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March 19, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-19

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 19, 2003

OP/ED

Ulbe Ā£citgauim I~f &

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

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

LOUIE MEIZLISH
Editor in Chief
AUBREY HENRETTY
ZAC PESKOWITZ
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.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
ttI think I'd
probably have a
better chance of being
elected pope than we
have of Mr. Saddam
Hussein leaving the
country."
- Capt. Thomas Parker, from aboard
the US.S. Kittyhawk, on the possibility of
Saddam Hussein leaving Iraq, as quoted
yesterday by The Associated Press.

Mc. Pces
larag'

SAM BUTLER IiE SOAPBOX

ide4 -lnce.tS 4 Wek whn --e~ l ar in9
oup C- ~l-wt o bay Klled g

A-
7

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On the eve of destruction
KASHIF SHEIKHI- FROM THE WASTEBIN OF HISTORY
T he United Nations ment to rebuilding war-tom Afghanistan in what post-Saddam era.
remains unyielding, turned out to be a deceptive PR move to legit- Meanwhile, the war on terror has long since
the White House imize the horrific bombing campaign that fol- taken a back seat to the war on Iraq, in a move
has jumped off the coali- lowed. The United States has since largely that FBI whistleblower (and Time Magazine
tion bandwagon, war withdrawn and left the mess to a powerless Woman of the Year) Coleen Rowley believes
seems imminent, and all leader who recently pleaded to Congress for will bring about "an exponential increase in the
blame is on the veto-wield- help to reestablish some order there. But up until terror threat." So why is the terrorism excuse
ing French. While our dili- that point, according to Foreign Operations Sub- being used to justify war when the administra-
gent Congress decides on committee Chairman Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), the tion knows it will only exacerbate animosity
the latest finger foods to bloated 2003 budget proposal had actually towards the United States? Because after Sept.
de-Frenchify and freedomize, Bush has issued excluded any aid to Afghanistan. Sorry. 11, the war on terror is a very persuasive front.
an expiring 48-hour ultimatum based on Though administration officials pledged it But if Saddam's despotic inhumanity is an issue,
groundless allegations and many Americans would not happen again, this is the kind of com- then why is he allowed to go into exile? Would
have unquestionably taken the bait. mitment to expect in postwar Iraq. It is a fantasy Congress have authorized war if it had known
Two weeks ago, U.N. inspectors revealed that this exercise in nation building will set a that his nukes don't exist? Were the forged doc-
that the United States relied heavily on forged beacon for democracy in the Middle East when uments on Iraq's nonexistent nuclear program
reports to attest to Iraq's suspected nuclear we have Guatemala, Chile, Vietnam and now meant to deceive the public into supporting an
weapons program - a charge that Mohamed Afghanistan (among others), to prove that this otherwise unpopular war?
ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic has never been the motive or the result. History, Mere hours from Bush's deadline, the ques-
Energy Agency, has dismissed as patently false. it seems, is bound to repeat itself- it is only a tions go unanswered. The push for war, despite
This, after Secretary of State Colin Powell uti- matter of months. all the loose ends, is enough to make one wonder
lized British "intelligence" as proof in his pre- On a brighter note, the Dow Jones is up over whether the White House has been set on Iraq
sentation to the U.N. Security Council that later 3 percent this week as investors anticipate a since the day they knew they might get away
turned out to be plagiarized, word for word, short and decisive war, and it's sure to send with it. At 8 p.m. tonight, Bush faces his own
from a California graduate student's thesis. more than a few stocks surging. American com- moment of truth. In the presence of real threats to
As if the Bush administration's credibility panies have been eager to bank in on the recon- peace and freedom, the White House must show
couldn't get worse, Powell is still convinced that struction, and according to The Wall Street some backbone or risk becoming irrelevant.
he has "better information than the inspectors." Journal, a contract worth $900 million was up The drums of war grow more deafening by
Whether this is part of a larger disinformation for bid well before the United States closed the the hour. The Ides of March may have come and
campaign is under scrutiny, but the White diplomatic window. Among the players: Vice gone without incident but the oracles still fore-
House has not ceased pushing the nuclear President Dick Cheney's troubled oil construc- see a bitter course for the future, while all
weapons lie. tion firm - Halliburton - and Bechtel, an around the world the sirens are blaring:
Since that debacle, the administration has engineering giant with deep ties to the Reagan BEWARE THE HEGEMON. On the brink of
placed greater focus on diverting public atten- and Bush administrations. Each had a stake in an unjustified war, it is the third-world ghosts of
tion to the supposed liberation of Iraq and the Kuwait 10 years ago, and each will have priority our government's hubris and a complacent
establishment of a democracy there. Now in restoring Iraq's oil industry. That American nation's failure to act that will inevitably return
America dreams of a scenario where Iraq's firms have been first in line has already outraged to haunt us.
reconstruction takes first priority, but recent his- the U.K., our partner in this gamble, and only
tory proves otherwise. Shortly after Sept. 11, the reaffirms to the international community what it Sheikh can be reached
Bush administration made a similar commit- sees as an American motive to profiteer in a at ksheikh@umich.edu.
A brief primer on MSA elections
PETER CUNNIFFE ONE FOR THE ROAD
G TTniversity poli- squeaker last year to the Students First Party Affirmative Action Party. DAAP has had its
tics," Henry and a pathetic showing in the fall elections, ups and downs over the years, but seems to
K i s s i n g e r Blue has gone the way of its Students Party have settled (involuntarily) into the role of
famously cracked, "are forbearer. being a minor fixture with most of it seats com-
vicious precisely because The disappearance of old parties never ing from graduate programs.
the stakes are so small." means lack of competition because new par- Aware that broad-based (in name at least)
There are all kinds of ties spring up in just about every winter elec- parties do the best and of the problems even
politics at this university tion. They're often run by those with MSA explicitly liberal parties have getting elected, a
and yes, the stakes are experience and ambition, but who were left recurring phenomenon over the years has been
usually small (hey, we out of office or opportunities for advancement groups of conservatives forming mainstream-
have to practice for the real world somewhere) by the electoral success of a party they didn't sounding parties to try to get themselves onto
and they can indeed be vicious (though no belong to. Parties are the vehicles most stu- MSA. They have had varying degrees of suc-
more so than anywhere else). Recent political dents use to run and win elections. They're cess, from the nonstarting New Frontier Party,
flare-ups have included everything from often driven by a few people who build an to the disgraced and disqualified Wolverine
protests over war and affirmative action to the organization and slate of candidates around Party, to the relatively successful Michigan
pitched battles between student groups on dif- their own candidacies. I imagine this is the Party. One way to pick these parties out is that
ferent sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to reason parties tend to fall apart so easily; with- they usually explicitly campaign against the
boycotts of certain publications. out the original energy of founders focused on widely-criticized (though I doubt it moves
Student politics here take the more con- a goal they were driven enough to take the many votes) practice of passing MSA resolu-
ventional electoral form too, but compared to time and expense to form a whole party to tions on national issues, which are often used to
elections for state and national offices, the achieve, parties often can't compete with express support for liberal causes.
politics of the elections for the University's newer and more motivated challengers. That would indicate this year's primarily
student government, the Michigan Student While it sounds like a preposterous princi- conservative party is the new University Party;
Assembly, aren't all that vicious - though ple for a political party, those parties that do the which is merely a hypothesis, though they are
they can certainly be dirty. Nary a year goes best in elections are those that purport to be running a candidate, Adam Haba, who wrote a
by without some scandal like the "shots for reaching out to and representing everybody and bizarre e-mail forwarded widely around cam-
votes" incident, voting with stolen unignames all their views. Niche players don't usually fare pus in which he responded to an invitation to an
and passwords, or campaigners improperly very well, even when the niches appear quite African American cultural show, by writing,
influencing voting. The infractions are usual- large. Take the University Democrats, for among other things, "I refuse to sit through an
ly discovered however, and the campaigns are example, a party that, given the political demo- hour of 'I hate whitey' racial slurs, in your
relatively civil. The elections can be incredi- graphics of the student body, might have been 'nazi-esque' attempt to convince me that I am
bly competitive though. I've seen more stu- expected to do quite well on the basis of its the cause of your oppression, for the sole rea-
dent political parties chewed up in MSA name alone (though it sported an impressive list son that I am white." On the plus side, their
election cycles than I can remember. There of student groups backing it as well). Its candi- website does contain the best campaign line
was the once dominant Students Party, which, dates fared poorly, winning only a handful of I've ever seen: "Tracy Bell loves Taco Bell!"
after a bad loss to a party created by defectors seats in two elections before fading from the Vicious.
from their own ranks (the Blue Party) quickly scene. Another niche player - and the oldest
fell apart. Blue itself lasted an impressive 4 existing party - is the often controversial, Cunnife can be reached
years, but with its loss of the presidency in a often marginal, but uniquely resilient Defend atpcunnif#@umich.edu.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0

Article on Holocaust vigil
fails to mention Poles
TO THE DAILY:
In the article Victims remembered in 24-
hour ceremony (03/13/2003), the Daily
reported: "Holocaust victims included a
range of groups, including Jews, Russians,
homosexuals, communists, socialists, Jeho-
vah's Witnesses, Gypsies and the handi-
capped." Here, the Daily made a glaring

that the first group of prisoners sent to the
German concentration camp, Auschwitz, con-
sisted exclusively of Christian Poles. I would
be very grateful for a correction to the incom-
plete information.
JERZY PETRYNIAK
Biology research fellow
'Mathematical illiteracy'
demonstrated in NCAA
article dangerous to public

each possible first round combination, there
are 16 second-round games with two possible
winners each, all the way up to the final
game. This makes the number of possible
brackets two to the power of 63, or
9,223,372,036,854,775,808.
In these dangerous times of war and
threats to civil liberties, mathematical
skills are one of the public's only defenses
against propaganda. While the NCAA is a
relatively trivial example, statistics about
public policy abound, and if the public is
mathematically illiterate, they won't know
what to believe.

THE BOONDOCKS
rn uni i neic -

.A ARCYNM.('RIDR-

HIN~T WiAD m I/ v r rnn mD -Dryv DA

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