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March 26, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-03-26

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 26, 2003

OP/ED

Ulbe L wchigmi k

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
Unfortunately,
we do not believe
them."
- Adnan Hamid, an Iraqi refugee in
Jordan, on the idea of the Americans being
"liberators, "as quoted yesterday by the BBC.

SAM BUTLER Tiirm S3APB::X
T ihe. waJA~
C E 1' UrO\
BA cD,4.&

The absent logic of sheep
JESS PISKOR THIs SPACE NOT FOR SALE

have respect for peo-
ple who support this
war for logical rea-
sons. While I disagree,
there are people on this
campus and around our
country who have decent
reasons for being, as the
media calls them, "pro-
war." However, I have
no respect for those who question the appro-
priateness of opposition to the war. I am
embarrassed that people take the position that
in times of war, we must reduce our protest
and stand in unity behind our troops.
In Jon Schwartz's column in Monday's
Daily, Give intercession a chance, Schwartz fol-
lows the lead of our president and gives us a
choice roughly parallel to "you're either with us
or against us: You either support our troops or
you are anti-war." This false dichotomy is
painfully common. The apolitical statement of
support for soldiers' wellbeing reveals nothing
about an individual's opinion about war. People
who are anti-war can support troops as well -
the two are not mutually exclusive.
The underlying assumption behind this logic
is that people who argue against the war once it
has started are unappreciative of the common
soldier, unappreciative of their own freedom and
secretly wish for the triumph of Saddam Hus-
sein. Somehow, protest against war has become
equated with disrespect for he sacrifice of sol-
diers and anti-Americanism.
The start of war isn't the death knell for
protest. The day war begins demands com-
ment from anti-war coalition forces. People

who swung from opposition to the war to full-
hearted support once soldiers were in battle
display their moral relativism.
These fickle people had their opinions
changed from one day to the next by the simple
action of starting a war. Think about the awful
precedent this sets. According to this logic, all a
president must do to gain approval for a war is
to start fighting.
This specious logic is readily apparent in
much of the superficial analysis of the current
protest movement. People find fault with those
who protest war as the first bombs fall. Instead
of protesting an event as it happens, apparently
it would be better if everyone stays silent until
the war is over, then we can all look back and
say, "Oh yeah, I was opposed to that war."
Instead of immediate action and attempts to end
this war while still in its infancy, some people
would rather wait four or five years until it
becomes painfully obvious that we should have
been fighting against this war from day one.
Schwartz wonders, "why are we so
unwilling to give this intercession (war) a
chance?" He argues that is wasn't until 1970
that major protests were held to end the Viet-
nam War, claiming that it took that long to
find out for sure it was "hopeless and
wrong." I wonder why people are willing to
wait six years before we begin to wonder if
war is the correct action. After all, there are
kids our age dying over there right now.
The comparison to our parents' protest is
understandable, though misguided. The anti-war
movement today might appear to follow in the
footsteps of our parents. After all, many anti-
war activists fit the stereotypes that media and

popular culture associate with protest. Some
bang drums, sing songs, wear hemp and carry
signs urging the government to decrease defense
spending, but people who are anti-war today
aren't your parents' protesters. Today's move-
ment is far more inclusive, far broader and far
more focused. It is an international group of
everyday people from every walk of life and
every nationality, ethnicity, race and class.
Some might be trying 'to live up to their parents,
but unlike our parents who primarily opposed
the war because they were personally fearful of
the draft, the movement today is against the war
for moral, political, humanitarian, environmen-
tal and a full spectrum of other reasons.
Certainly, some anti-war arguments are
reductionist and maybe some of the protest is
centered too much on dislike of George W.
Bush. But people on both sides are guilty of
these lapses. Within a coalition as wide and
inclusive as the anti-war movement, one should
expect differing opinions on the reasons to
oppose war. Here on our elite campus, anti-war
coalition forces are following the goings on of
the war and its ramifications far closer than most.
Schwartz misses the mark completely when
he says, "the anti-war protesters on this campus,
though, are too caught up in organizing their ral-
lies and making their signs to examine the way
that issues change." Instead, it seems Schwartz,
and others like him who blindly follow our lead-
ership in times of war, are too caught up in
drinking at the bar and following their basket-
ball brackets to examine the way issues change.
Piskor can be reached
atjpiskor@umich&edu,

0
S

We hold these truths to be self-evident Humanism 2.0
DAVID HORN HORNOGRAPHY

esterday on this
page, my col-
league Aubrey
Henretty considered the
symbolic and psycho-
logical effects of mater-
ial damage in the
American-Iraqi war.
Her points were impor-
tant ones: The build-
ings we destroy are metaphysical extensions
of the people we are seeking to "liberate," and
can at times be as psychologically devastating
to a defending soldier as the death of a com-
rade in another battle.
But nothing - nothing - is more funda-
mental to appreciating the sobering effects of
war than a tempered and objective understand-
ing of the destruction of individual life.
When we wage war we are not waging war
on an army, but on a collection of individuals.
An army is an arbitrary, political body; the indi-
vidual's body - her flesh and blood and mind
and spirit - is unconditionally sacred. So when
we listen to the news broadcasts and read the
papers, we must be careful not to allow our-
selves to be pacified by the benign language and
convenient euphemisms that make war more
palatable to a skeptical American public.
From less than five minutes of CNN's
broadcast early Tuesday morning: "The Brits
took a combat fatality there today ... The city
is in some kind of humanitarian crisis ... At
the risk of harming civilians ... More evi-
dence of fierce shelling, involving Marines
... We had good results on this mission. It's
the start of grinding down one of the key
Republican Guard divisions ..."

Think. What does "grinding down" entail on
the micro level? A lot of blood and ruptured
flesh and suffering. CNN, of course, is not in a
position where it can describe the horrific per-
sonal experiences of our enemies, or increasing-
ly our own soldiers, without sickening and
alienating its audience. I would argue though,
that unless Osama bin Laden was correct in his
estimation that Americans haven't the stomach
for war, news outlets have an obligation to hon-
estly report the horrible reality of war. Many of
my friends in the peace camp, and many friends
who are vehemently pro-war, have told me that
they have a hard time even hearing those rela-
tively gentle reports. I ask them to watch and
read and take it all in, and seek out more
detailed descriptions of our army's.actions: This
is what our country is doing and this is what war
means. Regardless of how you feel about the
war, understand that the destruction of individ-
ual life is its necessary component.
The major media outlets have realized that
their audiences may not have the "stomach for
war." But if Americans do not really want to see
what our armies are doing in the desert, then
Americans do not really want to support Presi-
dent Bush and his means of disarming Iraq.
And "good results?" Good results in war are
a tricky thing to gauge. I had hoped, and now
believe, that our nation's military is making an
earnest effort to strike precisely and to avoid
civilian casualties. Thus far it seems as if that
effort has been moderately successful. But the
distinction between a civilian Iraqi life and that
of an Iraqi "soldier" is frighteningly arbitrary,
and is created for the sake of justifying the vio-
lence that necessarily accompanies warfare.
And as we near Baghdad and face increased

paramilitary and guerrilla opposition, doesn't
the distinction between one of Saddam's foot
soldiers and an anti-American nationalist
become dangerously blurred?
I watched one of CNN's correspondents tell
a story of the American cavalry division with
which he is embedded, in which the division
returned fire on a civilian home because an Iraqi
soldier or paramilitary resistor fired upon their
tanks from inside the house. The result was the
house's destruction, and the death of its inhabi-
tants, which included two Iraqi children. Iraq
reports that there have been 78 civilian deaths,
and though I do not trust the information report-
ed by the Iraqi government, I sense that if the
number isn't that high yet it certainly will be
before our conquest of Baghdad is complete.
The horror of war - the deliberate infliction
of pain, suffering and death upon other human
beings - is happening in Iraq. Our media is
sugarcoating it, as our media tends to do. The
Pentagon and others have observed that the
overwhelmingly comprehensive coverage that
the war receives highlights the minute, and fails
to offer a larger context to this captive American
audience. And while they are correct in their
observation, it is important to realize that every
shot fired, every injury and casualty suffered
and every instance of material or human
destruction is vital to appreciating and under-
standing what our army is accomplishing in
Iraq. That said, American needs to take owner-
ship of this war and the destruction of life that
accompanies it.
Keep watching.
Horn can be reached
at hornd@umich.edu.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

DAily business stffs decision
to suspend ads is 'censorship'
To THE DAILY:
In the article, Campustruth.org ads spark
controversy (03/24/03), the Daily's Jeff Valuck
is quoted as saying, "We must reconsider run-
ning the ads if the community does not want
them." Mr. Valuck, we do not live in Egypt,
and you are not a dictator. We cannot suppress
free speech in advertisements simply because
the message may not be in accordance with
our own. Furthermore, there is a constituency
of students on this campus who agree with the
advertisements, and Valuck has no authority to
determine that "the community does not want

ads is both ironic and offensive. They seek to
silence free speech in advertisements that
highlight the moral difference between legiti-
mate Israeli acts of self defense, and the wan-
ton, murderous acts of Arab terrorists. How
ironic that under the guise of "academic free-
dom," these same people invited Islamic Jihad
terrorist Sami Al-Arian and Holocaust revi-
sionist Norman Finkelstein to campus this
year. It is nothing shy of revolting that they
support the rights of such vitriolic anti-Semi-
tes to speak on campus, but refuse the right of
campustruth to tell it like it is: The Palestinian
Arabs celebrated Sept. 11, and make national
heroes out of murderers of Jews. The root of
the Arab-Israeli conflict is the concerted,
organized and intentional campaign in Pales-
tinian government-controlled mosques,

Daily business staff should
discontinue publication of
'racist' ads altogether
To THE DAILY:
I just wanted to send a short note of
appreciation for the Daily's decision to sus-
pend publication of the racist advertise-
ments from a non-University organization
that were promoting prejudice against the
Palestinian people in the paper.
Everyone I've spoken with who saw the
ads was surprised to see them in the first
place, particularly with the allegations of
racism leveled against the Daily last term.

6
0

THE BOONDOCKS AARON MCGRU:D1:ER

Ms. Latifah

, 1.- 1

Recent accusations of a less-than-

ThAT DOESN'T MEAN WE

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