4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 12, 2003
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- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, on the
21,000-pound bomb the United States
tested yesterday in Florida, as
quoted by The Associated Press.
SAM BUTLER THE SoApix.
Lies, damn lies and (some) statistics
DAVID HORN HORNOGRAPHY
ecretary of State
Colin Powell was
on "Meet the
Press" last Sunday, and
was having a difficult
time swatting away even
the softballs that Tim
Russert was throwing at
him. Russert showed
Powell a clip of then-
candidate George W. Bush during the 2000
presidential campaign, in which Bush said that
American troops ought not be used for nation
building. Powell, realizing the ridiculousness of
his boss's hypocritical position, admitted that
the effort in Iraq would indeed require "nation
building." Bush's claim in 2000 then, Russert's
audience was led to conclude, was effectively a
lie. Powell was unable to refute it - a recurring
theme over the course of the show.
Russert went on to challenge Powell on the
link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaida.
Powell said that "the case" for war does not
rest on the link between Saddam and the infa-
mous terrorist network, but rather on Saddam's
defiance of the United Nations over the last 12
years. OK. So that's the case. Then how can he
and Bush even consider military action without
the support of the United Nations? If "the case"
for war rests on Saddam's defiance of a
decade-old U.N. resolution, then it is the
U.N.'s responsibility to address that. We fight
our own wars - not the U.N.'s. If the United
Nations had a problem with Saddam defying
its demands, then the United Nations would
pony up and join the war effort; my sense is
that that's not happening any time soon. There
is such a fundamentally-flawed logic in the
administration's argument it makes me ache
for a more analytical media and a more critical
public. Why are you not pushing Powell on
these questions, Russert? How is the media
allowing these significant and fundamental
contradictions to be so successfully shrouded
by the Bush propaganda campaign?
Meanwhile, 55 percent of Americans,
according to a just-released CBS/New York
Times poll, believe that military action in
Iraq will increase the probability of a terror-
ist attack on the United States. Just 12 per-
cent believe that it will actually decrease that
risk. If this country's primary foreign con-
cern is combating terrorism, and just 12 per-
cent of Americans believe that military
action in Iraq will be a productive approach
to that challenge, then Bush has a great deal
of explaining to do. Instead he just speaks in
circles, jumping from one "underlying"
cause for war to another.
As for the alleged weapons of mass
destruction, all Powell was able to provide was
a plea to the American people to keep open the
possibility that Saddam might possess weapons
X, Y or Z. "With respect to the aluminum
tubes, we still believe the case is out ... I think
we have to keep an open book on this as more
information comes forward." That statement
was in response to the head of the International
Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed El-
Baradei, accusing Powell and Bush of mislead-
ing the United Nations with their report on
Saddam's weapons supply.
You're called a liar and your response
amounts to "Eh. We'll see. Maybe I'm not."
Secretary Powell! We're talking about building
a case for war! Not building a case for whether
or not "Chicago" was the best film of 2002.
There is no "We'll see." There is no "The case
is still out." There is only "We have irrefutable
evidence that Saddam has, and is a threat to
use, weapons against American citizens. Fur-
thermore, the only way to keep that from hap-
pening is to send our boys over there." Powell
and Bush both lack that essential conviction
and confidence. I can understand Bush not
appreciating the gravity of war. But Powell, a
distinguished and decorated military hero,
must comprehend the seriousness of what we
are about to embark upon.
I could write all day and all night, until the
first bombs over Baghdad, on the flaws and
hypocrisy and dangers of the president's plan
for war. My sense, and hope, is that the pro-
paganda train is running out of fuel, and that
Americans are becoming increasingly skepti-
cal of the benefits of a war in Iraq. I had tried
to maintain an open mind over the course of
this debate, and sought to evaluate the Bush
"justification" thoughtfully and objectively.
But I have found mostly fault in the adminis-
And while I know that most of this campus
does so as well, I ask that you continue ques-
tioning and continue raising awareness of the
reality of this forthcoming war. Don't be dis-
couraged by the seemingly unstoppable war
train - it takes just a little resistance from a lot
of people to deride it.
Horn can be reached
Untying the yellow ribbon
JESS PISKOR Tis SPACE NOT FOR SALE
ar is here and that lost the United States the Vietnam War. killing and dying for bad reasons.
the Democratic Supposedly, public dissent at home lost us the Of course this can be taken too far. Spitting
contenders for Vietnam War - the American people refused on infantrymen is a black mark on the face of
their party's 2004 presi- to give the army the tools of victory. Yeah, if we non-violent protest. Cries of "babykiller!"
dential nomination seem hadn't criticized the war maybe Gen. William directed at random soldiers should never be
surprised that war with Westmoreland could have sent in another tolerated. Yet, if wrong actions occur, people
Iraq is the hot button topic 250,000 soldiers or maybe President Richard can be blamed. Some U.S. soldiers have killed
with voters. "I had a press Nixon could have found sufficient support to children in the heat of battle. U.S. generals and
conference and it was all carry our his plans of using tactical nuclear military planners should be held responsible
about the war. Finally I weapons or blowing up irrigation dams and for atrocities committed at their direction.
said, 'Would anybody like to talk about the flooding most of North Vietnam, drowning mil- I just don't see the rationale behind sup-
enormous jump in the unemployment rate that lions. Wouldn't that have been wonderful? porting our troops. It's not like a lack of sup-
was announced in the morning papers?"' said We shouldn't have been fighting the Viet- port will seriously undermine our chances of
obviously bewildered former Vermont Gov. nam War. We acted disgracefully and in the destroying Iraq and its army. I can't imagine
Howard Dean in The New York Times. end, the anti-war movement was proved correct. soldiers driving their tanks to the outskirts of
The Democrats all of course have memo- People were right to speak out against the war Baghdad and turning around in defeat because
rized poll data and they know that most like- and it is too bad it took years of fighting to get "America wasn't behind them 100 percent."
ly Democratic voters are leery of war. So past the "rally around our troops" mentality. A We must have the wimpiest soldiers in the
even though four of the five members of lot of innocent U.S. soldiers and Vietnamese cit- world if a little dissent at home reduces them to
Congress in the running voted to support izens died unnecessarily and the people back on an ineffective quivering mass. Of course a
President Bush's war, (Sens. John Kerry of the home front who felt the war was wrong but divided America probably sharply contrasts
Massachusetts, John Edwards of South Car- wouldn't speak out because "we need to support with Pentagon propaganda that informs U.S.
olina and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, our troops" have blood on their hands. soldiers that their cause is the most just in the
along with Rep. Richard Gephardt of Mis- If people believe this war is wrong, when world and they should proceed to kill without
souri) they are all sure to at least criticize the U.S. troops invade, it doesn't change anything. the slightest hesitation or regret.
rush to war. Just because soldiers are risking their lives to If we criticize the war some soldiers will
However, despite reservations about the fight a war for the United States doesn't make feel their country is abandoning them. What we
war, they are all quick to add that should war protest against the war wrong. need to ask ourselves is whether we are more
come, they will dutifully step in line behind What exactly does it mean to support the concerned with the feelings of a few U.S. sol-
the president and stop criticizing the war. troops, anyway. If it means I hope they don't diers who may feel slightly discouraged know-
After all, they argue, it is wrong to criticize die, sure, then I support the troops. If support ing that people are against the war or are we
war once U.S. soldiers go in. means cheering them on and, in the words of more concerned that thousands and thousands
Kerry's quote is typical, "When the troops Dean, "You know, root for your country," of people will die. Those who default to blind
are in the field and fighting - if they're in the then I do not support our troops. I don't sup- support of out troops would rather see thou-
field and fighting - remembering what it's like port their goals, I don't support their motiva- sands die than hurt a few feelings. U.S. soldiers
to be those troops, I think they need a unified tion and I don't think this is a necessary war. are tough people, I bet they can handle it.
America that is prepared to win." Apparently Why would I silence myself once the bullets
Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, continues to wrongly start flying? If anything, it should increase Piskor can be reached
believe that it was a lack of desire for victory protest. It should be made clear that they are firstname.lastname@example.org.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
'U' alum: Students should
leave while they still can
To THE DAILY:
It goes without saying that we are in
extremely unstable political and economic
times. What most people fail to realize when
they hear about the often-mentioned budget cuts
and tuition increases at the University, is that
there are many more affordable routes to suc-
cess in any field that do not run through the
streets of Ann Arbor.
Many of you will soon enter the corporate
world, teach, practice law or take on many other
though, the outside world offers many choices
as opposed to elite universities, which offer the
same, over-priced, rambling, socialist lectures
as the next one.
Do yourself a favor in these chaotic times
and consider alternate avenues. Going $50,000-
60,000 in debt makes little sense when you can
get an affordable degree and solid experience at
the same time living at home or at least some-
where cheaper than Ann Arbor.
You will have more than enough time to
enjoy whatever the University is offering you
now, when you are living free of debt. As you
know, many highly successful, intelligent peo-
ple came from other paths than the $30,000-a-
year one you are on now. Get off while you can
columns (Pres deserves much of blame in Bonnie
scandal, 03/10/03, Bonnies, Bulldogs are cowardly
quitters, 03/11/03),I feel compelled to defend St
Bonaventure, at least to the point they can be
defended. I'm not saying it's OK to quit, but I
ask for a little empathy for the players who
made the decision.
At a time when they were trying to get their
spirits up for the A-10 tournament, they learned
that some officials in their school betrayed them.
Unlike the Fab Five scandal, the wrongdoing at
St. Bonaventure rests entirely on the administra-
tion. And the anger that caused in the players
resulted in their refusal to play out the season. Is
it OK to stop playing when things don't go your
way? No. But does it mean that St. Bonaventure
.... - - m