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April 16, 2003 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-04-16

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 16, 2003


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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.

Bashar Assad is
dangerous. His
judgment is impaired."
-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in an
interview with the Yedioth Ahronoth daily.




Pun" RS"

If this be treason

hief weapons
inspector Hans
Blix is convinced
the United Nations was
taken for a ride, according
to an interview with the
Spanish newspaper El
Pais, because the White
House was never really
that concerned with Iraq's
alleged weapons threat. From the forged evi-
dence and still-unsubstantiated claims desper-
ately used to garner world support, Blix says
it's evident that this war was planned long in
That an illegal weapons site has yet to be
uncovered has long since faded from the head-
lines. Now Baghdad is lawless after a power
vacuum has left the city in the hands of enraged
looters who have robbed or sacked businesses
and government offices, stopping only when-
there's nothing left to steal. In a Pentagon brief-
ing, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld joked
how "freedom's untidy. And free people are free
to make mistakes and commit crimes and do
bad things." Mr. Rumsfeld: No one is laughing.
Iraqis remain suspicious as to why most
areas of Baghdad were unguarded by the Amer-
icans while the Oil Ministry and many of Iraq's
oil fields have long since been heavily fortified.
One angry resident vented at The Washington
Post: "Is it because they just want our oil?"
I wish it were that simple. But then again,
liberations seldom are.
Rumsfeld still wonders what went wrong
between himself and Saddam back in 1983,
Iraq's first meeting with a top-ranking Ameri-
can official in six years, when he presented the
dictator with a gift of golden cowboy spurs. As
the Middle East envoy acting on behalf of

George Shultz, then secretary of state under
Ronald Reagan and former president of Bechtel
Corp., Rumsfeld spent a year wooing Saddam
as he massacred Iranian soldiers with nerve gas.
Memos show he never condemned Iraq's
use of U.S.-provided chemical weapons for
fear of harming what turned out to be his real
agenda - selling a $2 billion oil pipeline
across Iraq to Jordan, built by Bechtel. The
proposal failed and relations with Iraq again
turned sour. History underwent a vast revision
by the Bush administration and all memory of
Rumsfeld's courting of Saddam was erased, so
that 20 years later they were able to dupe the
United States into believing that the current
war had nothing to do with oil.
Bechtel, former supplier of chemical
weapons technology to Saddam, is one of three
American corporations with a $1 billion stake
in "rebuilding" Iraq's oil industry. Vice Presi-
dent Dick Cheney's Halliburton is another.
The substantial pension he continues to receive
from the oft-troubled company raised concern
when Halliburton received a no-bid contract in
Iraq worth up to $7 billion, and an investigation
into the matter is pending.
Crooks of the same feather flock together,
or so goes the proverb. Cheney, Rumsfeld and
Pentagon advisor Dick Perle (also pending
investigation for illegal conflicts of interest
related to this war) are among administration
officials who have tapped international crimi-
nal Ahmed Chalabi for a leadership post in
Iraq, to the chagrin of the Arab world. Sen-
tenced in absentia by Jordan for his role in the
collapse of Petra Bank in 1990, Chalabi cost
shareholders over $500 million as he fled pros-
ecution in a car trunk.
Chalabi now heads the Iraqi National Con-
gress that is sponsored by an odd blend of self-

interests including the Pentagon and White
House, neoconservative hawks and pro-Israel
lobbies, all of whom feel the INC is most fit to
lead Iraq. But it is the motives of this cabal that
make the INC the worst candidate as it pushes
for a pro-Western puppet government that will
eagerly accede to American hegemony, right-
wing Israeli demands and oil exploitation over
a true democracy, which has always been least
of their concerns.
As the media parades the same images of
children kissing soldiers, 12 people are killed
and 100 injured when coalition troops open
fire on angry protesters. While the world
decides whether it's liberation or imperialism,
a group of 20,000 Shiite Iraqis chant "No
America, no Saddam" outside a meeting
where the United States is to seal Iraq's fate.
This is not freedom - it's just another occu-
pation. Saddam is gone, but liberation will
come only when the Bush administration and
its cronies stop exploiting this human ideal as
a front for their own dishonest agenda.
If this war is treason, then these hawks have
certainly made the most of it. Under the facade
of self-righteousness and religious authority,
the White House and its neocon ilk are account-
able for exploiting Sept. 11 to push initiatives
that should never have flown: tax cuts for the
wealthy, two PATRIOT Acts, two wars, a
nation-building failure, profiteering in Iraq and
dominance of the Arab world - all as the
economy suffers, international coalitions are
torn, anti-American sentiment rages, and the
blood money flows freely through Washington.
And they'll be long gone while we're still
suffering the blowback. Brace yourselves.



Sheikh can be reached
at ksheikh@umich.edu.


'Anti-anti-war individuals'
should consider following
before demanding apologies
In Monday's Daily, David Kaplan
requested an apology from all anti-war
protesters (War protesters, naysayers on
Bush admin. should apologize for folly of
ways, 04/14/03). Because the war in Iraq is
going well for the United States and many
Iraqi people are happy about it, he believes
the protesters have been proven wrong and
should express remorse for doubting the
wisdom of the administration. For the ben-
efit of Kaplan and other anti-anti-war indi-
viduals, I hereby present several reasons
why anti-war protesters should not apolo-
First, there is absolutely nothing unpa-
triotic about expressing your disagreement
with the president. It is popular in some
circles to say that peace activists should
keep quiet because people have fought and
died to give them the right to be peace
activists. The idea, apparently, is that mil-
lions should have died so that their coun-
trymen would not be free to oppose the
government when they disagree with its
actions on moral grounds.
War is not a football game. Expressing
disapproval when you disagree with a war
does not constitute a lack of team spirit,
and cloaking yourself in the team colors
does not put you on the right side. I have
yet to meet a peace activist who did not
support our troops, and part of that support
is the desire to keep them out of dangerous
situations when war is not called for.
Second, winning the battle for Iraq does
not mean winning the war on terrorism. I
hope President Bush is right and the Iraqi
people do end up far better off for our
intervention. The same goes for
Afghanistan. But al-Qaida and its potential
recruits are less likely to see the United
States as the savior of the Iraqi people than
to see us as an imperialist aggressor attack-
ing Islam for oil. If we want to stop terror-
ism, we would do well to avoid engaging in
the sorts of activities that help al-Qaida
find new recruits.
Third, we are sending messages to other
leaders in the Middle East that we would
rather not send. Examples: develop your
nuclear weapons quickly so the United

nalization for making money for the oil
company executives that have always been
close to Bush and Vice President Dick
Cheney. In other words, the fact that the
Iraqi people are happy right now does not
mean this is not about oil (though it might
not be).
Fifth, no one should ever apologize for
stating considered opinions on matters of
national importance. Welcome to the
democratic process. I say my piece, you
say yours, and if everything is working
right, the people in Washington pay atten-
tion and act accordingly. If we declare it
morally wrong to honestly misapprehend
the outcome of the government's actions,
dissent becomes much more difficult, and
our democracy becomes a sham.
Incidentally, I have not participated in
peace protests, and I do not consider
myself an activist. I am simply fed up with
the view that supporting war is always
patriotic and supporting peace is treason.
Thank you for letting me say my piece.
U.S.-led war in Iraq violates
international law
With regard to David Kaplan's letter
about war protesters:
An apology from the war protesters?
Why would anyone apologize for a politi-
cal view? I am a war protester, and proud
of it. I protest because I believe that at this
point in human existence we can peacefully
work things out, and if we can't, then the
world should be behind the force that
removes dictators from power. The world I
am of course alluding to is the United
Nations. It is a representative of world
opinion with virtually every state around
the world has an equal vote, and therefore
an input in world affairs. But we don't like
to talk about world opinion here.
If you study any international politics
you'll quickly begin to realize there is no
such thing as an objective view of the
world from a state's perspective. In the
system in place for their own self interests
with complete disregard to the well-being
of others. But Kaplan probably has not
studied up on his international politics

But these things probably matter little
to most people, because we ousted the bad
guy, right? Well, we did it while breaking
international law. If you go and check out
the U.N. Charter, Article 2, sub-section 4,
you'll read the following:
"All Members shall refrain in their
international relations from the threat or
use of force against the territorial integrity
or political independence of any state, or in
any other manner inconsistent with the Pur-
poses of the United Nations."
That means that a UN member nation
cannot use force to force a regime change
in another state. So what we have said to
the world is that the rules apply, but only
when we want them to. We stand up for
liberty and justice and can't even follow
the rules that we have agreed to when we
signed the U.N. Charter? Where is the lib-
erty and justice for all in that?
One final note: Will Arab states be
friendly to us because we just invaded
another Arab state? That's pretty out there.
Go check out what's going on with Israel
and Palestine these days and you'll see
how much the other Arab countries like
Israel. We're doing the same thing.
Engineering sophomore
Naysayer on Bush admin.
apologizes for folly of ways
How do I feel about protests now? Well
they must have been a bad idea, now that
we've liberated Iraq. I mean since we
found all of Saddam's nuclear weapons
that were pointed at U.S. cities, confiscat-
ed his caches of chemical and biological
weapons, I feel much safer. Seeing Sad-
dam and Osama led off to U.S. firing
squads reminded me what this war was all
about, making the world safe for contrac-
tors from Halliburton to rebuild a country
that we just dropped a few billion dollars
worth of bombs onto.
I think the only thing left to do now is
to send a nice letters to the hundreds of
millions of people living under other brutal
dictatorships, I'm sure we'll get around to
violating the national sovereignty soon. I
don't know why anyone protested in the
first place - look at what a good job we




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