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September 11, 2007 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2007-09-11

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 4

4 - Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu
KARL STAMPFL IMRAN SYED JEFFREY BLOOMER
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR MANAGING EDITOR
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.
Six years later
Things have changed. It's time to understand why.
Six years ago today, the world stood in shock as terrorist
attacks killed thousands in New York and Washington.
Although much time has passed, the fear that gripped
the nation following these events maintains its stranglehold on
much of American society today. Examples like the everlasting
"War on Terror," the continuing loss of civil liberties and unabat-
ed racial insensitivity show that little progress has been made
toward healing the wounds of Sept. 11.

Are there any terrorists in the world who
can change the American way of life or
our political system? No."
- Former Sec. of State Colin Powell in an interview in this month's issue of GQ magazine

4

Goodfor Michigan

The decision to move Michi-
gan's presidential primary to
Jan. 15 has plunged the world
of U.S. politics into
a frenzied panic.
New Hampshire
must now contem-
plate leap-frog- 1
ging Michigan and1
Florida in order
to retain its sta-
tus as the nation's
first primary. The ROBERT
big machines of SOAVE
the Democratic
and Republica-
tion National Committees are issu-
ing stern warnings that rogue states
like Michigan and Florida should fall
back in line or risk losing delegates at
the convention.
Some pundits are predicting the
collapse of the entire state primary
system and politicians are already
sharpening their legislative knives to
reform it for 2012. Michigan or any
other state that dares challenge Iowa
and New Hampshire is lengthening
the election, and moving the country
closer to a national primary system
and our political climate into that of a
permanent campaign mode.
Good for Michigan.
Evenifyoubelieve the fear-monger-
ing of the experts who are desperately
trying to preserve a corrupt and anti-
quated system, moving the primary is
still an excellent decision for our state.
For far too long have Iowa, New Hamp-
shire, South Carolina and Nevada held
the coveted first slots in primary sea-
son. Why should those four states be
guaranteed the first slots? Combined,
they send a total of 173 delegates to

the Democratic National Convention,
while Michigan alone sends 157. The
discrepancy is even greater with Flor-
ida, which sends 210 delegates to the
convention.
Florida and Michigan are impor-
tant swing states with substantial
electoral prizes. Should such states
not have a bigger role in choosing the
nominees because they are so impor-
tantto the general election? Whymust
we wait for Iowa and New Hampshire
to award momentum to certain can-
didates when it will be swing states
like ours that decide the real 2008
election? It is equally important that
the swing states be satisfied with the
nominees. Michigan and Florida have
a right to fight for first primary status.
The members of the national party
committees, however, will not even
allow the states to compete for the first
spot on the primary calendar. Cling-
ing to an old system that clearly can-
not last, they have decreed that any
state that defies the national party and
questions Iowa and New Hampshire's
historic entitlements will be punished.
The statements of the national party
committeeswould seemarrogant- like
an aristocracy dealing with its unruly
peasantry - if any muscle backed them.
The nationalpartycommittees have
lost their minds if they really expect
to get away with depriving Michigan
of half its delegates. The parties need
Michigan's electoral votes. The com-
mittee could choose to shun Michigan
and nominate a candidate without our
state's involvement, but then it have to
throw this candidate back at us in the
general election and expect us to vote
for him or her. There could be no bet-
ter strategy for losing a swing state.

The experts would have us believe
that a national primary is on its way if
Michigan passes New Hampshire, but
isn't a national primary more likely if
all the primaries are forced into a bot-
tleneck behind Iowa and New Hamp-
shire? The increased competition
for states other than Iowa and New
Hampshire might aid lesser-known
candidates by giving them more plat-
forms toget their names and messages
out. It is no surprise that the three
leading Democrats in the race have
followed the advice of top guns in the
Competing for an
early primary is a
state's right.
party committees and decided not to
campaign in states that move their
primaries ahead of New Hampshire.
It is time to hold those candidates
accountable. We must nominate the
candidates that our state cares about,
not just accept whatever Iowa and
New Hampshire hand us. If some can-
didates think that they do not need
Michigan because they already have
Iowa, then they will have to live with-
out Michigan's votes - a reality that
will hurt them more than it hurts us.
New Hampshire is welcome to
move its date forward. Michigan is not
asking for the right to go first. It is only
asking for the right to challenge for it.
Robert Soave can be reached
at rsoave@umich.edu.

I
I

Nearly 3,000 people died in the Sept. 11
attacks. At this sixth anniversary, an addi-
tional 3,772 Americans have been killed in
Iraq and more than 430 have been killed in
Afghanistan. But truly understanding the
changes of the past six years means going
beyond just counting the dead. President
Bush is fond of saying that Sept. 11 changed
everything. Unfortunately, that includes
the way we live and the civil liberties we
are entitled to as well.
The USA Patriot Act, which became law
in October 2001, capitalized on the intense
fear that permeated the country in the
weeks following the attacks. Although that
initial fear subsided, we aren't allowed to
ever forget it completely. Constant remind-
ers, like the color-coded terror alert levels
and the Patriot Act's recent renewal have
prevented Americans from ever truly
moving beyond the fear and toward the
understanding that is necessary to keep a
grasp of the realities that are so often bent
by politicians.
Congress went even further this year by
adopting the Protect America Act of 2007.
Passed in early August, this law authorizes
the government to conduct surveillance on
any international communications - phone
calls and e-mails, among other things -
including those to and from American citi-
zens without seeking FISA court approval.
Politicians in Washington are continuing
to capitalize on the culture of fear while
ignoring their own duty to do all they can
to understand and act on the intricacies of
the causes of terrorism.
Some in the judicial branch, however,
are working to reverse this digression from
constitutional values. Last week, a U.S.
District judge in New York ruled portions

of the Patriot Act unconstitutional, equat-
ing them to "the legislative equivalent to
breaking and entering." While it seems that
the damage of these six years of fear and
anger may finally start to be curbed, it'll
take years to be undone.
Furthermore, the American public's
knowledge and acceptance of Middle East-
ern and Muslim people has deepened very
little since the towers fell. Few have sought
to understand these different cultures,
while many turn to the easier standbys of
ignorance, stereotypes and hatred. We all
know that the world became much more
complicated six years ago. We can no lon-
ger afford not to understand it.
The University has aimed to help in this
endeavor. To mark each anniversary, the
Josh Rosenthal Education Fund Lecture
hosts a speaker discussing issues related to
the aftermath of Sept. 11. Today's speaker
is Larry Cox, the executive director of
Amnesty International. Institutions across
the nation will hold similar events, but they
can only facilitate understanding if people
choose to engage in them.
Today, as America mourns onthe liveslost
six years ago, we must also recognize impli-
cations of the social and political changes
of the aftermath of this catastrophic event.
The two wars waged following the attacks
have done little but cause more death and
destruction. The elements we sought to
destroy are now stronger than ever. Politi-
cians have used the attacks as a justification
for the elimination of multiple civil liber-
ties and some individuals have used it as an
excuse to stigmatize those of Middle East-
ern descent or appearance. This digression
from progress is not a fitting way to honor
those who died six years ago today.

4

JAMES LA TERZA

Ivoluntary service

Editorial Board Members: Ben Caleca, Mike Eber, Brian Flaherty,
Emmarie Huetteman, Kellyn Jackson, Gavin Stern, Jennifer Sussex,
Neil Tambe, Radhika Upadhyaya
ALEXANDER HONKALA

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I write this piece regarding my
opinion on the current war funding
debate in Congress as an Army vet-
eran. I hope that my experiences can
help University students gain a bet-
ter understanding of the impact the
war is having on our nation's service
members.
Our nation is not fighting the war
against terrorism with an "all-vol-
unteer force," like the administra-
tion claims. On the contrary, the
Department of Defense has imple-
mented several policies to retain
soldiers on a non-voluntary basis. I
am personally familiar with these
policies; I have been ordered to
serve involuntarily on two separate
occasions. I would like to share my
experiences in order to help people
understand the consequences of
our government's poor planning
and its inability to gain support at
home and abroad for a militaristic
and aggressive solution to prevent
another Sept. 11. In this way, I hope
that readers can. decide for them-
selves if America's current strategy
is truly as sustainable as politicians
would like us to believe.
My story is not unique for mem-
bers of the Army and the Marines
that have served since Sept. 11. I
signed a contract to serve eight years
in the Army - four years on active
duty and four years in the reserves.
Like thousands of soldiers affected
by the Army's stop-loss policy, my
active duty service was involuntarily
extended by six months for a deploy-
ment to Afghanistan. I understood
the need to maintain cohesiveness
within my unit to complete a diffi-
cult mission, and I served my year in
Afghanistanproudly. Iwashonorably
discharged and joined the Individual
Readiness Reserve, which is an alter-
native for soldiers who choose not
to join the National Guard or Army
Reserves.
Sixteen months later, after com-
pleting a graduate degree and
starting a new professional career,
I received orders for an 18-month
involuntary mobilization in order
to deploy to Iraq. Given the circum-
stances in mylife andmy moraloppo-
sition to our government's course of

action in Iraq, I chose to follow the
Army's process to request exemp-
tion from the mobilization. After
receiving notice that my exemption
was denied (with no explanation of
the specific grounds on which it was
denied), I followed the administra-
tive process to appeal the decision.
In the end, I was informed that my
appeal was also denied and that my
total service obligation would be
extended by a minimum of seven
months beyond my eight-year con-
tractual agreement.
An all-volunteer
army is already a
thing of the past.
The authority for involuntary
extension of duty is derived from
a "declaration of national emer-
gency by reason of certain terrorist
attacks" within a Presidential Exec-
utive order issued on Sept. 14, 2001.
As The New York Times reported,
President Bush waited until 2006 to
increase the size of our armed forces
to address the strain in the mili-
tary that resulted from this national
emergency. I believe that involun-
tary service extensions such as mine
directly resulted from a failure to
address the strain on the military for
the five years following Sept. 11.
There are many more examples
of the desperate measures that the
Department of Defense has resorted
to in order to execute the current
strategy in Iraq. Recruiting stan-
dards have been lowered to embar-
rassing levels at a time that demands
competency and professionalism
in the military. Deployments have
been extended from 12 months to
15 months, and many soldiers are
currently serving their third tour in
Iraq. Retirement has been postponed
for soldiers who have decided not to
continue after more than 20 years of
service. Do these sound like charac-
teristics of an all-volunteer force or a
force capable of executing the pres-

ident's policies in Iraq for an indefi-
nite period of time?
While we debate the prudence
of drawdowns and surges, the
Army has announced an alarming
increase in suicides. Divorce rates
have climbed as spouses struggle
to manage households and deal
with the anxiety of 15-month-long
separations during combat tours.
And when soldiers finally return to
their families and decide to exercise
their contractual right to exit the
military, our administration thanks
them for their sacrifices by extend-
ing their service time for additional
deployments and citing powers
granted under a 6-year-old declara-
tion of emergency.
Please consider these facts while
you listen to the upcoming debate in
Congress. Take time to contemplate
the price that service members will
continue to pay if Congress does not
demand a change of course. Are our
elected leaders unpatriotic if they
admit that it's time to relieve the bur-
den on our military? Are we really
"supporting the troops" by funding a
persistently failingstrategy?
I agree with the president in
that America faces a difficult chal-
lenge in maintaining security at
home and defending our interests
abroad against the threat of terror-
ism. I emphatically disagree that
we should rely on the military to
shoulder the burden. One hundred
sixty-thousand soldiers with weap-
ons patrolling the streets of Bagh-
dad will not convince millions of
Iraqis to live in peace. Nor can they
prevent terrorists across the world
from finding other safe havens from
which to operate.
The solution must be one that our
nation and our allies can embrace
and one that we can sustain for many
years. If you agree, please voice your
opinion to your representatives in
Congress. Despite what the president
might try to lead you to believe, it's
time to support the troops with more
than patience and a fading yellow
ribbon magnet on your car bumper.
James La Terza is a
2006 Rackham alum.

4

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Viewpoint Policy
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preference will be given to pieces written on behalf of individuals rather than an organization.
Editors will run viewpoints accordingtto timeliness, order received and available space.
Viewpoints should be no longer than 700 words. The Daily reserves the right to edit for length,
clarity and accuracy.
Send viewpointsubmissions to edilpoge.elilorsaiumich.edu, or contact the editors at that address
to arrange one in advance.

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