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March 10, 2011 - Image 4

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4A - Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

4A - Thursday, March 10, 2011 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

C4C idlcigan Bailu
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
tothedaily@michigandaily.com

Unfair incrimination

STEPHANIE STEINBERG
EDITOR IN CHIEF

MICHELLE DEWITT
and EMILY ORLEY
EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS

KYLE SWANSON
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.
(Un)lock it up
Federal gov. needs to finally close Guantanamo
Since its establishment under the Bush administration in 2002,
the prison at Guantanamo Bay has been part of a distress-
ing chapter in American history, rife with allegations and
accounts of prisoner abuse and torture. The prison was established
as an indefinite detention facility and housed those designated as
"enemy combatants," who - according to the Bush administration
- were outside the bounds of the law and not entitled to protection
under the Geneva Convention or legal recourse to challenge their
detention. Lawsuits on behalf of the detainees eventually reached
the U.S. Supreme Court, which has repeatedly ruled in their favor by
granting prisoners the rights of habeas corpus and exposing proce-
dural flaws in military tribunals constructed under Bush that made
neutral arbitration impossible.

B ignews fromthe sports world
folks - college football play-
ers are all a bunch of feloni-
ous hoodlums.
They'll mug you
blind given the
chance. Come
to think of it,
my house was
robbed over
break. Call the M
Department of
Public Safety - JOE
I've finally got a SUGIYAMA
lead.
If you think
that my bold accusations are a little
unwarranted, it's because they are.
And since you could so easily distin-
guish my baseless claims from fact,
you probably won't have a problem
with a similar hyperbole reported in
the March 2 Sports Illustrated which
revealed results from its study called
"College Football and Crime."
SI and CBS News conducted an
"unprecedented six-month investi-
gation" of college football players'
criminal history and reported their
findings last week. The 2,837 play-
ers in question were members of SI's
Preseason Top 25 football programs.
After checking the backgrounds of
the players, SI found that 7 percent of
the players "had been charged with
or cited for a crime" and nearly 60
percent were convicted. The crimes
include theft, property destruction,
drug possession and others.
The numbers presented weren't
what struck me as surprising, but
rather the way in which the infor-
mation was presented. It was odd
that SI gave a few anecdotes about
students who had committed
crimes and then generalized that
information to the entire football
community. Stories of armed rob-
bery and aggravated assault con-
stituted a great deal of the report.
These tales were the crux of SI's
argument that crime is rampant in
college football, and the programs
could care less. While these stories
are by no means the whole picture,
without them there isn't much in
this study that warrants a multiple

page spread in the magazine, let
alone the cover.
Though they're presented as
alarming, the statistics are less than
shocking. When comparedto Oregon
State University's Daily Barometer
study about crimes committed by all
college students, they're downright
placid. About 3.5 percent of all col-
lege students - and I'm rounding
up from 3.45 percent, a liberty that
echoes throughout SI's study - have
previously committed a crime. When
considering the sample size of SI's
study compared to that of the Daily
Barometer's, it becomes apparent
that this 0.05 percent difference in
convictions between football play-
ers and other students isn't all that
significant. SI's smaller sample popu-
lation means that statistics are more
susceptible to outliers, which can
skew the results.
No study is perfect, and sam-
pling the entire population of play-
ers would require about five times
as much research as was done by SI.
Perhaps the key to understanding
the true irrelevance of SI's report is
that it didn't "have access to juvenile
arrest records forroughly 80 percent
of the players in the study." Wait -
what? The statistics of a study that
made claims about 25 college foot-
ball teams were extrapolated from
only 20 percent of their claimed data
pool. After reading this disclaimer -
which was one of many - my opin-
ion of SI's reporting methods took a
stark turn.
SI criticized football programs
for not checking the criminal
records of their recruits - infor-
mation that it wasn't able to access
because juvenile records aren't
publicly available - stating that
none of the 25 teams require a
background check on their pro-
spective student-athletes. Some of
the coaches were asked why they
don't do more research on their
recruits. Many answered with a
not-so-far-from-the-truth response
of not "know(ing) that juvenile
records were available." Because
they aren't. SI is apparently a fan
of snipe hunting for background
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS:

checks - Heeere record, record,
record *clap* *clap* *clap.*
SI's intentions were noble, and
I have no problem with this study
being done. What I find problem-
atic is how it took vanilla results
and turned them into a scandal for
the ages. It's not fair to cast such a
villainous light on college football
players because you find a couple of
malevolent anecdotes.
Crime study of
student-athletes
is misleading.
If anyone should be upset, it's the
players. Though they're often ste-
reotyped as thuggish brutes, the vast
majority are college kids who are no
more inclined to commit crime than
a member of a fraternity or an honor
society.
I hope that SI realizes its error in
judgment and republishes this study
in its "Go Figure" section of the
Scorecard. I'll even give a couple of
suggestions for the headings:
7
Percent of college football players
we made out to be criminals in the SI
study.
4
Percent of players who actually
committed a crime.
567
Players - out of 2,837 - whose
criminal records were available for
the study.
2
News entities that should be
embarrassed by their reporting tac-
tics - CBS News and SI.
100
Percent chance that SI wasted
everyone's time with a story that
doesn't exist.
Let's face it - the scorecard is all
anyone reads anyway.
-Joe Sugiyama can be
reached at jmsugi@umich.edu.

There was reason for optimism when Presi-
dent Barack Obama was elected. He prom-
ised to close the prison by January 2010 and
took tangible steps toward that goal. Notably,
the administration halted military trials in
2009 and attempted later that year to transfer
detainees to the United States for civilian tri-
als, which failed because it didn't receive fund-
ing from the U.S. Senate. But now we're several
months into 2011, and Guantanamo's closure
looks to be a broken promise, as Obama has
retreated in face of political opposition. In a
disappointing action on Monday, he issued an
executive order to resume military tribunals.
It's important to remember that the Obama
administration has handled the situation much
better than its predecessors. New military tri-
bunal procedures require a periodical review
of prisoners' status and ensure that defendants
have access to legal couJlyeb, Additionally,
Obama has promised to adhere to the Geneva
Convention.
But these changes are stop gap measures
that don't address structural problems with the
Guantanamo Bay prison. Though the revised
procedures may seem fair in theory, they are
still prone to abuse. In the end, representatives
of the executive branch may use their discre-
tion to decide whether a prisoner may be indef-
initely detained - this is hardly equivalent to

due process. Not only is this procedure unfair,
it's unnecessary. So far, the one criminal tried
in civilian court - Ahmed Ghailani - was con-
victed on a conspiracy charge and sentenced
to life in prison despite the exclusion of a key
witness whose identity was ascertained by tor-
ture. At a fundamental level, criminal prosecu-
tion of detainees affirms our faith in the rule
of law and must, at the very least, be given the
chance to work on a consistent basis.
The blame can't fall solely on the Obama
administration, which has faced logistical and
political obstacles in its attempts to try pris-
oners in the American legal system. Obama
has faced opposition from Congress and the
media in his attempts to try detainees in civil-
ian courts. This needs to end. The damage
done to America's reputation - in the form of
international criticism and increased terror-
ism recruitment - by keeping Guantanamo
fBay open far outweighs any potential security
threats from housing terrorists in maximum-
security U.S. prisons.
Though the administration reiterated its
promise this week to eventually close the
Guantanamo Bay prison, this has to be taken
with a grain of salt. Obama needs to show that
he's actually committed to this goal, and there
must be a cooperative effort to close the deten-
tion facility as quickly as possible.

I
I

Aida Ali, Will Butler, Ellie Chessen, Michelle DeWitt, Ashley Griesshammer,
Melanie Kruvelis, Patrick Maillet, Erika Mayer, Harsha Nahata, Emily Orley,
Harsha Panduranga, Teddy Papes, Asa Smith, Seth Soderborg, Andrew Weiner
FAHAD MUHAMMAD SAAD I I W
Israel is not perfect

0

MELANIE KRUVELIS I
A step from the edge

So, spring break. Pretty crazy, huh? Not that
I really remember what happened, of course.
Somewhere between listening to Jewel on
repeat and waiting for the phone to ring, I sort
of lost track of everything.
Well, anyway, it sure is good to be back at
school. You know, back to lonely nights in the
library, sitting by yourself in the cafeteria, and
above all, being united with 40,000 students
by a single phenomenon - bacne. Erm, wait - I
mean stress. Partially due to a physics experi-
ment gone terribly awry, the academic pres-
sure is back on. Luckily, a recent New York
Times article explained that it isn't just those
of us here at the University who are feeling
overwhelmed. According to the Jan. 26 article
titled "Record Level of Stress Found in College
Freshmen," the emotional health of incoming
students has dropped to the lowest level in the
last 25 years.
What's really concerning isn't the fact that
an entire generation is sinking further and
further into a seemingly endless depression
with rampant abuse of prescription drugs
spreading faster than STDs within the cast of
"Jersey Shore." Nah, that's not really a big deal
- certainly not worth investigating anyway.
The real issue? No one seems to know pre-
cisely why this nation's college students are
huffing paint chips. "We don't know exactly
why students' emotional health is declining,"
John Pryor, a research program director at
University of California, Los Angeles's Higher
Education Research Institute, told The New
York Times.
Well, I don't know about you - hey, maybe
we should change that, perhaps over dinner
later? No, wait, the generational depression
thing. Right. It's all over campus - walking
through Angell Hall on a Monday morning is
like navigating through a crowd of hungover
Eeyores. The point is we must ask ourselves
- why are we so stressed? What's the cause
of this widespread unhappiness? And how
quickly can we deport all these 'depresshmen'
to Ohio?
The most obvious answer to this perma-
nent state of gloom and doom is, of course,
MTV's remake of "Skins." It was an innocent

enough idea - a chance for American tele-
vision producers to once again capitalize on
British brilliance, replacing dry humor with
Nascar jokes and cracks about fast food. But
unlike successful remakes of shows like "The
Office," "Skins" is one of those trainwrecks
you don't actually wantto watch at all, but are
forced to because your roommate bought the
TV. And after being in the room for the first
five episodes of the show, I completely under-
stand why American college students are one
step away from jumping off that ledge. We
suck at the one thing we're supposed to be
good at - television. Without the accents and
strange British euphemisms, the show really
just became a pornographic circus of nipple
talk and smoking pot off someone's nipples,
which I didn't think was possible. As a direct
result, everyone hates America, and we're
forced to deal with it.
It could be Charlie Sheen too. For years, it's
been pretty obvious that dear Charlie is the
man - if his acting on "Two and a Half Men"
doesn't scream brilliant, I don't know what
does. But in recent weeks, Sheen has gone from
that wacky uncle with drug problems to that
wacky uncle who snorts cocaine off the tur-
key at Thanksgiving dinner - and by turkey, I
mean porn stars. It's hard for college students
to live up to the standards set by one of the
highest paid actors on television - how can we
possibly be happy with ourselves as we watch
Sheen calmly explain on CNN that he has "a
10,000-year-old brain and the boogers of a 7
year old?" It just isn't fair.
We may never know the real answer as to
why we're so stressed. Maybe it's Miley Cyrus
hosting "SNL." Perhaps it's the straight-to-
DVD release of "Mean Girls 2." Or maybe it's
the fact that today's college students face high
unemployment rates and skyrocketing tuition
prices - not to mention climate change, world-
wide civil unrest, costly wars, obesity, rising
threats of terrorism...
Sigh. But really, did you see Miley? Her
impression of Lindsay Lohan? God, talk
about depressing.
Melanie Kruvelis is an LSA junior.

In Daniel Luks's world (In Defense ofIsrael, 1/24/2011),
the Jewish state can do no wrong, and when it rarely ever
does, there's always a darn good reason for it. He asserts
that as the only democracy in the Middle East, it stands
for peace, justice and equality, having extended the hand
of friendship to the Palestinians on countless occasions
only to be rebuffed every time. Luks's arguments, how-
ever, are fallacious and illogical, and collapse under the
weight of scrutiny.
The Palestinian Authority has insisted on the ces-
sation of settlement construction activity in the West
Bank and East Jerusalem and on the pre-1967 borders
as being the basis of all further talks. Luks contends that
these preconditions are unreasonable, and Prime Min-
ister Benjamin Netanyahu would agree. But if you and I
are fighting over a piece of real estate and we are going
through an arbitration process, should I be allowed to
build on that land and consequently change its charac-
ter? Furthermore, the entire world community, through
United Nations resolutions as well as through unilateral
action, has recognized the pre-1967 borders as the basis
for a future Palestinian state. What would the Israelis
consider a good starting point? The new boundary creat-
ed by the Apartheid Wall, which is four times as long and
twice as high as the Berlin Wall, and cuts through villag-
es in the West Bank, separating farmers from their fields?
What's more, the recently leaked Palestine Papers reveal
the extent to which the Palestinian leadership was will-
ing to go to reach a political settlement, only to receive
nothing in return from the Israelis. So who's really being
unreasonable here?
Luks then discusses the conduct of Israel's neigh-
bors and how the country's track record is just stellar
when pitted against those of the oppressive and intol-
erant regimes that surround it. First, there is a very
good reason why there are more dictators than elected
leaders in that part of the world, and it has much to do
with U.S. foreign policy in the region over the last half
century, but I won't get into that here. Nonetheless-it
is highly disingenuous of Luks to compare Israel to the
dictatorial arrangements that it shares borders with. Of
course the democracy, however flawed, will fair better!
What he should be comparing Israel to are modern lib-
eral democracies, and not to the world's biggest human
rights offenders such as Mubarak-era Egypt and pres-
ent-day Saudi Arabia. And when the appropriate com-
parisons are made, it is clear that Israel's record is just

absolutely dismal.
Luks is right: Israel is not perfect. In fact, it has deep
structural problems. Even if one were to forget about its
conduct abroad, including its offer to provide apartheid
South Africa six Jericho missiles tipped with nuclear
warheads, its use of white phosphorus and human shields
during 2008 Operation Cast Lead - which resulted in the
massacre of 1,400 Gazans - its illegal blockade of Gaza,
its illegal settlements in the West Bank, its silencing of
the growing peaceful protest movement in the Occu-
pied areas, the presence of Jewish-only roads in the
West Bank, and so on and so forth, it is hard to ignore
the direction the country is taking. From rabbis issuing
statements asking Jews not to sell property to non-Jews,
to the wives of certain rabbis telling Jewish girls not to
date Arab boys, from expulsion of its only Arab student
by a school in Sulam, northern Israel, at the behest of a
group of Jewish parents to the Central Elections Com-
mittee banning Arab parties from running in the 2009
parliamentary elections, Israel has steadily been moving
to the right. And with extremists hijacking deliberations
in the Knesset regarding the settlements, the mere men-
tion of dismantling those settlements in the future now
amounts to political suicide.
And to boot, criticism of Israel's actions is summarily
dismissed as either the ravings of "self-hating Jews" or
the unbridled propaganda of anti-Semites, whose ranks
would probably boast such renowned peace activists as
Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Jimmy Carter, all
of whom have spoken out against Israel's occupation of
the West Bank and its treatment of the Palestinians. And
I wonder what they would make of the revered Mahat-
ma Gandhi, who rejected Zionism and did not support
the creation of Israel, even though he sympathized with
the plight of the Jews. Would he also be considered an
anti-Semite? The conclusions of United Nations fact-
finding commissions, Amnesty International, B'Tselem
and other concerned organizations are almost invariably
labeled "biased" and "one-sided." I am all too familiar
with this flawed and dangerous outlook, this convenient
deflection of criticism, having come from a country
where people find it expedient to off-handedly explain
all of Pakistan's woes with conspiracy theories involving
India, Israel and the United States. You see, it's never us;
it's always everyone else.
Fahad Muhammad Sajid is an LSA senior.

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