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March 25, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-25

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 25, 2003

OP/ED

at I ftveI"gtttt awdla

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
This is the first
down payment. There
is more to come, and
we should level with
the American people."
- Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W. V.) on
President Bush's request of
$74.7 billion for the war from
Congress,as reported by the BBC.

JOEL HOARD AND SCOTT SERILLA STc1x FIGURES A E AwEsomE

.,

Good evening, my
fellow Iraqis.

40

Once again, the hopeless
cowardly Americans are
back to repeat their
cowardly acts.

,

Sir, moustache!

V! U -! !,!ml- -r +...,..",

i

1

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1

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i

Iraq is as powerful as high
mountains. It will not be shaken
by the winds of evil; neither will
it be frightened, God willing, by
the hiss of American vipers.

We're off the air, sir.

Oh, sweet Jesus.
We're so screwed.

ryr>
,x.::

I

-1

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Deconstructing the structures of war
AUBREY HENRETTY NEUROTICA

Looks like the revo-
lution's going to
be televised, after
all. The fine folks at
CNN are doing a mar-
velous job of keeping
things lively so far,
replaying Friday's artful
explosions whenever the
sky over Iraq gets too
quiet for too many consecutive minutes.
They've even brought back the "America
Under Attack" feature music from the weeks
following Sept. 11, 2001 - presumably to
recapture the spirit of the day - only now
they play it in conjunction with the "War in
Iraq" graphics. Sneaky. Well done.
I won't pretend to be better than any of
this; I sat, riveted to the screen, with everyone
else and beheld as the first buildings went up
in smoke, as imbedded news correspondents
adjusted their gas masks and world leaders
confidently pledged God's allegiance to their
respective nations. Maybe I'm not as compas-
sionate as I'd like to b, but my first thoughts
as I watched those buildings go down were not
of the people who might have been inside, the
janitors and maintenance crews who almost
certainly left behind best friends, spouses,
favorite songs and lucky underwear. Instead, I
found myself oddly obsessed with the build-
ings themselves, with the act of destroying
buildings and what it signifies.
There are plenty of pragmatic reasons to
wipe out "enemy" buildings. It is, for
instance, much more difficult to hide in the
middle of the desert without a roof under

which to do so (and preferably a number of
surrounding roofs for camouflage). Build-
ings are useful storage facilities for impor-
tant documents and weapons and so forth;
demolishing them hits "enemy" higher-ups
where it hurts - in the physical and admin-
istrative structures that keep things running
smoothly. I don't dispute that. But there are
other forces at work here too, juvenile
assault tactics dangerously coupled with the
power to control people.
Buildings, like soldiers, are pawns on
the international chessboard of war. When
Iraqi troops capture, torture, maim and kill
their American counterparts and then send
videotaped proof to the media, they're not
doing it because they think the people
they've captured specifically pose that
great a threat; they're doing it to make the
other guy (i.e. President Bush) angry.
These actions, heinous as they may be, are
purely symbolic. Similarly, U.S. fighter
pilots don't drop bombs on Saddam's elab-
orate palaces because they think someone
would otherwise convert the grounds into
classy terrorist training camps; they do it
because of the psychological toll it will
take on Saddam et al. The shock and awe
associated with the near-instantaneous
destruction of mighty man-made structures
notwithstanding, no one likes to have his
toys taken away.
But the most common targets are not
palaces; they're high-rises and boxy build-
ings in Baghdad, structures in which average
citizens once had offices and coffee mugs.
Watching one or nine of these get blown to

smithereens by meddlesome U.S. missiles
will surely annoy the dictator, but not nearly
as much as it will annoy the people who
built those buildings and will likely have to
build them again after the war. Tales of per-
sonal toil and rightfully peeved construction
workers aside, a solid and functional build-
ing is an architectural wonder, a testament to
human ingenuity, an all-too-rare demonstra-
tion of what people can accomplish when
they work together. So in a sense, bombing
a building is a symbolically perfect act of
war; it shows the "enemy" that no amount of
teamwork will get him out of this one, and it
shows the world what happens when the
dark side of human nature prevails.
It may seem self-indulgent to wax
metaphorical on a subject so literal as war,
to dare propose analogies while boys who
can't legally buy beer in the United States
are dying so far from home. Maybe thinking
about war in terms of lost skyscrapers rather
than lost personality quirks and devastated
families and friends betrays in me a CNN-
like desire to romanticize tragedy and hold
a captive audience. But it's so important -
in the face of a reality so gruesome as war
- to ground the gut revulsion nearly every-
one feels at the sight of bloody soldiers and
starving children on something more logi-
cal. War is every bit as horrific as these
images suggest, but so are the abstractions
that lead nations to it. When violence
becomes an allegory, all bets are off.
Henretty can be reached
at ahenrett@umich.edu.

0

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Daily's stance on Spring
Break does not represent
majority of students
To THE DAILY:
The Daily's editorial regarding its opposi-
tion to moving spring break (Spring Broke,
03/21/03) clearly shows a failed opportunity
for it to keep its mouth shut. An overwhelm-
ing majority of the student population at the
University (80 percent, by last year's vote) is
in favor of the move, and the faculty's Senate
Assembly voted 74-1 in support, as well.
For those students who opt to travel for
Spring Break, moving it back a week would
allow them to actually meet people from
other universities. The week designated for
break now matches virtually no other col-
leges' breaks; thus it is entirely possible to
spend a week in Acapulco and meet zero
non-Wolverines. When I want to party with
University students, I'll go to Rick's, thank
you very much.
Even students who opt to stay around
the University, or even travel home, would
see advantages of moving Spring Break. As
a student who has spent two Spring Breaks
in sunny suburban Detroit, it would be nice
to have friends from other universities
home at the same time, to offer relief from
my parents and dog.
These points, combined with the idea
that midterms and papers would all be
before break, show that a change is in
order. The Daily may be right that the
underlying reasons for moving spring break
are party-oriented, but hey, this is college,
right? The Daily is supposed to aim to be
the voice of the students, but in this case
they missed by a long shot.
KYLE METEYER
LSA junior
'U' has failed to make
moral case for affirmative
action to its students
To THE DAILY:
While voters' failure to support affirma-
tive action (by a narrow margin) in just-fin-
ished Michigan Student Assembly elections
shouldn't be sensationalized, it's still real and
should be explored. Do students really want
"more info," a choice besides "yes" or "no"
on the ballot? With the April 1 Supreme
Court date coming right up. how much longer

often of color (e.g., black attorneys Theodore
Shaw of NAACP-LDF and Godfrey Dillard)
have been excluded by University from
Supreme Court oral argument time. How can
the University preach integration and diversi-
ty when it doesn't even practice it?
The debate over exclusion of interveners
has been going on for weeks now, and has
probably disillusioned various people with
the University's defense of affirmative
action. If the University wishes to show it
believes its own supposed ideals, it should
immediately file with the court to ensure that
intervenors get at least five minutes in oral
arguments (they'd asked for 10).
The University and its legal team have,
since October, failed to keep the cases from
ascending to the Supreme Court; failed to sat-
isfy interveners' desire to participate in oral
arguments; failed to overturn a $250,000 sex-
ual harassment judgment won for ex-student
Maureen Johnson against the University by
intervener attorney Miranda Massie (and win-
ner Massie is now excluded from April 1 oral
arguments); failed so far to provide buses to
Washington (as the Law School provided
buses to the 2001 Cincinnati appeals court
hearing) or to cancel classes on April 1 to
facilitate student participation (Rutgers Law
School is canceling classes); and have now
failed to command a plurality - much less a
majority - of students polled by MSA about
affirmative action. That adds uli to a lot of
failures. Students should contact President
Mary Sue Coleman at marysuec@umich.edu,
and anyone else they know in the administra-
tion, to advocate at least five minutes of court
time for the interveners, and to get the Uni-
versity to stop stumbling over itself so inces-
santly in the fight for affirmative action.
DAVID BOYLE
Alumnus
Schwartz writes from ivory
tower, sounds like every
other liberal apologist
To THE DAILY:
Jon Schwartz's column in the Daily yes-
terday (Give intercession a chance, 03/24/03)
was really a travesty, but typical of the pseu-
do-analysis propagated by the entire so-called
liberal establishment in attempting to justify
the war in Iraq. He swallows whole-hog the
propaganda given by the government, and
distributed by the media, that this is a war
"for every one of us," that this is a war to
make the world safe from Saddam. Schwartz
elop not evencare toadesera. so . n tha

your ivory tower and take a look around. Per-
haps you might notice that the enormous
opposition to this war is a reflection of the
intense social contradictions in the United
States, a reflection of the fact that the govern-
ment that is carrying out this war is con-
trolled by a social oligarchy of wealth and
privilege, an oligarchy to which you no doubt
aspire. Please Schwartz, take your govern-
ment post or your job at CNN, but spare us
your pious words.
JOE TANNIRU
LSA senior
Students for Social Equality
Res hall libraries a
wonderful 'U' resource;
librarians are their core
To THE DAILY:
I work at the Mosher-Jordan Residence
Hall library, where my boss, the head librarian,
is currently in negotiations because she and
her peers have been undercompensated for the
great amounts of work that they do. Although
the University boasts one of the best residence
hall library systems in the country, the Univer-
sity refuses to acknowledge the importance of
these employees and the work that they do.
I wish that the people making these deci-
sions on behalf of the University could really
see how important these libraries are to the
vibrancy of the residence halls. Our library is
a beautiful place, and maintains a friendly,
down-to-earth atmosphere with music, fun
employees and comfortable couches. Resi-
dence hall residents do their homework here,
they hang out, read magazines, pick out
movies, chat, attend programs like Super
Bowl parties, make-your-own-valentines
workshops and so many great other things -
I even see residents reading our displays and
books. We are also a fabulous resource for all
those things students need in order to take a
break from the daily grind of homework -
movies, CDs, comic books, magazines. To
take care of all this, we have an unreliable
catalogue system, myriad organizational
needs and equipment and training to process
all of these materials.
Our head librarian spends many hours
every week coordinating all of these things.
She is truly the core of this library - making
sure her staff is comfortable, confident and
able to ensure that our library remains the
amazing resource that it can be.
I cannot understand why the University,

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THE BOONDOCKS

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