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March 20, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-20

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4A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, March 20, 2006

OPINION

be 1Midhitan 4aiv

DoNN M. FRESARD
Editor in Chief

EMILY BEAM
CHRISTOPHER ZBROZEK
Editorial Page Editors

ASHLEY DINGES
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
If this is not
civil war, then God
knows what civil
war is."
- Former Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi
on Iraq, in an interview with the BBC yesterday
on the third anniversary of the war in Iraq,
as reported yesterday on nytimes.com.

KATIE GARLINGHOUSE HVUsE .ARRT<:

k ..THE. iA ORSF.
K

4

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All
other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their author.

Pausing for Lucas
MARA GAY (.OM1MON SENSE

4

don't want to
pause for the war
in Iraq either,
especially since it
seems to be one of
those nondescript wars
where no one wants to
admit it's being fought
and there's no end in
sight. It is a quagmire, a
Vietnam. But there's this
boy - this man, rather - who's being deployed
to Iraq at the end of the month, and it just so hap-
pens that he is a very good friend of mine. A best
friend, really. And my first kiss too.
The war that began when we were in high
school - while we sat together in AP American
History and listened as Mrs. Altman taught us
an animated lesson about the Vietcong - was
supposed to be a three-month blitz. But the
three-month blitz just celebrated its third birth-
day. And the class clown, the ladies' man, this
best friend of mine, is off to fight in it.
It is unsurprising that the antiwar demonstra-
tions that took place from Turkey to Tokyo yes-
terday replicated themselves on the University's
Diag as well. After all, we like to think of our-
selves as the heartland of American activism.
But the rally was poorly publicized and fea-
tured a shamefully small number of students.
Organized by the College Democrats, Michigan
Peaceworks and Veterans for Peace, it seemed
more a fixture of Ann Arbor life than an impas-
sioned call for peace and justice from the student
body. It has occurred to me that my friend Lucas
deserves more.
Activism is not dead at Michigan. From the
Coke Coalition to the Stonewall Democrats, this

campus bursts with the extraordinary efforts
of individuals committed to change - which
makes the general lack of concern among the
student body over the war in Iraq all the more
puzzling. After all, I would venture to guess
that the number of students who actually believe
President Bush and his administration when they
lie blatantly to the American people, assuring us
that things in Iraq are just peachy, is very small
and dwindling by the car bomb.
On a campus where students fight doggedly
for this worthy cause or the next, apathy cannot
sufficiently explain the absence of outrage at
yesterday's rally. The ugly truth is that we are
a campus as out of touch with our non-college-
educated peers as the Bush administration is
with a general sense of reality.
This war is still being fought, but by the have-
nots of our generation, the kids who, like Lucas,
could not afford to go to school without taking a
tout or two of the Persian Gulf first. And while
their sacrifice deserves our respect, the endless,
unwinnable war for which they are being sac-
rificed deserves nothing less than our outright
indignation.
Last month, one of Iraq's holiest Shiite
mosques was destroyed by insurgents, incit-
ing riots and car bombs, retaliatory attacks
and summary executions. On March 15, The
New York Times reported that the bodies of 85
men had been found in one of Baghdad's Shiite
neighborhoods. The severely beaten faces of
the men, the gags they wore and the rope burns
that scarred their necks indicated that they had
been tortured.
The elections that took place in the country
last October - heralded by President Bush as
the first step toward democracy - have been

rendered essentially meaningless by the increas-
ingly violent sectarian clashes; the country tee-
ters precariously on the brink of civil war.
In a way, we are war-weary here at the Uni-
versity as well. We fight daily battles against
funding cuts and intolerance, gender discrimina-
tion and genocide. And it can be exhausting. But
there is a war going on, and we have the power
to end it, the ability to channel the talent and pas-
sion for a more just society that has helped to
make the University and its home city a force to
be reckoned with and a vehicle for change.
The war that is costing Americans $200 mil-
lion a day has created a fertile breeding and
proving ground for terrorists. But unsurprising-
ly, it has done little to produce a stable govern-
ment. Almost three years after President Bush
declared "mission accomplished" in Iraq, over
2,300 American soldiers have died, thousands
more Iraqis have lost their lives, and my best
friend is being asked to give his life to protect a
democracy that does not exist.
Even as the Pentagon whispers of sending
more troops to Iraq, this campus marches on,
unmoved. A few lucky students still harbor
a tan from their spring break extravaganzas,
warmer weather is just around the corner, and
this weekend's Saint Patrick's Day festivities
went on without a hitch. The streets of Ann
Arbor were filled with students clad in lepre-
chaun green, already inebriated but looking
for more. A necessary activity, perhaps, in a
world where a privileged version of "normal"
manages, somehow, to drown out our collective
conscience without skipping a beat.

Gay can be reached at
maracl@umich.edu

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Amanpour an excellent
commencement speaker
TO THE DAILY:
University seniors should cut their mis-
placed whining and be happy they will get
the chance to hear from Christiane Amanpour
at their comment (Reporter to serve as grad
speaker, 03/17/2006). We live in an age when
charges of bias and deception are leveled at the
press from the left and from the right. While
general trust in the news has declined since the
days of Watergate, Amanpour stays well above
the fray and finds the truth. Her international
experiences and the sheer integrity she ema-
nates will offer exactly the kind of inspiration
I would have wanted to hear when I graduated
from one of the institutions that the reporter
implies may secure "better" speakers.
Adam Gitlin
Law School
Students 4 Michigan has
'record of achievement>
TO THE DAILY:
The online voting period for this semes-
ter's student government elections will begin
tonight at midnight. While the race has been
hotly contested over the past several weeks,
the choice for leadership has never been clear-
er. Our party, Students 4 Michigan, is offer-
ing a wide array of experienced candidates.
We come from many different backgrounds
- many of us are Greek, others are progres-
sive and some are involved in conservative
organizations - but unlike our opponents,
we are committed to the betterment of our
entire University community.
This evening, S4M members of the assem-
bly will be celebrating one of student gov-
ernment's greatest feats in recent memory.
Thanks to the hard work and dedication of
people like S4M member and MSA External
Relations Chair Laura Van Hyfte, the Ann
Arbor City Council will be voting tonight to
pass the later lease-signing ordinance. As a
result, students will no longer be pressured
into signing leases four weeks after school
starts in the fall.
However, this legislation marks just one of
S4M's many accomplishments. As adminis-

build on our strong record of achievement,
and all students can rest assured that we will
never force MSA to abide by a partisan lit-
mus test.
If you have any further questions or want
to find out more about us, please visit our
website at www.voteS4M.com.
Robbie O'Brien
LSA junior
The letter writer is chair of
Students 4 Michigan.
Contraception legislation
reduces need for abortions
TO THE DAILY:
It is refreshing to see legislation proposed
which endorses women's reproductive choices.
Senator Beverly Hammerstrom (R-Temper-
ance) and Senator Martha Scott's (D-High-
land Park), SB 431-432 will do exactly that. If
passed, these bills would require health insur-
ance companies that already provide prescrip-
tion coverage to add contraception coverage.
Perhaps the most important reason this leg-
islation is so important is because pregnancy
prevention is the most important component to
reducing abortion. Currently, approximately
half of all pregnancies in the United States are
unplanned, mistimed or unwanted. This rate
of unwanted pregnancies is the highest of all
industrialized countries. Of those unplanned
pregnancies, approximately half end in abor-
tion.
According to the Michigan Department of
Community Health, the number of induced
abortions in Michigan has decreased steadily
since 1985. In 1985, 41,000 abortions were
performed, in 1990 that number fell to 34,655
and in 2003, that number fell even further
to 28,584. The most common reason for the
decline in induced abortions is the use of long-
acting hormonal contraceptives, a lower preg-
nancy rate among teenagers and the increasing
use of emergency contraception. Giving more
women access to these resources will undoubt-
edly continue the trend of decreased demand
for abortions - a trend I think we would all
like to see occur. Currently, 22 states have con-
traception equity laws on their books. It is time
to add Michigan to that growing list as a neces-
sary step to eliminate the need for abortions

Send all letters to the editor to
tothedaily michigandaily.cor.
human rights, 03/17/2006). Nothing could
be farther from the truth. We oppose the
Michigan Student Assembly resolution urg-
ing the administration to ban Coke because
MSA has no business dictating what stu-
dents drink on campus. Students are free to
call for a boycott, but it should not be man-
datory. Forcing people to take part in a boy-
cott takes away from the legitimacy of the
cause and lessens its impact.
The resolution did not take the will of the stu-
dent body into account. Although the Facebook
may not be a scientific means of measurement,
a quick look reveals that there are a grand total
of 15 people in groups supporting the Coke ban.
There are more than 1,000 people in groups
opposing the ban. No democratically elected
representative has any business passing a reso-
lution against such massive opposition from his
or her constituents.
Shapiro claims to be concerned about human
rights. I am concerned about the right of workers
to not have their job security threatened by unsub-
stantiated rumors. One of the most basic princi-
ples of justice in America is that one is innocent
until proven guilty.
The allegations against Coke are just that
- allegations. The University sent a mes-
sage to the world by banning Coke - we do
not care about due process and we cannot be
bothered to actually prove our allegations in
our rush to condemn things.
More importantly, banning Coke is a mis-
carriage of justice. The ban only affects the
local independent distribution company.
Innocent Michigan workers are being pun-
ished for allegations made against a com-
pletely different company halfway across
the world. This ban makes no sense. No one
stands to gain from it. Students and Michi-
gan workers lose from it. This is why the
SCP supports the return of Coke to campus.
Rob Garvey
LSA sophomore
The letter writer is a Student Conservative
Party MSA-LSA representative candidate
Point/Counterpoint detracts
from quality of Statement
TO THE DAILY:
Thursday's issue of The Statement was

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Kevin Bunkley, Gabrielle DAngelo,
Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Mark Kuehn,
Frank Manley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Katherine Seid, Ben Taylor, Jessica Teng,
R arh- XWhnm~r

I

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