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October 28, 2004 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2004-10-28

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Thursday, October 28, 2004

OPINION

+7 + +l420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
atfdtothedaily@michigandaily.com

EDITED AND MANAGED BY
STUDENTS AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
SINCE 1890

JORDAN SCHRADER
Editor in Chief
JASON Z. PESICK
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority
of the Daily's editorial board. All other pieces do not
necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
44'And then you'll get
depressed because the
biggest connection
you have with your
school is now an SBC
high-speed Internet
connection."
- Detroit Free Press columnist Michael
Rosenberg, writing in today's Free Press,
about SBC's now-cancelled sponsorship of the
Michigan-Ohio State football game.

MSb

CIOLIN IiIALY i:i >> lxLV

DON'- r TYOUR PASSION Dle ON N0VEMbeR Th1lRD.,.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Daily did not include all
parties in its debate
TO THE DAILY:
Thursday's article regarding the Michi-
gan Daily-hosted presidential debate,
Debate airs views of all candidates (10/27/04),
made a critical error in stating that the
debate included student representatives
from the Socialist Party. Joseph Tanniru,
who the article implied was representing
the Socialist Party, was in fact represent-
ing the Socialist Equality Party, an entire-
ly separate political party with a separate
presidential ticket. Equally as erroneous
was the article's claim that "all (third-party
candidates) got to speak their piece." No
representatives from the Socialist Party
presidential ticket of Walter Brown and
Mary Alice Herbert were invited by the
Daily to participate in the debate. Inciden-
tally, the Socialist Party presidential ticket
is on the .2004 Michigan ballot under the
label of the now nationally defunct Natu-
ral Law Party, whereas the candidates of
the Socialist Equality Party did not qualify
for ballot access in Michigan this year. I
sincerely hope that the Daily will make a
greater effort in the future to present accu-
rate information about third parties and
that future Michigan Daily-hosted debates
will include representatives from all candi-
dates who wish to present their views to the

University community rather than an arbi-
trarily selected few.
Matt Erard
LSA sophomore
The letter writer is the chair of the Socialist Party
of Michigan and the Michigan coordinator of the
Committee to Elect Walter Brown president.
Kerry's logic is faulty on
the issue of abortion
TO THE DAILY:
So the Daily is endorsing John Kerry (Vote
Kerry, 10/27/04). Surprised? You shouldn't
be, unless you haven't been reading its edito-
rial page the last four years. Of course, there
isn't anything wrong with this, as most edi-
torial pages across the nation feature a more
"progressive" slant. What I take issue with
is some of the content of the endorsement.
The Daily's praise of Kerry's reconciliation
of his faith and issues like abortion reflects
a complete misunderstanding of the issue.
Let's put Kerry's logic to a test: If Kerry
believes that human life begins at concep-
tion (as he has said he does), then he opposes
abortion because he thinks that it ends this
life. Now, if this is Kerry's genuine belief,
and I have no reason to doubt that it is, then
he can't take the standard middle ground
position of "being personally opposed, but
not wanting the government to legislate
against it." Why not? If you express Kerry's
reason for personal opposition in context, it

reduces to him telling the public "I believe
abortion takes the life of a human being, and
I don't think the government should legislate
against that." Put this way, Kerry's debate
"reconciliation" not only looks unimpres-
sive, but also morally reprehensible.
Michael Saltsman
LSA senior
LETTERS POLICY
The Michigan Daily welcomes letters
from all of its readers. Letters from University
students, 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 print any letter containing statements
that cannot be verified.
Letters should be kept to approxi-
mately 300 words. The Michigan Daily reserves
the right to edit for length, clarity and accura-
cy. Longer "viewpoints" may be arranged with
an editor. Letters will be run according to order
received and the amount of space available.
Letters should be sent over e-mail to
tothedaily@michigandaily.com or mailed to the
Daily at 420 Maynard St. Editors can be reached
via e-mail at editpage.editors @umich.edu. Letters
e-mailed to the Daily will be given priority over
those dropped off in person or sent via the U.S.
Postal Service.

Straight from Iraq, a former Daily editor speaks

University alum David Enders has spent more
than a year reporting in Iraq through freelance
articles and his weblog "From Ann Arbor to Bei-
rut toBaghdad." He started the Baghdad Bulletin,
the first English language publication in post-war
Iraq, in the summer of 2003. In September, he
was back in Ann Arbor for a day, and Daily col-
umnist Steve Cotner caught up with him to ask
about his experiences. The complete transcript is
available at michigandaily.com.
The Michigan Daily: How resistant were
U.S. forces to journalists, and how did they
respond to your presence?
David Enders: The soldiers were very
friendly. The actual ground troops were
extremely friendly. For better or for worse, the
embed phenomenon gave them a lot of respect
for reporters, because there were guys hump-
ing along with them, same shit, three months
without a shower, under fire. And the soldiers
initially built up a great respect for reporters.
On the other end, at the command level there
was a lot of hostility. I got kicked out of military
bases for asking soldiers who they were going
to vote for. But then on the other hand, when
I would be driving somewhere outside Bagh-
dad and see soldiers on the side of the road,
on a mission, on patrol, you could walk up to
them and say, "Hey what's up," and they would
be so fucking shocked that you were walking
down the road in the middle-of-nowhere Iraq
speaking American English, that the instant
credibility created instant dialogue. And it
was also interesting, too, most of them were
my age. I was younger, so I was able to talk to
them the way most correspondents can't. And
occasionally I would go out on quote-unquote
embeds and be with the soldiers officially,
and even then I could still ...They went in this
market where I'd been many times a civilian,
and then I went in with them, wearing a flack
jacket with the soldiers. You know, because, on
the one hand, I can pass for Iraqi. I can speak
enough Iraqi Arabic to get in and out of a taxi,
ask questions. But then the minute I'm a sol-
dier, I'm very evidently American. But then I
can say things in Arabic and ask them to talk
to this guy. They'd been tearing down posters
of one particular leader in a market, and I said,
"Well why don't we ask this guy why he sup-
ports this leader?" And you could actually cre-
ate weird dialogue with the troops and Iraqis
that they wouldn't get otherwise, had they been
even out with a reporter who hadn't spent any
time as a civilian in Baghdad.
So with the actual troops it was extremely
friendly, and you know, a lot of them don't
want to be there, don't understand why they're
there, they've been given virtually no training

on this absolutely Dr. Strangelove rant. You
know, white man's burden, neocolonialist, we
have to bring these people paved roads, and
whatever. And the public affairs office was
like, after we left, was like "you're not going
to print any of that?" I'm like, "Well maybe.
You can't stop me. You might not let me back
in, request me again to come visit that particu-
lar camp." He probably wouldn't let me back
in, because I printed a lot of it. It was a fucking
bizarre thing for a man in charge of 3,000 peo-
ple to be saying, and it's quite disturbing. But
that's about the amount of control they have.
They can restrict access, following you print-
ing something they don't appreciate. And often
times they do. I got kicked out of the house
Saddam Hussein was captured in ...
TMD: In Vietnam, which is of course very
different, there would be troops who would
speak out about war atrocities, and they'd be
told "Don't ever say another word, or you're
not going to come back home." But it wasn't
that kind of situation at all?
DE: No. There's a lot of self-censorship
that goes on. We would take CNN to different
places, and sometimes they wouldn't follow
us all the way through. We'd be like, "Hey,
there's some refugees from Fallujah, they're
in Baghdad this week." And they would turn
back, because the part of town that we were
going to would be unacceptable to their secu-
rity advisor. And so, a considerable amount of
self-censorship, generally based on a percep-
tion of danger that wasn't always there. And
the military promulgated that on a general
level by shooting a dozen journalists in the last
year. So, you can't trust the American military
not to fucking kill you if you're not in shouting
distance to where you can go, "Hey I'm a fuck-
ing American." And if they hear that, they're
usually very friendly, they'll still point their
guns at you sometimes. But, you know: "Don't
do that," and they'll stop. Can I bum a smoke?
TMD: Yeah.
DE: I'm quitting, really.
TMD: Me too. It seems like in main-
stream coverage we are never allowed to
experience Iraq one person at a time - it's
always the eye of the military, or some other
vantage point, but never on a personal level
- whereas you've described, in your blog
and your articles, the troops and the Iraqi
people as they are in front of you, what they
do and say, the things they eat, the prayer
mats that they pray on. What do you hope to
accomplish by that kind of writing? Is it an
appeal to people's common humanity?
DE: To some extent, I would say so. You
just identified it yourself. This is what we
lack in mainstream, or call it what you will,

from the reader. But I and a few other jour-
nalists who do it, we're trying to close that
gap. We're trying-to give a notion ofwhat
life is like for these people, before what we
did affected their lives and afterward, and
how it affects them personally. I've had arti-
cles cut from major magazines, because edi-
tors will not buy this notion that things are
worse now than they were before. And you
need to do ground-level, human-level, first-
person reporting to get that sense. But it's
actually there, and the only way people are
going to realize certain feelings exist or cer-
tain things are the way there are is by inter-
viewing one person at a time and hearing the
story they have to tell. It's a long process, but
it's very necessary.
TMD: On the other side of things, you have
many people who aren't getting that perspec-
tive. In the sixth issue of the Baghdad Bulle-
tin, which came out about this time last year,
J. Hannay from Dallas, Texas, wrote in to say
"The truth is Iraqis are their own worst ene-
mies, not ours. The U.S. can always retreat to
Fort Rumsfeld in Free Kurdistan, let Iraq be
Iraq with the promise that if the country fol-
lows the usual Muslim path we will kick their
ass again ... and again ... and again until they
get it right." Your paper was printed and dis-
tributed in Iraq and published online for the
whole world to see. What do this person's
words mean to you, and what do you think they
mean to the rest of the world reading them?
DE: The reason I printed that, and I take
entire responsibility - I was the editor of
the magazine - is because I got shitloads
of letters like that. I felt like, in printing
that, I was representing a fairly widespread
view held by a fairly widespread number
of Americans, a very pejorative, very rac-
ist, very frightening, frightening view. But I
think that's a big part of what allowed us to
get involved in the first place and to invade
another country, with very little idea of what
happens there. In distributing that to both
Iraqis and Americans, and people worldwide,
I wanted to highlight that, like in any country
- you see people burning down synagogues
in France, and you see this in the KKK in
America - that there are large movements
that are extremely racist and frightening, and
that you have to be aware that these exist and
that they do occasionally hold influence and
precipitate certain things. If there weren't
people in the U.S. who thought like this, I
don't think an invasion of Iraq would have
been possible. People were very willing to
write it off as a backward-ass Muslim coun-
try, you know, "Fuck the ragheads." You hear
this from troops, you hear this from Ameri-

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