbelievable foreign policy
here are many many media outlets it began to seem as if the protection of a U.S. enforced no-fly zone.
people in this France was the real enemy. But the most self-determination they've ever
country, such as It is possible to coax reluctant countries known will likely soon end because we've sold
myself, who ardently into justifiable military action (as disarming ' them out. (Didn't someone say something
disagree with most of the Iraq by force if other means fail is) as demon- about freeing Iraqis?)
policies of our current strated by conflicts like the first Persian Gulf Another victim of the administration may
president, but saw the War or Kosovo, especially by working be the United Nations. While agreeing to
wisdom of confronting through international organizations - where attempt to get U.N. authorization for this war
Saddam Hussein and it is much easier to assent to a collective (to placate jittery European backers), the
hoped President Bush's effort, rather than the demands of one coun- administration has made it clear that lack of
evil-slaying mission would work out for the try. But our response to the doubtfulness of Security Council approval (which is uncertain
best. It started promisingly, with his call for friends was, "fine, who needs you." thanks in part to the aforementioned stiffing of
the resumption of weapons inspections duti- Even among the European countries council members Pakistan and Mexico) will
fully heeded by the United Nations. The Bush convinced to support war with Iraq, not alter their plans. Many ask why we should
United States applied military pressure and many of their governnents are going against have to ask countries like France or Cameroon
Iraq relented to the U.N.'s demands, allow- public opinion. The danger is boosting anti- for permission to take actions the United States
ing the return of weapons inspectors for the U.S. politicians in those countries who may determines are in its interest. The Security
first time since 1998. gain greater power there and push those Council is a collective security organization,
But that hopeful begging has taken only a countries away from the United States. and that's what we helped design it to do.
few short months to turn into a nightmare There has always been a streak of anti- When military action isn't purely defensive, the
because of a foreign policy that has gravely Americanism in European politics, but see- only way it is legitimate is through ratification
damaged the alliances and international system ing their governments being dragged into a by a designated international council (over
the United States spent decades building. war they oppose will only inflame it among which we hold significant power). While it has
American standing had already taken a the European populace, perhaps for the long certainly not always worked the way we
beating as Bush trashed treaties protecting the term, making any future cooperation - and believe it should, an international legal order
environment and human rights, instituted pro- not just with war - even more unlikely. controlling the use of force is something we
tectionist tariffs and backed out on deals with The drive for war with Iraq also led to a should strengthen, not abandon for a might-
other countries when it was convenient (those serious miscalculation involving Turkey. makes-right world because it won't approve a
involving textile imports from Pakistan and Their was a lot of grousing about how much war as fast as demanded.
Mexican immigration issues, for example). it would cost in aid and grants to convince Time and effort, as it has before, could
But it wasn't until the push for an immediate them to allow attacks on Iraq from their soil, have overcome so many of these obstacles.
war with Iraq that it became apparent how but the Turkish parliament ended up rejecting Looking at the wreckage Bush has left in the
bad the damage could be. the billions promised and the American wake of his quest to oust Saddam, its hard to
Since the resumption of the weapons deployment. I guess it's a bad idea to bad believe one president could do so much dam-
inspections process in Iraq little more than four mouth someone you're bargaining with age to the alliances and world order that the
months ago, a serious rift has developed with before the deal is sealed. United States had cultivated fer generations.
Europe. Some European countries - "Old The vote may yet be retaken and succeed, But it's worth the price because this invasion
Europe" as the administration dismissively in significant part because Turkey's govern- will bring peace, security and liberty to the
dubbed the continent's largest, wealthiest and ment and military is eager to enforce the U.S. Arab world Bush now tells us. Considering
most politically-influential nations - were promise to stifle, or allow them to stifle, any his handling of foreign affairs thus far, I no
always hostile to militarily disarming Iraq. attempt by Iraq's fervently anti-Saddam Kurds longer see any reason to believe he can, or
Rather than seeing this as a problem for diplo- to gain independence or autonomy - and cares to, accomplish such things.
macy, however, the administration responded thereby possibly inspiring Turkey's own restive
to European dissent with a campaign. of demo- Kurdish population. The Kurds of northern Iraq Cunnife can be reached
nization eagerly picked up by the press. In are currently as free as they've ever been under atpcunnifJ@umich.edu.


Student interveners do not
belong in Supreme Court
As I read the Daily's editorial, Let them

precious minutes of oral arguments. Even
though the case is "of tremendods import to
students" we have to ask what just what we
hope to gain by appearing before the most
august court of the land. Are there students just
trying to gain their 15 seconds of fame and
bragging rights for the rest of their lives that
they argued before the Supreme Court while in

Rent two months late?
Need a place to sleep?



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