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September 16, 2002 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-16

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4A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 16, 2002


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SINCE 1890

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

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.

Anyone who believes
that Mr. Bush might
turn back now has not
been following the path
of a president who,
by his own account, never
second-guesses a decision."
- New York Times columnist Frank Rich
in a Saturday op-ed piece entitled
"Never Forget What?" about the
impending war with Iraq.


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~~iS in ener'al

New products or old priorities?

it's fall and time to
unveil the new prod-
uct lines in Washing-
ton. This year's product,
as White House Chief of
Staff Andrew Card help-
fully explained to The
New York Times, is a
war against Iraq. It was
little mystery that this
particular rollout was likely. There have been
rumblings about it for months and Iraq is a
longtime fixation in the conservative media cir-
cles this administration is attuned to. They've
been screaming for Saddam Hussein's head
since before anyone had ever heard of the Axis
of Evil - claiming in every way they could
think of that Saddam Hussein was moments
from bringing catastrophe upon us.
As Dick Cheney warned on Meet the
Press, the United States "may well become
the target" of Iraq's chemical weapons (and,
it was implied, his nuclear weapons soon
enough). The "get Saddam" media contingent
still does everything from claim he was
responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks to confi-
dently assert that once Hussein is gone and
replaced with a pro-U.S. democracy, it will
trigger waves of revolutions throughout the
Muslim world and before you know it, all the
evilness will have been replaced by liberal
democracies clamoring to sell us cheap oil.
Of course.
The war boosters even try to win over a few
of the human rights types by occasionally
pointing out that most Iraqis want Hussein, a
notoriously cruel ruler, gone as well.
But of course they do. We want him gone
and we're not even the ones who have to live
with the lunatic. I can't think of anyone who

would argue Iraq wouldn't be better off with a
less cartoonishly maniacal leader, but that isn't
the issue. Plenty of countries are run badly by
terrifyingly incompetent and/or demented peo-
ple. And quite a few of those are armed with
weapons of mass destruction.
The White House knows this and has
focused its argument on the threat Iraq "may
well" pose to us. While much of the pro-war
commentary is a bit over the top, and despite
the unnerving number of times the terms
"may," "could" and "likely" come up when
administration officials talk about Hussein,
the President has actually laid out a very good
case for confronting Iraq, especially when
making clear to the United Nations that all
we've asked of Iraq is exactly what they
asked of Iraq. But the headlong rush to the
next Gulf War gives the impression that Sad-
dam Hussein is our most pressing concern.
And as Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote
in The New York Times over the weekend -
talking about the need for better radiation
detection equipment in ports - we actually
have much more urgent problems that have
much cheaper and simpler solutions than
invading other countries.
Unfortunately, much of our government has
succumbed to the fixation with Iraq when dan-
gers much closer to home are still staring us in
the face. There's the aforementioned issue of
port security, where only a tiny fraction of the
goods shipped into the country are ever.
inspected. It was also barely two weeks ago
that the New York Daily News attempted to
sneak fourteen weapons onto flights at eleven
different airports and wasn't caught once.
And what ever happened to homeland
security? The'bills meant to create a new
agency to handle the problem are far from

perfect, but since getting stuck in a feud over
labor rights, domestic security has basically
fallen off the national agenda. We have the
alert system (which doesn't tell us to do any-
thing, just how worried we might want to be)
and we're still looking for terrorists obviously,
but the widely expected changes to everything
from the way intelligence is processed, to
inspecting cargo coming into the country, to
how the immigration system is run has been
supplanted by the Iraq "debate."
In the weeks leading up to this Sept. 11,
pundits often wondered how the president
would use the surge of good will and good
press he would undoubtedly be the beneficiary
of. We now know he used it (as some who
remember Karl Rove's speech and slide show
on how great war is for Republicans predict-
ed) to push these problems, not to mention the
still serious economic concerns facing the
country, out of media and government view to
make room for Iraq.
This is not to deny that Iraq is a problem
we should be concerned about. It is fairly
clear Saddam Hussein will have to be con-
fronted at some point and provided it is done
right - working with other countries rather
than unilaterally - this is something we can
and should do. But wars are massively expen-
sive and drain political attention and will
away from everything else, leaving old priori-
ties stuck in the lurch.
Before we jump into this next war, we
should be asking ourselves whether we've done
enough to make ourselves safe at home to
again turn our attention to attacking one of the
many threatening countries abroad.


Peter Cunnife can be reached
at pcunniJ umich.edu.


r !~ v


University should divest from Israeli apartheid

Imagine that in 2002, a small group of Mus-
lims decides for one reason or another that
they want to take back southern Spain, the
lands which were once conquered by the Islam-
ic Empire some 1250 years ago and establish a
Muslim-only state. The groups believes that
they are the rightful owners of that land, since at
one point in history Muslims had established a
flourishing empire in that area. And so, this
group, with the support of a superpower, say,
the United States, violently takes back Andalu-
sia, killing thousands of Spaniards and making
refugees out of millions.
But this group is not content. They want
more. Against the will of the world, with the
exception of the US, its main backer, these
Muslims continue their push through the rest
of Spain, through Madrid, all the way up to
the French border, eventually taking over the
entire nation. All native Spaniards are either
expelled or become subjects of this new
Muslim state, where they are forced to live in
sub-human conditions, in refugee camps or
in isolated and impoverished towns once of
beauty and splendor, but since suffocated by
the Muslim rule. Of course, the Spaniards
fight back - and who wouldn't, but the
Muslims call this fighting back terrorism,

justifiably so if one neglects the context, and
retaliate by demolishing entire blocks in
Spanish towns, striking civilian areas with
the latest war machines, arresting thousands,
and barring all the original Spanish inhabi-
tants the right to travel from town to town,
and even imposing 24-hour curfews which
last weeks on end.
Even with the whole world in uproar,
imagine that the United States continues to
support this brutality, by giving the Muslims
billions of dollars annually, vetoing any reso-
lution put forth in the United Nations aimed
at curbing the suffering of the Spaniards, and
even praises the Muslim rulers as men of
peace and justice, people deserving of that
land. Now despite the fact that this analogy
is quite clear as to whom it refers to, it
sounds impossible if one keeps the names in
place as they are above.
But unfortunately, this has been the reali-
ty in the Middle East. Because of its blind
support by our government, Israel has been
able to get away with great injustices for the
last 54 years. While we dub Iraq's refusal of
United Nations inspectors into that country
an action worthy of war, we fail to discuss
the fact that Israel is currently in violation of
more than 70 United Nations resolutions.
And it has been able to get away with this
because of the United States' misplaced sup-

port. Had the analogy described above
occurred in reality, the international commu-
nity would be up in arms, and rightfully so,
against those hypothetical Muslim invaders.
Unfortunately the reality which is before us
is that Israel is still guaranteed a green light to
continue its brutal policies against the Palestin-
ian people. What can be done then? A message
must be sent to the Israeli government, as well
as our government, that all countries must be
held equally accountable for their actions.
Because of its blatant disregard for human
rights and international law, and the ineffective-
ness of the United Nations, Israel's brutal poli-
cies against the Palestinians must be combated
at the grass-roots level, via such actions as
By withdrawing all monetary support from
Israeli investments, this University can send this
message. This community has proven in the
past its dedication to the upholding of basic
human rights, as demonstrated by the divest-
ment movement against South African
apartheid in the 1980s. It is time once again for
the community to take a stance against the
apartheid-like practices of the Israeli govern-
ment against the Palestinian people.
Husseini is the vice-president of the Arab-American
Anti-Discrimination Committee and a member of
Students Allied for Freedom and Equality.



Does Africa have to make trouble to get attention?


For the past year, the United States has been Everywhere in the United States, there are
preoccupied with fighting terrorists. By all tales of goodwill for the people of Afghanistan.
accounts, the bulk of the terrorism originates in They are constantly portrayed as victims who
the Middle East, including the classic trouble area rightfully need our help. Because of the support
of the world (Israel) and the new sites given by Pakistan to root out al-Qaeda and the
(Afghanistan and Pakistan). Since the war on ter- Taliban, the United States feels indebted to Pak-
rorism started, a lot of money has been spent on istan for helping to get rid of a problem, which
these two world trouble spots. More important is both helped to create in the first place. But that is
the amount of attention lavished on these places. now totally irrelevant. The practical President
Since Sept. 11, neither money nor attention was General Pervez Musharraf has cast his lot with
spared. the winning side and wants
This is not limited to the United THE DAILY IOWAN something in return.
States. There was a coalition of UNIVERSITY OF IOWA By all measures, these
nations rushing to help in any which world trouble spots are today's
way they could. Some, such as Great Britain, gainers. Note that I do not call them winners.
Australia, and Canada, gave money and materiel. They have all gained world attention, because of
Others, such as Pakistan and Uzbekistan, con- their regional crises. Beside world attention and
tributed information and territorial space. Yet oth- several billion dollars, these trouble spots have
ers contributed moral support and efforts to deny won very little else. Their infrastructures and
terrorist grouns financial resources for adequate economy are in ruin: reprisal and bombs destroy

They are their own worst enemies, and everyone
outside black Africa knows it.
Examples? Consider Liberia, Sierra Leone,
Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia/Eritrea,
Sudan, Mozambique, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ghana
and Angola. Even Nigeria, the most populous
country on the continent, spent a lot of money
and 30 months of her youth as an independent
country, with her citizens killing one another in
massive numbers during a civil war, 1967
through 1970.
Then Africans favored one side of ideolog-
ical divide or another. They defended ideolo-
gies alien to them, just for a small piece of the
pie. Prior to the Yom Kippur War, most black
African countries had relations with Israel.
After the war, many of them broke relations
with the Jewish state, apparently because they
hoped for a payback for their support of Arab
countries. They soon realized that they just


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