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January 11, 2006 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-01-11

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, January 11, 2006

OPINION

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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
I do agree that
the Constitution
protects a right to
privacy."
- U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel
Alito, during confirmation hearings
yesterday, as reported by nytimes.com.

RYAN JABER JY_. wr MAKLES 41,11
Rt R~I
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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.

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Homecoming in wartime
JEFF CRAVENS JAYIHAV,-K BiTES

m his winter
bre ak, I
returned home
thankful that my sec-
ond-to-last finals week
was over and that I
could relax with my
friends and family.
Homecomings have not
been so easy for many
of the men and women
who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Over 2,000 citizens have come home in coffins
and urns. Of those returning in good physical
health, many bear the emotional scars from
their terms of service.
At a local bar toward the end of break, I
overheard some guys about my age sharing
their experiences in Iraq. "I saw my friend go
face-down in the dirt," one guy said, and then
he repeated himself: "I saw my friend go face-
down in the dirt." Those words stunned me,
slapped me in the face and have since rung in
my ears. About 10 minutes later, I saw one of
the other guys, a tall burly man, sobbing in the
corner with his face in his hands.
When confronted with a situation like this,
I could not help but put myself in those guys'
shoes. What if I saw my friend go face-down in
the dirt? In Tim O'Brien's "The Things They
Carried," a soldier describes his friend getting
killed in Vietnam: "Like cement, Kiowa whis-
pered in the dark. I swear to God - boom,
down. Not a word." What if that was your

friend? Boom, down, in front of your eyes. I'm
not trying to be morbid; I'm trying to be real.
I'm trying to make this war - which most of
us are sheltered from to the point of apathy in
our self-interested college bubbles - even a
shred as real for some of us as it is for those
who have served and sacrificed in our names.
When it stops being real, lives become poker
chips in the hands of our leaders, and nobody
cares enough to do anything about it.
For many of those speaking out against the
war, like Cindy Sheehan, who lost her son in
Iraq, and Rep. John Murtha (D-Penn.), who
spent 37 years in the Marines, this war is real.
Instead of calling these people unpatriotic, we
should listen to them.
In response to criticism from the Joint Chiefs
of Staff, Murtha said: "Now the military's abil-
ity to attract recruits is being hampered by the
prospect of prolonged, extended and repeated
deployments; inadequate equipment; short-
ened home stays; the lack of any connection
between Iraq and the brutal attacks of 9/11;
and - most importantly - the administra-
tion's constantly changing, undefined, open-
ended military mission in Iraq."
Murtha's statement sums up the administra-
tion's reckless handling of this war, in which
human lives are tossed around like pawns and
poker chips. But sadly, many of us don't need
Sheehan or Murtha to tell us about the cost of
this war. Many of us know someone, if only
indirectly, who has served or is serving. Last
winter, one of my high school friends, Mike, got

shipped to Iraq. Whenever I heard news about
Iraq, I thought about our conversation after
he returned from Marine boot camp, a smiley
choir-boy-turned-killing-machine. He told me
that he didn't necessarily support the war, but
he had no choice in the matter.
This winter I saw him for the first time since
then. He still has many years of duty in which
he could get called back to action, but in the
meantime he has a job and is thinking about
going back to school. Instead of talking about
Iraq, we laughed about the stupid things we
did at my graduation party and reminded each
other how sweet our barbershop quartet was
junior year. But behind the laughter and fond
memories were the experiences in Iraq that we
didn't talk about. These experiences, like the
memories of those who were not so fortunate,
will follow him for the rest of his life.
As other troops like Mike and the guys at the
bar begin coming home, we will feel the full
cost of this war. The permanent absences of
family members and friends have already been
felt and will continue to be felt, but so will the
stories and emotional scars of those who sur-
vived. In both cases, we should put ourselves
in the shoes - as much as possible - of those
who have suffered and try to feel their pain.
Only then will we recognize what's at stake in
war and do something the next time our lead-
ers rush to put human lives on the line.

Cravens can be reached
at jjcrave@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
Campus conservatism - in our own words
BY THE EDITORIAL BOARD OF and the Coca-Cola controversy. know what Coke has or hasn't done, though,
THE MICHIGAN REVIEW The Michigan Review has maintained - and because Coke hasn't acceded to demands for
still does - that perhaps the best activism on an independent investigation.
Speaking of "whiny, annoying and conde- campus is one that creates tangible benefits for The Review's problem, more than the defama-
scending," the Editorial Board of The Michigan people. It's easy to sign a petition for higher tion of Coke, is the knee-jerk reaction of campus
Review enjoyed Suhael Momin's column Mon- minimum wages as a way to end poverty, a stop- groups whenever a controversy pops up. Look no
day (The politics of Coke, 01/09/2006). In a col- gap policy that neglects the fundamental issues further than the alleged "Asian peeing" incident
umn supposedly defending activism, we instead behind structural poverty. But it takes far more of first semester to see how groups at this Univer-
saw a piece markedly more concerned with effort to go out and feed the hungry, provide shel- sity will assume the worst and circle the wagons
name-calling and belittling than any actual anal- ter for the homeless, or work in a poorly function- for events that may or may not have occurred.
ysis of our position - an unjournalistic approach ing school - to provide direct benefits to people More than the so-called "activism" of our stu-
if there ever was one. who need it most. Our position simply suggests dent body, The Michigan Review is concerned
Let us first cast light on the contradiction that time is better spent on the latter than the for- and dismayed by the "true or not" near-witch-
in Momin's column. He writes: "Last year, mer, and that good works are the sine qua non of hunt mentality that pops up anytime a crime is
the Review attempted to enlighten misguided basic activism. alleged on this campus.
activists with a editorial suggesting students Activism means being "active" in a direct The Michigan Review has now been a
should focus on direct action through service way. Getting involved in larger campaigns to campus presence and the intellectual capitol
groups." And then paragraphs later, with nary change policy may be well and good when of campus conservatism at the University for
a hint of irony, Momin continues: "(R)aising warranted, but such involvement is rarely almost 25 years. In this controversy and oth-
these concerns ex post ... begs the question: well considered. Before considering the rea- ers, we have sought to provide an alternative,
Why didn't vocal campus conservatives voice son behind activism, or whether their tactics counterweight news and opinion source that
these concerns earlier?" This error begs the are on the whole effective, students take to the helps enrich the student body. Above all we
question: Can the Daily's editorial page editor Diag with self-righteous indignation, doing believe that truth does matter, even in our tiny
even get his facts straight? more harm to their cause than the self-aggran- bubble surrounded by reality.
Instead of having Momin distort our views, dizing they've done to their egos. Potentially
stories and opinions, we invite the entire campus worthwhile causes are lost in the shouting, and James Dickson is an LSA senior and the
to read us, and make up their own mind. Read students are pushed to apathy, finding it prefer- Review's editor in chief. Paul Teske is an LSA
our blog (www.michiganreview.com), pick up our able to the with-us-or-against-us mentality of senior and the Review's publisher. Michael
paper and write feedback. But for everyone's some groups on campus. O'Brien is an LSA sophomore and the Review's
sake, don't read the Review via the center-Left As for the issue itself, if the Coca-Cola Com- campus life editor. Nick Cheolas is an LSA
filter that is the Daily's editorial page. Momin's pany is found guilty of the charges that it faces junior and the Review's content editor. Sekou
inaccuracy aside, the Review has actually in the court of public opinion, the University Benson is an LSA senior and the Review's
expounded a consistent stance on both activism should absolutely cut its contract. We do not recruitment and content editor.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

0

0

Momin distorts ideals of
conservative activism
TO THE DAILY:
In Suhael Momin's column, The Politics of Coke
(01/09/2006), Momin claimed that conservative
outcry over the victory by the Coalition to Cut
the Contract with Coca-Cola is largely based on
a "preconceived hostility toward student - and
especially liberal - activism." Writing off con-
servatives' reaction as a "knee-jerk" and unintel-
ligent response, however, is the result of Momin's
ignorance of the conservative ideals that produce
the mantra he knows so well.
Conservatives are clearly not against politi-
cal activism - liberals and conservatives alike
are overwhelmingly impressed by the ability of
conservatives to mobilize voters and constitu-

different conclusion than the Coke coalition's
members. To suggest otherwise is to repeat
the condescending holier-than-thou attitude he
accuses conservatives of having.
I do not actively spend my time fighting
the Coke Coalition, because like Momin I
am simply not that interested in their fight
- not out of apathy or disinterest, but rather
because I feel the Coke coalition's solution
is harmful. My ideology demands a differ-
ent approach to solving the same problems
the Coke coalition wants to stop. After look-
ing at the facts, I feel University divestment
is harmful and fails to produce the desired
outcomes. Rather than whine about liberal
activism, I am upset at the decision and the
coalition alike because I would like to see
comprehensive attempts by the student body
at addressing the root issues behind the prob-
lems - such as third-world economic dispar-

'U' salaries shouldn't try
to compete with Ivy League
TO THE DAILY:
According to Prof. Koopmann, "faculty sal-
aries are inadequate" (Faculty pay can't compete
with Ivies, 01/10/2006). Is that really the case?
I have two issues with that statement and the
slant of the article. First, it assumes that the Ivy
League is the University's primary peer group.
It is not. The other prestigious public universi-
ties, like the University of California at Berke-
ley, the University of Texas at Austin and the
University of Virginia, are our peer group, no
matter how much the University wants to com-
pare itself to the Ivies. The Ivies are private
institutions that don't have the same financial
restraints state-supported public institutions
have. Second, it is assumed that if salaries

Editorial Board Members: Amy Anspach, Andrew Bielak, Reggie Brown, Gabrielle
D'Angelo, John Davis, Whitney Dibo, Milly Dick, Sara Eber, Jesse Forester, Mara Gay, Jared
Goldberg, Ashwin Jagannathan, Theresa Kennelly, Mark Kuehn, Will Kerridge, Frank Man-
ley, Kirsty McNamara, Rajiv Prabhakar, Matt Rose, David Russell, Katherine Seid, Brian
r'1 - 1 i 1_- C--- 1, .._-._C__..1 T-- T 1 -- T, . - r -

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