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February 12, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-02-12

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4A -Monday, February 12, 2007

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
413 E. Huron St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

People are always teaching us democracy but ...
don't want to learn it themselves."
- Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN on America's desire to spread democracy while supposedly
skirting some of its tenets, as reported Saturday by Reuters.
S.} 1 . 1 1 $ . 1 iir. e .... ..... ..... .. _ . . ...





Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board. All other signed articles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The more things change ...
Recent progress by student leadership merits accolades
T here are some issues that have plagued students on this
campus for longer than the University administration,
student government and even this page will admit. But
recently, progress on some such issues has been unusually expedi-
ent, to the pleasant surprise of our campus's many beloved critics
- including us, of course.




J --Su

Androgynous politics

Yielding to repeated complaints by Uni-
versity faculty and students, the society
formerly known as Michigamua seems to
finally be coming around. Rid of its infa-
mous Native American rituals and artifacts,
discrimination against women and secret
member lists, the society about rounded out
the completion of its critics' demands last
week by finally announcing a new name:
The Order of Angell. Granted, it took the
hallowed Angell name without the blessing
of the family of former University President
and Michigamua founder James Angell.
But progress is progress, and we look for-
ward a more productive campus relation-
ship with The Order of Angell than was had
in recent years with Michigamua.
That shattering change would be quite
an accomplishment for any week, but last
week brought along another. LSA-Student
Government also made some long-awaited
strides, finally making good on that prom-
ise to revamp course registration - a flawed
system that has plagued students for so long
that we were sure student government had
thrown in the towel. But come winter 2008,
some punk sophomore will no longer be able
to land an earlier registration time than a
hardworking upperclassman.
The new system, though not yet fully
fleshed out, will increase the number of
credit brackets, which should work to the
favor of those students caught in the bor-
ders of the old credit brackets:It will also
group students strictly according to credit
hours and dismantle the so-called "random
loser phenomenon" that bumped students

to a later time slot if their original slot hap-
pened to conflict with their class schedule.
Talk about registration Russian roulette.
Miraculously, LSA-SG has successfully sift-
ed through the red tape and overcome the
dense LSA bureaucracy to fix this perennial
This page's reputation for harsh criti-
cism notwithstanding, this is one of those
rare instances to bow to the facts and praise
these groups for taking these steps.
But make no mistake, utopia isn't exact-
ly around the corner. Whether it's called
Michigamua or The Order of Angell, we still
don't know what goes on in those meetings
or exactly what the group does for this cam-
pus. The society's defense - that the other
campus groups are more secretive - is sim-
ply naive. Those groups didn't appropriate
Native American artifacts for decades. You
have to earn the right to privacy.
And in regards to the registration
change, it is imperative that LSA-SG follow
through. If winter 2008 comes and goes
without change, online registration will be
added to the long list of student issues that
get lost somewhere between proposal and
Despite these apprehensions, The Order
of Angell and LSA-SG's recent progress is
a beacon of hope in the pattern stagnation
that typically defines student action. It offers
us wary editorial writers hope that one day,
aging issues like textbook prices; student
housing and public transportation will also
be solved by old-fashioned elbow grease and
pragmatic compromise.

She is a female political icon:
intelligent, independent and
articulate. She is also beautiful,
pulling off a style unknown by most
female politicians and rated as sexier
than Elizabeth Hurley by FHM. She is
in a noncommittal romantic relation-
ship with another key player in her
political party, and he's fathered her
four illegitimate
children. She is
Segolene Royal,
a Socialist vying
to be France's
first female"
For more
reasons than
just her gender,.
Royal is a revo-
lutionary can- THERESA
didate for theK
French presi- KENNELLY
dency. She has -
backed ideologically feminist legisla-
tion and pushed the political envelope
with her foreign policy beliefs - not
to mention her receding skirt line.
ed to further scandalize her by con-
ning her into interviews that unfairly
portray her politics and treating her
more like a beauty queen than a poli-
tician. Yet despite the media's obses-
sion with her, her flavorful personal
life and critics antagonizing her from
every angle, Royal is considered the
top contender for France's presiden-
tial election in April.
So why should American voters
care about this avant-garde, flam-
boyant Frenchy? Royal's popularity
in France provides for an interest-
ing juxtaposition to how America
is receiving its leading lady, Hillary
Rodham Clinton. Royal embraces her
femininity, which has not prevented
her from receiving the support of her
party and of voters who nominated
her in the November primaries. In
fact, her feminist ideology (shown in
her push for legislation making con-
traception more accessible) is largely
to account for her political fame.
But on this side of the ocean,
Clinton, who rarely does anything

remarkably feminine, is having a hard
time getting voters and media outlets
to look beyond her gender.
Compared to Royal's, Clinton's
femininity is practically invisible; any
hint of estrogen is masked by the pol-
itician. She's about as androgynous a
female presidential candidate as any
man skeptical of female leadership
could ask for. While a proponent of
abortion rights, Clinton hasn't tapped
into any of the feminist-based legisla-
tion that has defined Royal's career,
and she remains conservative in both
dress and mode of expression.
Yet for some reason, most Ameri-
can political analysts and media
outlets can't help but mention the
presidential candidate's gender every
five minutes. In some instances,
Clinton's femininity has been used to
exploit her, including criticism about
showingtoomuchskinand notdress-
ing modestly enough when speaking
before the Senate. In fact, last March,
actress Sharon Stone showed con-
cern for Clinton's chances, telling
Hollywood Life magazine, "Hillary
still has sexual power, and I don't
think people will accept that. It's too
Sexual power? Clinton couldn't
pass for a feminist even if she led a
bra-burning rally on Capitol Hill. She
has denied even the last bits of her
femininity to achieve the political
status she has today.
So why are the French so much
more accepting of their political
bombshell than America is of the
comparatively modest Hillary? Per-
haps America's emphasis on gender
in politics and the media's routine
mention of how revolutionary it
would be to have a woman nominated
for president is actually hurting Clin-
ton's chances.
The fact that President Bush
devoted the opening minutes of his
State of the Union address to how
much America has progressed now
that we have a female speaker of the
House is enough to show that gen-
der has become too much of a spec-
tacle in Washington. Women are
being treated as novelties rather than

equals. But in Europe, female leaders
are nothing new, so while Royal win-
ning the presidency will still be revo-
lutionary, she is not being treated like
an anomaly. Her gender just isn't that
big of a deal.
And Clinton certainly isn't help-
ing make herself look any less novel.
As her own chief strategist wrote
on her website "it is about time this
country had its first woman presi-
dent." Sayings like this throw gen-
der into the political arena where it
isn't needed. Either Hillary is quali-
fied or not; her gender should have
nothing to do with it.
As Bridget Johnson writes in a
column for the National Review
Online, "Rather than waiting all my
life to see some more estrogen in
Hillary is ideal
for America's
gendered politics.
the White House, I'm waiting to see
the defeat of terrorism... And I don't
care if the leader who will help us
there is male, female, sexy, ugly,
straight, gay, black, white, Hispan-
ic, etc."
While the Royal/Clinton com-
parison isn't perfect, looking at the
gendered state of American politics,
it's clear that Americans have a lot of
maturing to do. If androgynous Hill-
ary Clinton can't bring America out
of the rut of characteristically similar
men running the Oval Office, then
who can? America needs to get a grip
on sexual equality and stop pretend-
ing that the presidency will change
forever if Hillary is elected. This
presidential election shouldn't be
about being revolutionary; it should
be about who's the best candidate to
lead the country forward. And if that
is a woman, then so be it.
Theresa Kennelly is an associate
editorial page editor. She can be
reached at thenelly@umich.edu.



B-Side storyfurthersfalse
perceptions ofalCohol use
Was it an intentional irony to present on
Thursday's front page an article about the
increase in alcohol citations in residence halls
followed by a B-Side story about what "your
bar says about you" (Alcohol, drug citations
on the rise in residence halls; What your bar
says about you, 02/08/2007). Or was this very
unfortunate juxtaposition a result of not seeing
the overall message about alcohol presented in
Thursday's paper?
The message sadly reinforced by both arti-
cles is that"everybody"is drinking- alot.Even
some of the large text on the page emphasizes
this -"Residence Hall Debauchery," "Rowdy
West Quad"- as if those who don't drink are
in the minority at the University.
As a research fellow at the University Sub-
stance Abuse Research Center, I have seen the
results of many studies that show that most
students do not drink to excess, most student
drinkers are not underage or using fake IDs.
Most students wish someone would do some-
thing about the disruptions caused by heavy
drinking, and most students think that every-
one else drinks more than they really do.
Thursday's articles do nothing to correct
false assumptions. Instead, the Daily buried
one probable reason for the increased cita-
tions deep on page 3A: A change in the way
the statistics are recorded by the University. I
find the "What your bar says about you" arti-
cle particularly offensive, insisting as it does
that everyone has been out drinking regularly
enough to have associated themselves with
a particular bar, that each of us can identify
ourselves among the drinking chumps in the
photo ("Which one are you?"), and that the
point is not to be social and hang with friends,
but simply to drink.
I note as well that sexism is implicitly con-
doned as concurrent with imbibing ("You want
your beer like you want your women"), another

fale and dangerous presumption suggesting
that women are merely commodities similar
to beer. I might additionally point out that the
sentence I quote above presumes every reader
is male.
I am not opposed to the ingestion of alcohol.
I myself drink on occasion, but I am opposed
to media reports that tend to suggest that the
only thing to do in college is drink and drink
a lot because everyone else is drinking a lot.
If there were a random anonymous poll taken
on campus today, I can almost guarantee the
findings would be similar to those I mentioned
earlier. Most students do not condone impru-
dent boozing and wish something would be
done to reduce it.
Perry Silverschanz, PhD, MSW
Creativity can't be taught
in even the best schools
James Somers has no problem rambling on
about what he dislikes about the Ross School
of Business (Why the B-School is overrated,
02/07/07). However, his lack of insight on how
to actually improve the Business School makes
him appear simply bitter about his own per-
sonal experience in the program. He writes
that the B-School doesn't "produce innova-
tors." Can creativity and "thinking outside the
box" really be taught at all?
How would Somers recommend teaching
this? Also, he argues that learning group work
is counterproductive and overemphasized.
Perhaps he could also propose how things
should be done differently? How do "better
business schools" operate in a different way?
Instead of just complaining, how about provid-
ing some possible solutions?
Paul Sinkevics
LSA freshman

An illegal war on trial

This week, military judge John Head barred interna-
tional and constitutional law scholars from testifying
on behalf of Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada. Lt. Watada is
being court-martialed for his refusal to serve in Iraq
and for denouncing America for conducting an illegal
It is no surprise that the last thing the government
wants is for the legality of the war in Iraq to be put on
trial. We know from the Downing Street Memo that
the government aimed to manipulate the facts to build
its case for this war. We know from the Niger yellow-
cake hoax that it did do so. We know from the Bush
administration's utilization of faulty and fraudulent
intelligence and the lack of accurate intelligence that it
did indeed lie to start a war.
Regardless of what the Bush administration did, the
military is subordinate to the president in the chain of
command. If Watada's illegal war defense is deemed
legitimate, the Pentagon must be held responsible for
the illegal occupation.
This is why the military court is blocking the ques-
tion of the legality of the war. Article 90 of the Uniform
Code of Military Justice requires that a command be
lawful in order for disobeying it to be a crime. Were it
proven that Watada was obeying international law by
disobeying an unlawful order, the war in Iraq would be
proven illegal.
The post-WWII Nuremberg trials established that
following orders was no excuse for committing war
crimes. It was ruled that the Nazi soldiers had not only
the right but the duty to disobey orders that were ille-
gal. This ruling applies to the Watada case. Those issu-
ing illegal orders do not see them as such - it becomes
the individual soldiers' responsibility to make that
However, there is no possible way to acquit Watada
on the basis of the illegality of the war without incrimi-
nating the entire military for participating in an illegal
war. Article VI of the U.S. Constitution binds us to the

treaties that we sign, including the U.N. Charter, which
bars the use of force except in self-defense. Aggression
was deemed as "the supreme international crime dif-
fering only from other war crimes in that it contains
within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." It
encompassed all the atrocities that flowed from the
invasion. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated
that the U.N. has always regarded the invasion of Iraq
as illegal.
Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jack-
son, who was chief prosecutor for America at Nurem-
berg, stated: "If certain acts of violation of treaties are
crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does
them or whether Germany does them, and we are not
prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against
others which we would not be willing to have invoked
against us."
The trial of Watada pits our rule of law against the
Bush regime and every entity it has dragged along into
its illegal war. The world will not judge Watada, the
military or the president for the outcome of the trial
- it will judge America as a whole. It is not just Watada
but our entire country that stands on trial. Our mili-
tary is subordinate to our civilian government, which
supposedly is subordinate to the public. This case is a
debate over the legality of the war in Iraq.
A soldier has a right and a duty to refuse to obey an
illegal order. For the sake of our Constitutional sys-
tem, we have the duty to stand by that soldier, or else
we bear the guilt of negligence toward the rule of law
along with our government.
If we fail and allow our government to establish a
precedent that soldiers can be ordered to commit ille-
gal acts, we are no better than any other citizenry that
permitted its democratic government to perpetrate
war crimes. Now that you know, what will you do?
Alex Satanovsky is an LSA junior and
a member of Anti-War Action.

\( :U
+ A
5M .


Editorial Board Members: Emily Beam, Kevin Bunkley, Amanda Burns, Sam Butler,
Ben Caleca, Brian Flaherty, Mara Gay, Jared Goldberg, Emmarie Huetteman, Toby Mitchell,
Rajiv Prabhakar, David Russell, Gavin Stern, John Stiglich, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner, Christopher Zbrozek

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