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February 13, 2008 - Image 4

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The Michigan Daily, 2008-02-13

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4A - Wednesday, February 13, 2008

4A -W nderrThe Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4

my idc t6'a n ail
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@umich.edu

4

ANDREW GROSSMAN
EDITOR IN CHIEF

Some people around here get cold feet when
threatened by the administration:'
-Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), on the Democrats' role in passing a reauthorization of the Bush
administration's wiretapping laws, as reported yesterday by The New York Times.
Give life (unless you're ga)

GARY GRACA
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR

GABE NELSON
MANAGING EDITOR

Unsigned editorials reflectthe official position 6f the Daily's editorialboard. All other signedarticles
and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
The Daily's public editor, Paul H. Johnson, acts as the readers' representative and takes acritical look at
coverage and content in every section ofthe paper. Readers are encouragedto contact the publiceditor
with questions andcomments. He can be reached atpubliceditor@umich.edu.
Prestige points
Bush must restore image with fair trials and basic rights
For six Guantanamo Bay detainees, the future looks bleak
- and likely lacking a fair trial. The Pentagon announced
this week that it has charged six men with war crimes in
connection with the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and plans to
seek the death penalty. Rather than conducting a just investiga-
tion in preparation for a just trial, though, new revelations indi-
cate that the government sanctioned the torture of one detainee to
obtain evidence for its shady trial. But as bad as things look, this
is the perfect opportunity to restore U.S. international prestige by
showcasing to the world that even America's most vilified enemies
deserve a fair trial.

f you are one of the dozens of
people planning to give blood
at Couzens Hall or West Quad
today, there are quite a few things
you should know.
You must weigh at
least 110 pounds.
You can't donate -
again if you've
done so in the last
eight weeks. You
shouldn't donate
for 12 months after
you receive a tattoo.
You can't donate GARY
if you've traveled GRACA
to certain West
African countries
recently or have been in contact with
someone who has.
And one more thing: You are con-
tributing to an organization that dis-
criminates againstgaymen. Or atleast
that's what administrators at San Jos6
State University think.
InAan unprecedented snub of the
American Red Cross, San Jose State
President Don Kassing announced
earlier this month that he is boot-
ing blood drives from campus. Why?
Because men who have had sex with
other men at least once since 1977
are barred for life from giving blood,
according to a Food and Drug Admin-
istration policy.
While it's unfortunate that the Red
Cross is now caught in the crossfire,
Kassing's wdecision was a necessary
evil to uphold his institution's non-dis-
crimination policy. As unsettling as it
might seem, the University of Michi-
gan, with a similar non-discrimination
policy, should follow suit with its own
campus-wide ban on blood drives.
Few argue that the FDA's policy
and its enforcement by the Red Cross
is anything but discriminatory. A relic
of a time when mullets, Madonna and
"Miami Vice" were popular, the policy
was rightly created in 1983 to pre-
vent the spread of HIV/AIDS through

blood transfusions. It was true at the
time - as it still is - that men who
have had sex with other men have a
disproportionately higher chance of
being HIV positive. Without reliable
HIV testing or a full understanding
of the disease, turning gay men away
was one of the few known ways to
keep blood banks from becoming HIV
distribution centers.
But then came the enlightenmentof
the 1990s. Made possible by cheaper,
more precise tests, all blood is now
tested for HIV after it's donated. Peo-
ple now understand that being a gay
man isn't a cause of HIV. As any good
high school health class should have
embedded into your brain, it's unsafe
sex, intravenous drug use and unpro-
tected exposure to bodily fluids that
transmit the disease. Blood from gay
people is just the same as blood from
anyone else.
The FDA missed that lesson.
Despite pleas from the Red Cross and
two other prominent blood donation
agencies arguing that the policy was
"medically and scientifically unwar-
ranted," the FDA renewed the policy
in May 2007. Among a few arguments,
it argued that testing is accurate but
never 100-percent definitive, so you
can never be too safe.
With the Red Cross's arguments
falling on deaf ears, San Jose State is
believed to be the first major universi-
ty to jump into the game and pressure
the FDA. The decision to ban blood
drives, however, has met stark resis-
tance from individuals and groups
who argue that the university is put-
ting its policies above the lives of peo-
ple who could be saved by necessary
blood transfusions. Blood is in short
supply, and every pint matters.
As Martha Kurtz, a spokeswoman
for the American Red Cross South-
eastern Michigan Blood Services
Region told me, "The Red Cross really
relies on blood supplies from colleges
and even high schools." Losing these

vital supplies would be catastrophic.
However important college dona-
tions may be, it still takes a logical
leap to make the argument that uni-
versities consequently kill patients
by banning blood drives. When a uni-
versity stops allowing blood drives on
campus, it doesn't bar students from
donating elsewhere. For example, if
the University of Michigan were to
cancel the blood drive at West Quad
today, nothing would stop a blood
drive from being held two blocks away
at St. Mary's Catholic Church. If blood
banks could coordinate with places
near campus, it's would be a win-win
situation: The amount of donated
blood wouldn't precipitously fall, and
the University would pressure the
FDA into reformingits policy.
How blood drives
. perpetuate
discrimination
More importantly, it's easy to forget
that thegFDA's policy reduces the blood
supply. By turning away gay and bisex-
ual men, the policy keeps many from
donating. It is estimated that if the
lifetime ban were changed to a one-
year deferral then 112,000 more men
would be eligible to donate. If critics
of campus bans directed their anger at
the FDAxinstead of wrongfully attack-
ing universities, the FDA might finally
be spurred into reforming its policy.
After that happens, we all could go
back to worrying about whether Ohio
State.students donate more blood then
Michigan students do.
Gary Graca is the Daily's editorial
page editor. He can be reached
at gmgraca@umich.edu.

In the first trials of their kind in the
post-Sept. 11 era, the six Guantanamo
detainees are being tried before the mili-
tary commissions created by Congress in
2006. Unlike more transparent civilian
courts, the military commissions at Guan-
tanamo don't afford the accused nearly as
many rights - a problem that is pending a
U.S. Supreme Court decision. Among the
abuses, these courts allowed defendants to
be excluded from their own trial. They also
once accepted evidence acquired through
torture, a rulingthat could become an issue
again due to the use of waterboarding on
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected
mastermind behind the attacks and one of
the defendants in this case. Furthermore,
the Pentagon wants to set a precedent by
seeking the death penalty.
But pressingfor capital punishmentwith-
out a fair trial is just one of the Pentagon's
failings in this case; it looks like it will also
fail to conduct a fair trial. If the trials are
run the same way that the previous tribu-
nals at Guantanamo have been run, these
will be nothing more than kangaroo courts.
Such a blatant violation of habeas corpus is
just another step in the slow deterioration
of the administration's credibility.
Then there's the use of so-called crimi-
nal evidence against the accused, acquired
through torture techniques during inter-
rogation at Guantanamo Bay, including the
infamous waterboarding method. Water-
boarding itself is not new. First docu-

mented during the Spanish Inquisition, it
continues to be a way to force victims into
compliance with interrogators by simu-
lating drowning - a practice that hardly
leaves room for doubt about whether it's
torture or not.
The legal controversy surrounding
waterboarding has exploded since the
recent revelation that it is being used
against the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.
Despite being considered an illegal torture
tactic by U.S. generals in the Vietnam War,
it was never legally deemed torture. So the
Pentagon manipulated that ambiguity to
legitimize and sanction its use. No matter
that, up until this point, the question of
whether waterboarding was an act of tor-
ture was never really a question at all, but
an accepted consensus that it was.
Paired with the military commission's
lack of transparency, the Pentagon's
behavior on this issue leaves the adminis-
tration with a powerful decision to make.
It can continue to torture when interrogat-
ing detainees for sham military tribunals,
stripping them of basic rights and possibly
resulting in continued - and even inten-
sified - disdain from the global commu-
nity. Or it can acknowledge the illegality
of waterboarding on the grounds that it is
and always has been a method of torture;
throw out any evidence obtained through
torture; and grant the detainees their
right to a transparent, just trial in civilian
court.

SEND LETTERS TO: TOTHEDAILY@UMICH.EDU

Stop talking about
affirmative action

Learning you
is much easier
second one later
why you have to
to be hard and

EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:
Emad Ansari, Anindya Bhadra, Kevin Bunkley, Ben Caleca, Satyajeet Deshmukh,
Milly Dick, Mike Eber, Emmarie Huetteman, Theresa Kennelly, Emily Michels,
Arikia Millikan, Kate Peabody, Robert Soave, Imran Syed, Neil Tambe, Matt Trecha,
Kate Truesdell, Radhika Upadhyaya, Rachel Van Gilder, Rachel Wagner, Patrick Zabawa.
KELLYN JACKSON
Obama's hollow hope

If I hear "I just want something new and
different," "I really think he can unite the
country" or "he just seems like such a nice
guy" about Barack Obama one more time I am
going to scream.
First off, all of the remaining presidential
candidates are "new," compared to Presi-
dent Bush, including the walking corpse
that is John McCain. Hillary Clinton is dif-
ferent, just like Obama. He may supposedly
be the candidate of our generation, but there
is nothing new, impressive, or proven about
Obama. And there's no reason to think that
he will be any better of a president than his
Democratic rival.
The presidency is a job, but the race for it
seems more like a popularity contest than a
resume review. Legitimacy seems to be large-
ly based on image, an area of electability in
which Clinton lacks and Obama thrives.
Obama is glamorous and sexy with a sexier
wife and a great smile. He is a celebrity and
people eat him up. His calm demeanor and
smooth, yet powerful, voice enables him to
inspire hope. Hope for a candidate that is
fresh and honest, not jaded by years of dirty
politics. Hope that the country can be united
against the tallest of odds.
I think this hope is hollow, full of hot air
and false promises. The political environment
in America right now is so polar and volatile
that even Republicans won't rally behind their
frontrunner because he's too moderate. What
makes Obama think he can get Republicans to
work with him? I've heard people say that "I
think he's the one who can unite this country."

With the way things are right now this feat
would be very difficult if not impossible. But
people still believe he's the one to do it.
People say, "Obama is great, so nice and
down to earth." He's the kind of person you
would want at your backyard barbeque. Peo-
ple said this same thing about both President
Bushes.Andifyouwantitto hitclosertohome,
people said the same thing about Detroit
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick - look where that
went. Popular support with the people who
elected you does not make you a good presi-
dent, diplomatically or morally.
Sure, Clinton is not Miss America - thank
God for that. But she is personable enough.
She has an obnoxious laugh. Yes, so do you,
your mother and your crazy uncle who you
love and respect. She is assertive, decisive
and sometimes intense. If she were wearing
a suit instead of a pantsuit people would say,
"He knows his shit and won't take any." But
alas she is considered a divisive bitch because
of her attitude, constantly being slammed for
things that have nothing to do with how well
she will perform if elected.
Clinton is seasoned for this position and
will not flop on her face when she gets there.
She has too much substance and too much
experience - things that will help her win
not only the nomination, but also the general
election against (God help us) McCain. If vot-
ers can see through Obama's hype and Hill-
ary's laugh, I think Democrats have a real
shot at an upset.
Kellyn Jackson is an LSA sophomore

TO THE DAILY: wh
In November 2006, 58 percent inh
of Michigan voters voted to outlaw is t
race- and gender-based affirma- ject
tive action. The University and The are
Michigan Daily didn't seem to get req
the memo. a f
We're sick of hearing about affir- tha
mative action. The more the Daily
publishes articles about it, the more
it increases racial tensions and argu-
ments. Also, the Daily seems to think
that just because its readers go to the
University, they automatically agree
with affirmative action. This is-
newaflash - not the case. When the
Daily keeps beating this dead-horse,
not only is it angering the people
who rarely get their opinion heard
(those against affirmative action) it
is alienating 58 percent of the vot-
ers in the slate. These are the same
taxpayers who fund part of students'
educational this public university.
Give it up already. Find a new
topic to get on a soapbox about
Erin Green
LSA sophomore
Staying true to the
language requirement
TO THE DAILY:
I took issue with an article yes-
terday about how some students
are able to bypass the University's
language requirement (Obscure
policy lets some dodge requirement,
02/12/2008). As someone majoring
in German and Arabic I'm biased,
but letting students out of the lan-
guage requirement is asinine and
unfair.
Far from the abstract theories
that make up most college disci-
plines, foreign language is one of the
few studies that yields an applicable
skill. Yet people complain about it
all the time. I've heard all sorts of
arguments, from "I won't have to
use another language in my career"
to "everyone in my family inherited
an inability to learn foreign lan-
guages." These are cop-outs.
No one would let me off the
hook for my quantitative reason-
ing requirement if I made the same
argument about math. If you're a
student who attends classes taught
in English, the idea that you can't
learn a foreignlanguage is offensive-
ly ludicrous. Human beings are bio-
logically, instinctively predisposed
to the acquisition of language, much
more so than algebra or chemistry.
If you can't "do languages," as some
people claim, you're either aphasic
or lying.

y universities
erent abilityt
here, more t
you couldt
unable to f
uirementbec
oreign langu
n saying yo
SSE JAFFE

r mother language
than picking up a
r in life, but that's
study. It's supposed
take effort. That's
s teach it. But the
to learn a language
han any other sub-
take. Claiming you
ulfill the language
ause you can't learn
age has less merit
u can't fulfill the

humanities requirement because
you're a sociopath. But students are
getting away with it.
I wish the University would stay
true to its commitment to a compre-
hensive education. And I wish stu-
dents would recognize that they're
shooting themselves in the foot
being monolingual in a globalized
job market.
Adam Ajlouni
LSA junior

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor. Letters should
aml be less than 300 words and must include the writer's full name and
University affiliation. All submissions become property of the Daily. We
do not print anonymous letters. Send letters to tothedaily@umich.edu.

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