4A - The Michigan Daily - Friday, November 21, 2003
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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.
Use your loaf,
have another slice."
- The Federation of Bakers' slogan to
promote British Bread month, launched
to counter the Atkins effect that is
believed to have caused a reduction in
bread consumption, as reported
Thursday at Independent.co.uk.
U mw-I I
SAM BUTLER THE SOAPBOX
Goh' - - ge-1-
wtiacs +ed ,
The stir of echoes
DANIEL ADAMS I WIN
he day after the
attacks on the
Red Cross facility in
downtown Baghdad, a
picture of an American
soldier appeared on the
front page of The New
York Times. He was
leaning against a tele-
phone pole, clutching
his rifle with both hands. Behind him, a
cloud of black, ominous smoke was drift-
ing above the wreckage of the Red Cross
facilities. Though slightly out of focus, his
facial expression was clear: The jingoistic
emotions that many would expect of this
unnamed soldier - resolve, courage,
patriotism - were absent. Instead, I saw
the glare of a single tear rolling down his
cheek. He was afraid.
A wash of emotions engulfed me. The
injustice! A twentysomething in a flak
jacket halfway around the world, fighting
the heat, sand, an enemy that doesn't seem
to know he's beaten and a civilian popula-
tion that doesn't want to be saved. He
probably has family at home - a girl-
friend perhaps - who misses him terribly.
Yet there he is in Iraq of all places,
resplendent in his government-issued
Kevlar, hoping to God that the next child
he meets doesn't have a hand grenade.
And then I stopped. I felt it. Judging by
the articles that are beginning to pop up in
newspapers across the country, others are
feeling it too. As the body count starts to
rise, the comparison is being made: Is this
.another Vietnam? It's a different war,
we're told. We're winning this one. Fewer
Americans are dying.
Maybe. But the character of this war
that is starting to set in - the desperation
in our enemies, and the tone in the media -
reeks of Vietnam. We aren't making mea-
surable progress, and there is no front line.
There are only news stories of helicopter
crashes and suicide bombers. Pictures of
young men, afraid and alone.
Though it has been said that the first
gulf war "cured" America of its psycho-
logical scars - President Bush is quoted
as saying in 1991, "By God, we've kicked
the Vietnam Syndrome once and for all,"
- I somehow doubt that this is the case.
Since the gulf war, our prescription for
any nagging foreign policy issue has been
consistent. Cruise missiles. Air strikes. If
you carpet bomb a problem, it goes away,
right? No, but it was a convenient solu-
tion. It kept us from doing the one thing
we had reservations about: Losing Ameri-
can lives. So the symptoms persisted:
When 18 U.S. Army Rangers died in the
streets of Mogadishu in 1993, President
Bill Clinton was quick to recognize the
disaster for what it was and pulled the U.S.
forces out. The government largely
ignored the widespread reports of geno-
cide in the Balkans throughout the 1990's
- they knew that we couldn't handle the
burden of inserting the U.S. troops it
would have required to stop the killing.
Even in the first Persian Gulf War, it
seemed too easy: nice, neat front lines,
clear advances, surrenders, even little
cameras on the ends of our bombs to show
how many tanks and buildings we were
destroying. We fought the Iraqi army in
the desert, where our superior tank, air-
craft, and missile technology could be
used to its fullest extent. The shaky confi-
dence of America in its fighting ability
was bolstered by the notion, accepted early
on, that the war was. going well, and that
the fighting would be over soon.
Now, as casualties mount, Americans
are counting the days until that exit strate-
gy kicks in.
Q - "Didn't the war end in May?"
A - Tell the Iraqis that.
Q - "When will we get out?"
A - Not in the near future
Q - "Are we even wanted there?"
A - Maybe not.
Oh man. Is this war starting to stink.
I saw into that young man's world. I
saw a place where the enemy is nearly
indistinguishable from a civilian. A place
where just about anyone could kill you. A
place where the list of possible targets
now includes the Red Cross. The Red
Cross! The expensive stealth technology,
missiles and radar now don't seem to mat-
ter - none of it will stop a car bomb.
American soldiers will in the coming
months truly confront the echoes of Viet-
nam, one suicide bomber at a time.
Adams can be reached
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Michigan Claw dumb ideas
To THE DAILY:
I just read the comment that was written
regarding the poor quality of the Daily this year
and especially Weekend Magazine (Too much
liberal drivel, not enough sex in Daily, 11/20/03). I
think that this reader is unjust in his comments,
because he forgot to mention how horrible the
sports section has been this year also. The fact
that the sports columnists have spent this whole
entire football season preaching to the readers on
how to be good Michigan football fans is petty.
The Hypemeter and the Michigan claw are two
of the dumbest things I have ever seen produced
in the Daily since I have come to this university.
With the exception of J. Brady McCullough and
a few others, some of what I have read in the
sports section boggles my mind. I'm sick of
being told that I am not good enough of a fan to
be at a Michigan football game. Maybe those
columnists should think about dropping the
"We're smarter Michigan fans than you are"
approach and write about what people would
Daily should present
dangers of plastic surgery
To THE DAILY:
I must say, I'm a little surprised and a little
disappointed with one of the cover stories from
Thursday's Daily. I'm talking about Making the
cut: More students opt for cosmetic surgery as stig-
ma fades (11/20/03). First of all, this story is less
journalism than it is almost a front page endorse-
ment of cosmetic surgery. I mean, the Daily
basically lets your interviewees (including
spokespeople from American Society for Aes-
thetic Plastic Surgery) paint a "roses and sun-
shine" picture of cosmetic surgery with
absolutely no critical investigation of the reality
of plastic surgery. I find it a little strange.
Strange, because the Daily always seems to
pride itself on its social progressivism, notably in
areas of women's issues, and the Daily is pro-
moting an industry that feeds off the unrealistic
body expectations and objectifications you
would normally decry on the Daily opinion
page. Such uncritical reporting on an issue that
relates so directly to health decisions of the stu-
dents reading your paper is not just bad journal-
ism - it is also irresponsible.
don't ever address the fact that as with any
medical procedure, there are some risks asso-
ciated with cosmetic surgery. The Daily just
goes on about how "acceptable" it is. The
Daily should at least give the readers a bal-
anced idea of what they could be getting into
if they opt for a cosmetic procedure.
As for the picture the Daily chose to go
with the article - that is just as bad as the
text. The girl on the table, all laid out and
"mapped out" for liposuction, does not need
any cosmetic surgery. I don't care if she's a
real patient, a model or the reporter herself
posing for an example shot, this image pro-
motes cosmetic surgery for people who look
just fine. What kind of message does that
In the end, I suppose the Daily is free to
write or depict whatever the Daily wants, but I
just expected a little more critical investigation
of something that, as I said, you'd normally be
tearing into on the opinion page.
Candidates' tactics waste of
time, should debate issues
To THE DAILY:
I really liked Wednesday's article, Candi-
dates get personal (11/19/03). Just for the record,
I have never voted in a student election; I never
felt any reason to. However, upon reading this
article I realized that it is a shame I haven't. The
article has a lot of truth in it about how the aver-
age student feels about student politics. One of
the interviewees phrased it best, "I don't know
any of their policies. So why should I vote?"
Face it, the end of the semester is looming
ahead of us and nearly everyone is feeling the
stress of final papers, exams amongst other
pressures. And while student government may
be very important and worthwhile for the main
student body to participate in, it is just not
accessible to the busy college student.
The candidates, as the article pointed out, are
obviously not using their time, or the rest of the
student body's, very well. New campaigning
strategies are clearly needed. It is time to throw
out those meaningless small pieces of paper that
just end -up littering university buildings. It is
tiuelo put the chalk to rest. It is time to stop just
disseminating your name and political party and
to start really informing the students.
More effective tactics would be based on
real-world political campaigns. Just imagine
how we would all laugh if President Bush
never announced his political platform for the
and civic involvement. What better way to
get involved than to vote?
Ask Detroiters what is
best for their city
To THE DAILY:
Although I didn't grow up in Detroit and
would never claim to be from there, I have spent
time living and working on the city's southwest
side, and I found Lauren Strayer's column frus-
trating, although well intentioned (Between a
rock and a Hard Rock Cafe, 11/20/03).
Listen, I don't know what Detroit needs,
either - I'm not even going to try to guess.
I've never been a fan of gentrification or chain
stores, either. However, I do know exactly what
Detroit doesn't need: young, white college stu-
dents who live in Ann Arbor (myself included)
talking about "what Detroit needs."
This is a question that should be asked of
Detroit residents, who live, work and pay taxes
there and are directly affected by whatever hare-
brained scheme that (mostly) white policymak-
ers who live in Bloomfield Hills come up with
next. Believe me, they'd be happy to talk. In the
words of my old neighbor, "If gentrification
means that there'd be a goddamned grocery
store in the neighborhood, I'm all for it!"
If every journalist and pundit who has ever
expounded upon what Detroit "needed" actually
moved there and tried to change the city in their
own small, but important way - now, then
we'd be getting somewhere.
- Music senior
Michigan fans should be 'as
loud as possible' this weekend
To THE DAILY:
I must commend the Daily on doing a good
job trying to get students ready for the Ohio
State game this weekend. I want to comment on
the hypocracy that has been the criticism of
Michigan fans this year. For the last several
years, we have been criticized for being quiet
fans, and the Big House for being about as
intimidating as a library. People demanded fans
to get back homefield advantage, and this year
we did. We cheered loudly with Notre Dame
and possibly louder with Purdue. Unfortunately,
with both of those wins can criticism that our
cheering and language was "un-Michigan like"
:. : ;<