4A - Thursday, October 11, 2007
The Michigan Daily = michigandaily.com
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Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
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 ofttheir authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes a critical look at
coverage and content in every section of the paper. Readers are encouraged to contact the publiceditor
with questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University must facilitate transition for service veterans
s difficult as serving overseas in the military is, transitioning
back into civilian life is a challenge for veterans that doesn't
get the same consideration. Enrolling in college to live out
the promise of the GI Bill shouldn't add to the burden. However, the
recently founded Student Veterans Association of the University of
Michigan has brought light to the many difficulties veteran's face in
the application process when applying to the University. These diffi-
culties have existed for some time, yet the University is still unwill-
ing to face them. Daunted by confusing bureaucracy in the office of
Admissions, veterans may opt to attend another university, finding
ours to be an unwelcoming place. This sends exactly the wrong mes-
sage for an institution that considers a diverse and open campus to
be a key part of a maintaining a vibrant educational environment.
Our country for the first time in
my life has abandoned the basic principle
of human rights."
- Former President Jimmy Carter on the Bush-administration's lack of openness about the
possible torture of enemy combatants, as reported yesterday at CNN.com.
Eight men out
Do Republicans realize that
winning the presidency
involves more than targeted
attack ads, paying
lip service to the
and engaging in '
world rhetoric? z
because those very
things worked so
well in 2004. IMRAN
not be much bet- SYED
ter, but at least they
haven't forgotten that it's people who
vote and that an increasing number of
those people tend to be non-rich and
non-white. Those are the very people
the Republicans have overlooked con-
sistently on the campaign trail and
seemed to ignore completely in Tues-
day's debate in Dearborn.
In 2003, Hispanics became Amer-
ica's largest minority group. With
issues like immigration, guest worker
programs and health care figuring
so prominently into the agenda dur-
ing this presidential race, you'd think
Republicans would have jumped at the
chance to directly address Hispanic
voters in a Spanish-language debate.
They were given that chance in Sep-
tember; they all declined, with the sole
exception of John McCain.
Later that month came the party's
abomination at the historically black
Morgan State University in Balti-
more. In a debate focusing on minority
issues moderated by prominent black
talk-show host Tavis Smiley, the four
leading Republicans (McCain, Mitt
Romney, Fred Thompson and Rudy
Giuliani) were all no-shows, citing
So, to summarize, Republicans don't
have time for black people. Coupled
with the Hispanics they refuse to speak
to, that's almost 75 million Americans
that apparently don't matter.
Tuesday's debate in Dearborn - a
Detroit suburb home to the highest
concentration of Arabs anywhere out-
side of the Middle East - was another
opportunity to reach out to voters
who aren't socially white and may not
make five-figure campaign donations.
Though this time the Republicans
did at least show up, naturally they
botched this opportunity too.
By the way they were talking,
you'd think they were locked in a war
room, forced to react on a dime to an
imminent attack on the country. They
warned us that "Communist China"
would steal everything, right down to
the very stars on our flag, if we didn't
do something to stop it. In no uncertain
terms, they reiterated that there are a
lot of people in the world who want to
kill us, justifying things like preemp-
tive strikes and mobilizing for war
without congressional approval.
Far from repairing the mess we
made in Iraq, the conversation cen-
tered on how exactly we should pre-
pare for going into Iran. The lone voice
of reason on this issue was Ron Paul,
a staunch libertarian who is in favor
of dismantling more or less the entire
government. You know you're in trou-
ble when Paul sounds like the most
measured, contemplative candidate.
On issues of national security
and terrorism, the leading Republi-
cans were nearly unanimous in their
antagonistically hawkish outlook.
Even in Dearborn, a city where its
common to find street signs trans-
lated to Arabic, they saw no harm
in implying continuing strikes and
strife in the Middle East. There may
be 30,000 Arabs in Dearborn, but
inside the confines of the Ford Com-
munity Center, the candidates could
conveniently remain oblivious. Hav-
ing overlooked Hispanic and Black
Americans, they could hardly have
been expected to offer anything more
So why come to Dearborn at all?
To speak to the common American,
of course. Michigan has the highest
unemployment rate in the country.
Dearborn, once the bustling center
of Ford Motor Company's manufac-
turing operations, has in recent years
faded into Rust Belt decline and hard-
ship. There were promises to be made
and votes to be won. But the situation
changes once you put the candidates
in an enclosed room and turn the
Early in the debate, Thompson per-
sonified to perfection the aloofness of
the Republican candidates: "I think
there is no reason to believe that we're
headed for a rece'ssion ... We're enjoy-
ing low inflation. We're enjoying low
unemployment." Who exactly does he
mean by "we"? Consideringthat Mich-
igan's unemployment rate is more than
7 percent, he surely doesn't mean us.
Romney, who was born not too far
is personal." Then he went on to engage
in a tit-for-tat with Giuliani over some-
thing as profoundly relevant as the line
item veto. The two also traded compet-
ingstatistics on who cut taxes and who
raised them and who has achieved a
more deeply spiritual hatred of Hillary
Clinton. Romney also took cheap shots
at Gov. Jennifer Granholm and clashed
with Paul over the war in Iraq (while
advocating that lawyers should decide
whether or not we invade acountry).
The GOP misses
The son of Michigan's beloved for-
mer governor George Romney did not
mention Michigan again at any point
during the debate.
In anticipation of the debate, Saul
Anuzis, chairman of the Michigan
Republican Party pointed out that
metro Detroit has a large population
of Reagan Democrats and is therefore
the perfect setting for a Republican
debate on economic issues. Selecting
Dearborn for the sake of ReaganDem-
ocrats makes about as much sense as
selecting Ann Arbor for once having
been the land of Potawatomi Indian
tribes: It's technicallytrue,butit over-
looks so much that has happened since
then and betrays an almost complete
ignorance of the demographics and
concerns of the region.
For Dearborn and Michigan, that's
Imran Syed is the Daily's
editorial page editor. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
The University has more than 25,000
undergraduates, and a mere 48 of these
are veterans - the second lowest percent-
age of veterans in the Big Ten, behind only
Northwestern University. The Student vet-
erans Association, founded this year by Air
Force veteran. Derek Blumke, is determined
to increase that number. The group recently
met with Lester Monts, the University's
senior vice provost for academic affairs;
about creating a special Office for Student
veterans' Affairs to make the process of
applying easier for veterans. Monts, how-
ever, glossed over the request, arguing that
the University does not have enough veter-
ans to warranta special office for them.
Monts's denial of the request is indica-
tive of the University's negligence. A
major reason why the University has so
few veterans could be because it does not
exert enough effort to assist them in the
application process, thus the University
is continuing the vicious cycle by deny-
ing veterans the support they need. This
makes our campus seem arrogant and
unresponsive to the special inquiries some
veterans have when applying to college.
veterans, regardless of what type of stu-
dents they may have been before serving
in the military, face unique challenges in
applyingto theUniversity. Itis notthatthey
are unqualified; rather, they face logistical
barriers that most other applicants do not.
Having been out of high school for so long,
veterans may not have valid test scores,
current transcripts or teachers recom-
mendations. Without a specialized Office
of Student veterans' Affairs, veterans are
often left confused about what steps to
take regarding application and payment as
well as the specifics of the GI Bill. It would
not be difficult for the University to desig-
nate just a few employees to take care of
the specific concerns of veterans, and it
would be completely worth it.
The government has already reached out
to veterans with the 2007 additions to the
GI Bill, which gives financial aid to veterans
enrolled in college. Ohio State University
and the University of Wisconsin at Madison
both already have offices of veterans' affairs;
it's no coincidence that those schools also
have 598 and 224 student veterans respec-
tively. The state of Wisconsin allows all of its
vets to attend either a University of Wiscon-
sin affiliate or Wisconsin Technical College
for free. This may be more than the Univer-
sity of Michigan can do, but it must at least
do all it can to ensure that such students are
not discouraged from applying.
Building a larger population of veter-
ans at the University is critical because
of the diversity of experience it will bring
to campus. While the University has pro-
grams that reach out to many different
types of students in its ongoing mission to
increase diversity, diversity entails more
than just differences in race and religion.
veterans have lived a life and experienced
things that most students never will, and
they could contribute their vast experi-
ences to improve classroom learning.
It is unfair and irresponsible for the Uni-
versity to continue to ignore a group that
has explicitly asked for assistance. There
is no reason that the University should
deny veterans the extra help and support
they deserve on campus.
Editorial Board Members: Emad Ansari, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Brian Flaherty, Gary Graca, Emmarie Huetteman,
Theresa Kennelly, Gavin Stern, Jennifer Sussex, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha,
Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Wagner
SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU
The Bush administration has struggled to find the
manpower to continue its agenda in the Middle East,
with the war in Iraq still dragging on. The government
had these problems as early as 2003, when after over-
extending current members of the armed forces on
third, fourth and fifth tours, it hired the private secu-
rity firm Blackwater.
Blackwater is centered in North Carolina, with its
soldiers being trained on the planet's biggest privately
owned base. While Blackwater has been in Iraq since
2003, most Americans are not familiar with this little
publicized answer to the army's military woes.
Through this company and 27 similar firms, the
administration has increased the number of troops in
Iraq while avoiding more drastic actions to fill quotas.
While this may sound like a positive approach to the
problem of dwindling troops, the lack of accountability
of these private firms makes them more like a lawless
militia set loose upon the Iraqi people.
Blackwater's most recent controversy occurred on
Sept. 16, when the company says that one of its convoys
was shot at and returned fire. But an recent Iraqi report
purports that the convoy was not under fire. The report
also says civilians in a white sedan were killed when
the car failed to stop at a traffic circle and was attacked
by the guards. The Iraqi report demands that Blackwa-
ter pay $8 million to each family if found guilty of kill-
ing 17 and injuring 20 civilians during this shooting:
Whether or not Blackwater is found responsible for
these killings, the government's increasing privatiza-
tion of-the military needs to be questioned because it
has created a system where companies like Blackwater
are capable of getting away with civilian causalities.
Thanks to a law passed in 2004 by Iraq's since defunct
Coalition Provisional Authority, firms like Blackwater
were given immunity from Iraqi litigation.
This law would have allowed Blackwater to escape
being sued over these civilian deaths, but the Iraqi
report says that Blackwater's license to work in Iraq
expired in 2006. Because Blackwater no longer has a
license to operate in Iraq, it can no longer claim pro-
tection under Iraq's now altered law. Iraqi people can
now sue firms like Blackwater, but the question of how
Blackwater continued to operate without a license
demonstrates the (perhaps deliberate) lack of monitor-
ing by the U.S. government.
The government has little incentive to monitor pri-
vate troops, because this could mean losing a source of
combat personnel that it desperately needs. In order to
continue waging an unpopular war, the government is
willing to risk privatizing the military. To do this, the
government created laws hampering the course of jus-
tice for the Iraqi people.
Because private companies are now covered under
Iraqi law, there may be fewer instances of violence
against civilians and more accountability. However,
that does not change the fact that private companies
are going to concern themselves primarily with profit,
not safety or justice. This means that if a private firm
does violate the law, accountability is still unlikely.
The Bush administration had to partially privatize the
military in order to fight a war without the support of
most Americans. Thus, it has created a paradox between
the interests of companies and those of the Iraqi people,
and the common good. This cannot continue.
The government must follow the provisions set by the
Iraqi report: disband Blackwater and allow trials in an
Iraqi court. Even accounting for all the justifications for
continued war that Bush has put forth, Iraqi civilians are
certainly not benefiting if they are trapped within the
dictates of private American contractors with guns.
Jennifer Sussex is an LSA junior and a
member of the Daily's editorial board.
DPS should treat allfans
equally at the Big House
is on the rise, remember that the surge in
ejections could'just be part of the larger trend
of officials who eject students from sporting
events without any reasonable suspicion, just
cause and without any legal recourse.
TO THE DAILY:v
Perhaps the increase in citations, arrests Nicholas Douville
and ejections at Michigan Stadium is not a Rackham
result of "good weather and more games at
3:30 p.m.," as Department of Public Safety
spokeswoman Diane Brown indicated (Row- Editorial misses reasoning
diness on rise at Big House, 10/08/2007), butb ,e
rather related to the increasingly pervasive behid Bush's S-CHIP Veto
attitude of many DPS officers who believe that
students inside the stadium are not entitled to TO THE DAILY:
the same legal rights as others in the stadium. I have serious objections to the Daily's praise
During the recent home football game of S-CHIP, the children's health care bill that
against Oregon, my roommate, and I were President Bush recently vetoed (Taking care
ejected from the game for disorderly conduct, from a baby, 10/08/2007).
despite the fact neither of us had been drinking The fact that the Daily's editorial board
nor exhibiting any type of rowdy behavior. We believes that the 61-cent tax hike on cigarettes
were removed from the stadium, only because a won't increase the deficit misses a more impor-
group of heavily intoxicated girls (who showed tant point. Indeed, raising the federal cigarette
up at the end of the first quarter) wanted our tax will do something much worse: dispro-
seats. Without verifying that we were in our portionately increase the tax burden on low-
ticketed seats and without talking to us or to income families. The Washington-based Tax
any other members of our group, the officers Foundation estimates that the tax burden of
escorted us out of the stadium. This was despite the proposed hike will hit the lowest-earning
the fact that the drunken girls themselves 20 percent of households 37 times harder than
recanted their earlier claims against us. if the revenue are raised through an income
Sadly, DPS now defines disorderly con- tax instead.
duct as two totally sober graduate students The unintended consequences of raising the
who arrive at the game 30 minutes before cigarette tax are undeniable. High taxes are
kickoff and subsequently cheer for Michigan simply not the key to increasing revenue, and
from their assigned seats. Moreover, without states will learn this lesson firsthand when 61
explaining to us why we were removed from cents is piled on top of existing state cigarette
the stadium, DPS has continued to ignore taxes. Revenues will go down, and the tax bur-
all written correspondence and attempts to den for the poor will go up. All for the kids.
receive compensation for the tickets and a for-
mal apology from the officers involved. Before Jonny Slemrod
believing the claim that "student rowdiness" LSA sophomore
So men, the president But we don't have That's OK, he'll just make
wants a war with Iran. any real evidence! some up for us again.