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April 14, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-14

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, April 14, 2004


opinion. michigandaily.com

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.

This guy would be
better off if he did
settle a few scores. He's
too easy on people."
- Former Clinton advisor Douglas
Sosnik, commenting on the former
president's demeanor, as reported
yesterday by The New York Times.


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The pervasive 3



popularity of
verbal paroxysms
testifies to the
show's potent
influence on our
popular culture. It
works in a
discourse that
reflects and
defies our


4.,j BN

Atlanta boy

"It's been emotional."
- Vinnie Jones, "Lock,
Stock, and Two Smoking

he other day, my
friend Paul beck-
oned me over as he
was standing on the Diag,
arguing politics with a
follower of Lyndon LaRouche. Paul needed
backup to take on the ideologue. It was use-
less. The kid had been brainwashed. Paul
and I walked away.
Leftist ideologues make me sad because I
know that people's dogmatic beliefs stem from
them dealing with their own personal issues,
thus compromising the virtues of their cause
and stifling their personal growth. How do I
know? I've been there.
It all started with a roller-coaster ride of ele-
mentary education, from an all-white suburban
school, to an all-black under-funded school, to a
progressive school (where I would graduate
from high school) housed in the old Coca-Cola
mansions along Atlanta's Ponce de Leon
Avenue. With an intellectual, left-leaning Jew-
ish family upbringing, this sense of an enlight-
ened, almost religious duty to seek social justice
fused with my own association with the under-
dog (I was never very popular in school) led me
to revolt. It all started in eighth grade, where I,
along with a band of others like me, rebelled
against speech codes. We wore black arm bands
and the teachers hated us. That made me happy.
Then along came high school. Geeky, awk-
ward and angry, I didn't really know how to
handle myself. I detested my suburban home

life, but I felt intimidated by my urban and
sophisticated educational surroundings. I was
mediocre at sports, I wasn't an A student and I
was no good at music. In a class of only 90
kids, I needed to make a name for myself.
So I became the angry communist kid. Rid-
ing in my car, blasting Minor Threat, wearing a
hammer-and-sickle T-shirt and screaming at
every available moment about NAFTA and
class conflict. Ah-ha, now people knew who I
was. They knew I was the angry kid, alienated
by the world they created.
My headmaster recalled an old adage to me
on my graduation, saying, "If a man was not a
socialist by 20, he didn't have a heart, and if he
was still a socialist by 40, he didn't have a
head." I've abandoned the simplicity of ideolo-
gy, understanding that a finite answer isn't a
solution to anything. So after high school and
years of causing trouble in Ann Arbor, do I just
leave it all behind?
I've seen AIDS patients kicked out of their
homes. I've seen a girl pepper-sprayed by cops
for doing nothing and I've seen a man beaten
by cops for simply wearing a dress, both during
nonviolent protests in New York. I've over-
heard American soldiers talk about how eager
they were to take on some "Arab motherfuck-
ers." I've heard accounts by nuns doing mis-
sion work in South America of terrorism meted
out by the School of the Americas, located less
than two hours from my parent's home.
I've seen Israeli war veterans decried as
enemies of the Jews by college Zionists
because they disagreed with Israel's current
aggressive foreign policy. I've been called a
"dirty Jew" by a right-wing Christian extremist
and a "self-hating" Jew by a right-wing Jewish

extremist. I've met a journalist who received a
rifle butt to the head for exposing U.S.-spon-
sored war crimes in East Timor. I've seen
mothers outside the presidential palace in
Buenos Aires, demanding to know what the
government has done with the bodies of their
"disappeared" sons.
How on Earth can I forget about these
People want easy, solid answers. Ideology
gives one a sense of false comfort, and that is
what destroys people and weakens movements.
While fighting for justice, one must always be
personally invested, but using social justice as a
cure-all for one's own purposes hurts us all.
I've seen it all over this campus, and elsewhere,
and it is what creates factionalism and infight-
ing. So what I hope for the next generation of
do-gooders is to grow beyond this.
My headmaster also added that the adage,
attributed to George Bernard Shaw, was a mis-
take. If you use your head and your heart, he
said, you can be whatever you want at 40. Thus
I keep fighting for justice, and struggle to learn
more about how to do so.
So that's the Ari Paul story, and that's my
last public dispatch to the good people of this
university. A big thanks to the Family Paul, the
Edgewood Avenue punks and skins, everyone
who has-sent me hate mail, SOLE, Daily scrib-
blers past and present and the Lassiterian
milieu for my stint as a public agitator. Your
contributions to me have been invaluable, and I
probably wouldn't have survived high school
and college without them.
Paul can be reached
at aspaul@umich.edu.


The sky is falling


From the start, the
anti-war crowd has
questioned the valid-
ity of the evidence that was
used to rally support for
fighting a war in Iraq. They
questioned the nature of the
Iraqi threat. They were
skeptical of the existence of
Iraqi WMDs. And they
were reluctant to believe, as the Bush adminis-
tration did, that the Iraqi people would welcome
coalition troops with open arms.
And history has vindicated them: Iraq's
WMD programs have yet to be found, and, as
evidenced by the recent spat of anti-U.S. vio-
lence, a number of Iraqis strongly oppose a con-
tinued U.S. presence in the region. With the
withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq, and
mounting criticism at home, the Bush Adminis-
tration is now facing a two-front war: a war
abroad against the Iraqi intifada and a war at
home against a growing number of those
opposed to the war. Against the former, the pres-
ident has at his disposal the finest army in the
world. Against the latter, the president has a
weapon no less formidable: intimidation.
The hawks have shifted their approach from
one of smug self-righteousness to thuggish
name-calling. In a column published on April 7,
William Safire of The New York Times threw
everything but the kitchen sink at Bush's critics,
calling them "the apostles of retreat," "coulda-

woulda-shoulda crowd" and the "quaking quag-
mirists." David Brooks, in another Times col-
umn April 10, labeled prominent war critics Ted
Kennedy and Robert Byrd "Chicken Littles."
Sure, the sky isn't falling, but people are
dying - in numbers not seen since the end of
hostilities last May.
So maybe the "quaking quagmirists" really
aren't too far off the mark? Surely we can all
admit, if only to ourselves, that things aren't
going exactly as planned. At the cost of hun-
dreds of coalition lives, thousands of civilian
casualties and billions of badly needed dollars,
we're still miles away from self-governance in
Iraq. Our timetable is in jeopardy. We still have
no WMDs. And with Spain's withdrawal, its
clear that the glue that is holding together our
"coalition of the willing" isn't quite as strong as
we had hoped.
To top it off, we've actually managed to get
two opposing religious factions, the Sunnis and
Shiites, to hate us slightly more than they hate
each other. In a supreme act of idiocy, two
weeks ago acting U.S. administrator Paul Bre-
mer closed down the Al-Hawza al-Natiqa news-
paper, citing the paper's role in "encouraging
violence against the Coalition Forces and the
Coalition Provisional Authority." By all
accounts, he had not prepared for the response
that followed, which was, ironically:
Anti-American violence. Give this man a
fruit cup.
U.S. Commander Gen. John Abizaid

acknowledged yesterday that he'd need another
two combat brigades to quell the violence in
Iraqi cities. He also admitted that the U.S.-
trained Iraqi security forces - which are desig-
nated to take over most civil defense functions
when coalition forces leave in June - have
been a "great disappointment."
Searching for answers, I went ahead and
looked up the definition - quag-mire: a dif-
ficult, precarious or entrapping position.
Funny, that doesn't sound all that dissimilar
from our current situation. Difficult? Check.
Precarious? Check. Entrapping? Double
check. Sure, Safire and Brooks would proba-
bly disagree. For them, the renewed fighting
in Iraq is a bump in the road - a test of
wills. But for coalition forces, 70 of whom
died in last week's fighting, parts of Baghdad
and other Iraqi cities have erupted into full-
scale insurgency.
This is an age-old argument: Either you are
with us, and are a person of conviction, or you
are against us, and are something only slightly
better than a terrorist - a coward. This is an
argument, made by the old elites, to get the
young and impressionable to fight and support
their war. This is an argument made by a hawk,
after all the other justifications for war have
melted away. It is as disingenuous as it is dan-
gerous, and I'm just not buying.
Adams can be reached
at dnadams@umich.edu.


Syed goes too far in his
criticism of Bush, America
For almost four semesters now, I have
been constantly bombarded with left-wing
propaganda from local residents, students
and even teachers. As a strong advocate of
freedom of speech, I have chosen to not let
the often-unproven attacks get to me. How-
ever, the upcoming election has turned
healthy protests into full-fledged destruction
and radicalism. It has now become a chal-
lenge for me to walk to class without seeing
sidewalks vandalized with anti-Bush graffiti
or windows displaying mug shots of Osama
bin Laden with Bush's face superimposed
over the terrorist's head. With the inappropri-

cisms in order to make an argument. Living
in a country so wonderfully diverse, I am
very offended when I see people like Syed
proudly welcomed into this country with
open arms who then have the audacity to
address our president by his first name out of
disrespect, falsely accuse him of having
"cocaine-use problems" and ridicule a large
portion of the country's citizens with belit-
tling criticisms.
I think Syed owes the readers, as well as
the country, an apology.
LSA sophomore
Argument in support of
the RIAA flawed

America are by no means unanimously in favor
of the RIAA's legal posturing.
3) In attacking its target market (music
lovers) so aggressively, it is alienating poten-
tial customers while failing to stop the file-
Sutphen does not dispute any of this, instead
reiterating the tired industry claim that sales are
down 20 percent over the past few years and
implying that file-sharing is to blame for this. It
seems amazing that the RIAA could still not get
it. If you had put the time, money and effort into
developing attractive legal alternatives to Nap-
ster and the other early sharing networks, you
could have cashed in on the boom instead of
making headlines for suing 71-year-old grandfa-
thers or 12-year-old children. The quick success
of Apple's iTunes could have happened years
ago if the industry had had any interest in creat-
ing an online offering that was easy to use, rea-
*.... w r .r.n A n aPranne,.,nrc r.-nl atP


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