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November 07, 2005 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2005-11-07

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 7, 2005

OPINION

C gobmp-e M lirb tiitux tiiI

JASON Z. PESICK
Editor in Chief

SUHAEL MOMIN
SAM SINGER
Editorial Page Editors

ALIsON Go
Managing Editor

EDITED AND MANAGED BY STUDENTS AT
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN SINCE 1890
420 MAYNARD STREET
ANN ARBOR, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

NOTABLE
QUOTABLE
It's not going
to end until
there are two
policemen
dead."
-Moussa Diallo, a resident of Clichy-sous-
Bois, a low-income suburb of Paris, where the
deaths of two immigrant teens fleeing police
precipitated nationwide youth protests and
riots, as reported yesterday by nytimes.com.

THE THUMBS HAVE IT

France

Ethics

Violent riots break out in Paris, Nice, Mar-
seilles, Lille, Toulouse and Strasbourg,
claiming 1,300 cars and injuring 10 police
officers. France stayed out of Iraq, but
Iraq came to France.
President Bush is requiring his entire
executive staff of 3,000 to take a refresher
course on ethics and handling classified
materials. But doesn't "refresher" imply
you've already studied the subject?
Sure, pirates off the coast of Africa were
outrun by the cruise ship they were trying
to attack. But Blackbeard never had a
grenade launcher.

01

Pirates

Rethinking Iraq three years later
JASON Z. PESICK ONE SM. A VOICE

lot of people
were wrong
about Amer-
ica's experiment in
Iraq. It's becoming
more and more dif-
ficult to find an inde-
pendent observer who
would say the war is
going well, and it's
no easier to figure out
how anything's going to get better.
When U.S. forces reached Baghdad and helped
a few excited Iraqis knock over a statue of Sad-
dam Hussein, I wrote an optimistic piece in the
Daily. I quoted Paul Berman, who hinted in The
New Republic that Abraham Lincoln would sup-
port the war because Lincoln was willing to go to
war in order to spread American ideals.
I remember sitting in my dorm room in South
Quad freshman year watching the U.S. invasion
with my roommate. We were so confident.
On TV, we saw American weaponry illuminate
the sky in beautiful hues of red, white and orange.
It was like watching fireworks; you couldn't see
the Iraqis dying below. Watching the explosions
on CNN was like watching a Fourth of July special
on PBS, complete with John Williams conducting
the "1812 Overture." Lincoln, John Williams, fire-
works, loud explosions and ordinary Iraqis cheer-
ing because America had freed them - is there
a better way to motivate a young, liberal college
student who has no chance of ever actually fight-
ing in a war?
Almost three years later, it may be time to
revisit my selective interpretation of Lincoln.
Lincoln supported war when necessary. Berman
was right about that. But the Civil War was not
a war that Lincoln could choose to avoid; the
nation's survival w' at stake. Maybe Lincoln

would have supported the war for the sole pur-
pose of eliminating slavery, but I'm not so sure
he would have attacked Canada if the Canadians
decided to start buying and selling slaves.
There is death in every war - and death is ter-
rible in every one of those wars. Death, however,
does not mean that we should never go to war.
The Civil War and World War II were terrible,
but they were also necessary. Our nation's sur-
vival was at risk and, in both cases, the United
States was fighting against evil ideologies.
Almost everyone will agree that national
security is a legitimate justification for war,
but most of the people on the Left who have
always opposed the war in Iraq will probably
accept a broader justification for war than
national security. Many of the people who have
opposed the current war think that the United
States sinned by not preventing the genocide
in Rwanda. We failed in Somalia, and we're
failing the people of Sudan now. Why would it
be OK to use the U.S. military to save people
in Sudan but not OK to use the U.S. military
to save people in Iraq? And why isn't anybody
talking about using the military to eliminate
an evil autocrat in Zimbabwe?
If the war in Iraq were going well, if it
weren't reminding people of Vietnam, the dis-
cussion surrounding the war would be very dif-
ferent. If there had been adequate planning, if
we had sent enough troops, if we had stopped
the looting, if we had gotten the basic utilities
up weeks earlier, if we had made it clear we
weren't invading the country to set up a mili-
tary presence in Iraq and to protect Israel, the
experiment would seem more just. If the U.S.
death toll were much lower, if the Iraqis were
well on their way to setting up a viable democ-
racy free from suicide and car bombs, support
for the war would be high.

But support for the war is not high, and
that is because the war is not going well. The
war in Iraq is starting to resemble the Viet-
nam War on the ground because the two wars
resembled each other from the start. The presi-
dent launched both wars on false premises and
without planning for and thinking through the
likely consequences.
The president claimed we were going to war
in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruc-
tion and connections with terrorism - claims
I didn't buy at the time and claims some peo-
ple in the administration apparently didn't buy
because they had to hype the shaky informa-
tion they did have. He probably chose this
strategy because WMD and terrorism were the
only ways to convince the American people to
support the war.
I supported the war for very different rea-
sons than the president. It may not have been
possible to garner public and congressional
approval for a war based on my arguments
about democratic ideals, and maybe the presi-
dent would have lost that vote. But the embar-
rassment of losing a vote in Congress pales in
comparison to the nightmare of losing more
than 2,000 American soldiers and many more
Iraqis in an unsuccessful war.
I don't know how you decide when a war is
just and when it's not just, when losing thou-
sands of Americans is worthwhile and when
it's not worthwhile. Even hindsight is not
always 20/20. But when you don't even lay out
the facts, when you don't even have a debate
based on the truth, you don't have a very good
chance of distinguishing the noble wars from
the misadventures.

01

Pesick can be reached at
pesick@michigandaily.com.

VIEWPOINT
Bush's mulligan

BY JOHN STIGLICH II
President Bush made a mistake when he nomi-
nated Harriet Miers to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The nomination reeked of cronyism, incompetence
and political weakness. Thankfully, the canons of
executive privilege provided Bush with a mul-
ligan. By nominating Sam Alito to the Supreme
Court, Bush drove the green. The nomination not
only pleases the conservative community but also
puts Senate Democrats in a political rut. The Sen-
ate twice confirmed Alito unanimously to federal
benches and without ethical citations and repri-
mands, Democrats will have difficulty convincing
Americans he is not qualified.
As hard as Democrats may try, elections mat-
ter in this country, and it is time for them to learn
they lost. Bush campaigned twice on nominating
strict constructionist judges to federal benches and
Republican senators share this policy goal. Bush
resides in the White House and the Republicans
control the Senate - they have an obligation to
their constituents to fulfill campaign promises.
In the early 1990s, President Clinton resided in
the White House and Democrats controlled the

Senate. Under those circumstances, Clinton nom-
inated and the Senate confirmed living constitu-
tionalists Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Steven Breyer
without a peep from liberal interest groups about
"ideological diversity" and "consensus nominees."
Oh, how the debate changes when power is lost!
If the Democrats want to debate judicial philoso-
phies, bring it on.
Republicans will take their case to the Ameri-
can people and explain the dangers of judicial
activism. They will educate Americans on how a
judicial branch stocked with living constitutional-
ists will gradually eliminate this country's core
values by substituting our founders' meaning for
a penumbra created by the personal policy prefer-
ences of judges. They will explain realistic night-
mare scenarios where it is alright to be religious
just do not be religious in the public square. It is
OK to celebrate Christmas, just not to celebrate
it in public school. The definition of marriage
approved by state citizens or state legislatures is
unconstitutional because of a new right found in
a 216-year-old document. Challenging Democrats
on the proper role of the judiciary will highlight
a fundamental disagreement - the courtroom is
not an acceptable alternative to ballot boxes and

legislative chambers.
During Bush's first term, Senate Democrats uti-
lized the filibuster to stall confirmation on Bush's
federal judge nominees. The Democrats went to
unprecedented lengths to protect the only branch
of government they still control. Utilizing this tac-
tic on Alito's nomination is political suicide. The
odds of a filibuster being political suicide increase
if Alito emerges from his confirmation hearing in
the same regard with which John Roberts emerged
from his. Democrats will contend they stand on
principle, and the Republicans will label their
opposition as obstructionists. America does not
take kindly to obstructionism - just ask retired
Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.).
If the Democrats want a more important role
in selecting federal judges, I recommend they
develop a plan to reclaim the Senate. Develop a
campaign strategy and an agenda that will reso-
nate with Americans. Quit blaming Republicans
for your electoral losses and start listening to what
the American people want instead of what you say
they should want. The results could surprise you.
Stiglich is an LSA junior and a member of
the Daily editorial board.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Columnist provides news
overload of his own
To THE DAILY:
Zack Denfeld's column (News that stays news,
11/04/2005) can essentially be summarized in
his tag line: 500 or 600 words of shame. In the
space carelessly allotted to him by the Daily,
Denfeld fails to rise above the very information
overload that he tries simultaneously to indict
and characterize, losing any semblance of an
argument in a mere wash of style and imag-
ery, even committing a pointless typographical
error along the way.
Denfeld's point is not lost: Information
and its media in this age are overwhelming,
but he fails to acknowledge that it is only the
self-selecting consumer of mass and diverse

mate human beings with experiences, opin-
ions, knowledge and perspectives. Although the
Internet is stuffed with noise, for the most part it's
where useless thoughts go to die. One should not
dwell in graveyards.
I suggest Denfeld ejaculate more poignantly in
his future columns.
Ryan Healy
RC senior
Daily fails at satire, hurts
real progress in the process
To THE DAILY:
I hope that last Friday's editorial (In the name
of God, 11/04/2005) was nothing more than

the battles against the polio and smallpox vac-
cines, millions of otherwise hideously scarred,
immobile or dead individuals went on to use
their lithe and unblemished limbs in ways God
never intended." This argument is eerily remi-
niscent of that Hitler used in promoting eugen-
ics to preserve the "supreme Aryan race."
Here we are at one of the country's lead-
ing research universities, and dribble like this
- which, through grand leaps of logic and
arguments based on an assumed faith, seeks
to discourage scientific progress in the name
of some unnatural selection - gets printed in
the Daily, from its very own editorial board, no
less! I'm all for its editorial freedom, but I hope
the Daily prints at least one of the slew of letters
I expect its sensible readers to send in response
to this nonsense.

WWU J Y IIU. J.

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