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September 15, 2003 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-15

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 15, 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.

"Osama bin Laden
is the only one who
knows exactly what I'm
going through."
- R & B artist R. Kelly on the
fallout from his indictment on
child pornography charges, as
quoted by The Associated Press.

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He hit me ... it felt like akiss

George Bush was
talking a lot
this past week,
and skeptics listened
hard for that moment of
clarity - the revealing
phrase, the Freudian
slip, when we could see
through all the muck
about freedom and
democracy to whatever
is really at the bottom of this war. The
president gave us two opportunities: first in
an address to the nation on Sunday, Sept. 7,
and then again when he spoke to the FBI
Academy in Quantico, Va., three days
later. For those convinced that something is
awry, we listened to Bush with equal parts
suspicion and hope, as if we suffered from
a political form of battered wife syndrome:
We wanted to hear the words of a monster,
so we might reject him once and for all, but
lacking that, it would be easy to give in to
his sweet words of freedom and tolerance.
It is an absurd way to live, but that's
our lot in 2003, and if we want to change
anything we have to look even harder -
maybe between the lines, maybe outside
the speeches themselves - for that clue to
what's really going on. And sometimes,
we fool ourselves into thinking we've
found it.
Was it when Bush said to the FBI, "We
are working on Congress," and then cor-
rected himself, "with Congress," letting us
all know what is in the front of his mind?
Perhaps we saw in that slip the true nature
of his methods, a hard uncompromising
stance that views Congress as a punching
bag for the administration, giving our fair-
ly elected legislators only as much infor-

mation as they see fit, even when members
of select committees have the highest level
security clearances. It was reminiscent of
the administration's attitude toward the
United Nations - unilateral intent under
the guise of collaboration. It was only a
stutter, though, and we can't read too
much into it.
But what was all this civilization talk
about? Do we all believe in "the will of the
civilized world?" Do we have faith that this
man in charge has a profound and nuanced
sensitivity to the human condition? I
remember when people used to think the
"Clash of Civilizations" doctrine was con-
troversial, but now we're faced with some-
thing even more blatant: There is only one
civilization and we're it. Holy shit! Civi-
lization may be the antidote to terrorism,
but we were steamrolled into invading Iraq
and other places simply because the war
train was already chugging.
I'm not sure anymore if presidents are
allowed to lie. I think the rule is if enough
people believe it, it's not really a lie. Bush
wants to make us think Iraq had something
to do with Sept. 11, so last week he
claimed success at "removing the tyrants
who support terror" and lumped al-Qaida
and Iraq together in the statement "we have
captured or killed hundreds of Saddam loy-
alists and terrorists." We know he is full of
it, that Saddam and bin Laden never liked
each other, but 70 percent of Americans
now believe that the former Iraqi dictator
was involved in that day's attacks.
But knowing this brings us no closer to
the kind of truth we are looking for - a
question about why we persist in all this,
giving our money and peace of mind to an
administration big in action but opposed on

principle to explaining itself.
I wonder, though, if the whole search
for answers might be flawed. Maybe expla-
nations and ultimate motivations are super-
fluous as long as we make progress. If the
man of the house can make our world a
safer place, even if it means slapping us
around a bit on the domestic front, maybe
we shouldn't ask too many questions.
But I couldn't help finding one more
thing to remark on, and it wasn't even
something the president said. It was in the
text crawl at the bottom of the screen that
read "US threat level: Elevated" as he
talked. Bush did not speak to how safe we
are today except to say that we can no
longer enjoy "false comfort in a dangerous
world." About the same time, the Oxford
Research Group issued a dire report -
"The War on Terror: Winning or Losing?"
- that showed al-Qaida's capabilities and
range of activities to exceed those prior to
the Sept. 11 attacks, meaning more explo-
sions, if not more deaths. So if we give
ourselves a little credit for once, we'll
understand we've been duped, and maybe
we'll see George for what he is: a lying,
cheating, wife-beater. Not literally - it's a
metaphor, remember?
But most of us will still not be satisfied.
We haven't found that word of truth we are
looking for, and we feel a bit like the princess
and the pea. We know it is somewhere under
all that padded language; we can feel it as we
squirm and moan. But we are stuck here,
some 20 mattresses up, and we can't get to
the bottom of it. As long as it's bugging me,
though, I can't get any sleep.



Cotner can be reached
at cotners@umich.edu.


Editorial on Coleman's
mentorshp offreshmen
insulting to Coleman, 'U
The Daily's staff editorial on Universi-
ty President Mary Sue Coleman's partici-
pation in the University Mentorship
Program (Kissing babies, 09/12/03) was a
blatant insult not only to our University's
president, but also to an incredibly effec-
tive program this University offers that we
are lucky to have.
When the Daily stated that "The Men-
torship Program may offer Coleman a
chance to brush up on her Beer Pong skills,
but cannot substitute for the intellectual
experiences she should share with stu-
dents," the Daily displayed that little time
or effort was taken to research what the
University Mentorship Program is all
about, or the time and involvement that
Coleman has chosen to commit to the pro-
gram. Although the editorial made it seem
that the sole purpose of the Mentorship
Program is to help acclimate freshmen stu-
dents to the University. Participating in the
program as a peer mentor the past two
years has been as rewarding, if not more
so, than as participating in the program as
a mentee my freshman year.
The Menitorship Program focuses on
helping incoming freshman with both the
social and academic aspects of making the
transition to life at the University. Cole-
man will be doing just that for her group,
and will be interacting with students at this
University, just as the Daily is pushing her
to do. Coleman has invited her entire
group to her house for lunch, where they
likely will be discussing academic issues
(her peer mentor and mentees are all pre-
med) as opposed to playing Beer Pong.
Coleman has committed the little free
time she has outside of her very demanding
job in order to help four incoming fresh-
man, and your staff has the nerve to insult
her by telling her that she isn't doing
enough and expecting her to teach a class
she clearly does not have the time to teach.
Instead of complaining about Coleman not
spending enough time with the student

Jason Tamaroff in their viewpoint, Roadmap
to failure (09/12/03), showcase many of the
misconceptions and narrow-minded thinking
held by many supporters of Israel. As long as
all the blame is placed on the Palestinian side
of the conflict and the Israeli side refuses any
type of self-evaluation, a viable peace plan
will be impossible.
The biggest problem with Singer and
Tamaroff's piece is that they squared all the
blame for the current violence on Yasser
Arafat and Hamas, while never considering
how the illegal Israeli occupation of Palestin-
ian land contributes to the conflict. This is a
conflict that has existed before the creation of
Hamas and before the first suicide bombing,
the only thing that has been continuous over
the last 36 years is the Israeli occupation.
Israel can evict Yasser Arafat and destroy
Hamas, but the conflict would still continue.
As long as Israel continues its military, politi-
cal, and economic violence against the Pales-
tinians, the cycle of violence will continue.
As for the argument that President Bush
should let Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
do whatever he would like with no U.S.
restrictions in order to secure his people, this
would be a disastrous decision that would
only increase the violence. Israeli civilians
will not find security until the occupation
ends and the Palestinians are free to have
Ordinary Americans who value freedom
and democracy also have an important role.
Americans need to make their voices heard
and tell our University to divest from Israel,
due to its unethical treatment of the Palestin-
ian people, much like how the University
divested from apartheid South Africa for the
same racist policies.
LSA junior
Vice Chair, StudentsAlliedforFreedom and Equaliy
Reader: Is Navarre being
sponsored? Does Taco Bell
even count as restaurant?
I graduated from the University last
winter and was among the millions watch-

There was even a Taco Bell logo and grin-
ning Chihuahua placed on screen next to
Navarre's face. Taco Bell was one of
ABC's sponsors of the games broadcast,
with at least a dozen commercials from
start to finish. I thought college athletes
couldn't do product endorsements. Like-
wise, I would hope there is a rule against
using college athletes to endorse products.
So the dilemma is the following: Is this
just a coincidence, and Navarres favorite
restaurant really is Taco Bell? If so, come
on Navarre, I didn't even know that quali-
fied as a restaurant. Or is there something
more dubious at work here? Commercial-
ism has long surrounded college football,
and as a student, no doubt I benefited from
the millions of dollars brought in to the
University by our football team. But
Navarre's taco jingle and its simultaneous
broadcast alongside the Taco Bell logo are
troublesome and disappointing.

The Michigan Daily welcomes letters from
all of its readers. Letters from University stu-
dents, faculty, staff and administrators will be
given priority over others. Letters should include
the writer's name, college and school year or
other University affiliation. The Daily will not

-- ,~.,4t y t~ ~ +g, 0~il~lil4 n'

will1 be regarded winhm~re

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