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July 07, 2003 - Image 5

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2003-07-07

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The Michigan Daily - Monday. July 7, 2003 - 5

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VIEWPOINT
Examining the Iraq debate

Republican Party betrays America
JASON PESICK ONE SMALL VOICE

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BY JosEPH TORIGAN chant for secrecy. Simply, as Deputy
Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz
ing the months before the stupidly put it, "bureaucratic rea-
of Iraq, the United States sons, or, a point everyone could
nsumed by a war over the agree on. But also, here the "Strauss-
very medium of civic dis- ian conspiracists have stumbled
obeyedo itrocityds-onto some truth. Wolfowitz, wanting
obsessed on it, from city to persuade other policymakers of
Is to the United Nations his decision on Iraq, directed some
SCounciL Despite this over- people in Pentagon Special Plans,
ng fixation, one prominent who called themselves the Cabal, to
taas the charge a discussion be the shock troops in the debate and
king place at all. No public sideline the CIA and Defense Intelli-
presented a clear, complete genre Agency. Members of the
war, and so a credible, non- group were febrile students, along
response was never formu- with Wolfowitz, of Leo Strauss, a
ohis process prevented the man who said that "certain" people
of war or peace from being should tell lies because only they see
ated, consensual value deci- the truth. One CIA expert said
vhat happened? To under-they're convinced everybody else in
's necessary to examine the the government is a fool. They tried
son for war to see why it was to pawn a clearly forged nuclear
ted in such a way and why order from Niger. They wrapped the
rs developed such conspira- final package ina flag.
ries as the machinations of a The Left, being shut out of the
fStraussians or an oil grab. decision-making process, blindly
IDs mixing with terrorism took the Freudian psychological
secondary reason for the step of assuming that a conspiracy
licymakers thought Saddam took place. How, other than through
ne, and Resolution 1441 was a Star Chamber scheme, could they
estation of unanimity. Also, not be consulted? It was a way of
the intelligence community coping that inadvertently made
ieve in an Osama-Saddam debate even more garbled. The war
aathist and Qaida ideology in Iraq was no longer a disagree-
lude hatred toward the Unit- ment; it was another prism through
es. Yet CIA reports indicate which Bush's stupidity could be per-
ned a non-aggression pact, a ceived. It drove many into lunatics
named Unit 999 went to like the political dissident Noam
iistan to help poison-gas Chomsky, who whined, "These
and the existence of a Qaida hawks are the same people in the
up supported by Saddam. same situation as the First Gulf War
id's argument was that after ... therefore they can't think for
e devastating result of this themselves and are evil," (although
tion bearing fruit made a a supposed war conspiracist, conser-
vel of confidence needed for vative intellectual Bill Kristol,
nd that dismissal of this pos- attacked Bush I for being evil). They
was due to a Schelling-like clung to the refrain of the far Left,
of expectations. "No blood for oil," although arch-
the primary focus was dove former President Jimmy Carter
itical. Saddam wanted to himself admitted of oil, "I can
te his region and had shown assure you that's not the policy of
lessness. As Kenneth Pol- my government." Too much Iraqi oil
the Council on Foreign would drive down prices, hurting
ns said, "The assertion that Bush's friends in Texas, and OPEC
t intentionally suicidal may would probably stabilize any change
,but ... he has frequently anyways. And Saddam would sell us
inadvertently suicidal." A all the oil we wanted.
Saddam would have been a I am not attempting to be an
are, while a progressive Iraq apologist for either the Left or the
svalidate the Islamic funda- Bush administration. It is both of
st Sayyid Qutb's assertion their faults that any chance of a
damentalist Islam is the key legitimate dialogue was hijacked by
gent power, hurting terror- politics. Individual support or oppo-
t more importantly, under- sition to the war was determined by
the Ayatollahs. The war cliches of patriotism or peace. Radi-
ive the Oslo peace process a cats on both sides served to discred-
shot in the arm (the first it their more reasonable colleagues,
ng Gulf War I) by eliminat- while all the centrists were running
rucial security threat and for president. It was not a question
pressure on states that sup- of whether or not the geopolitical
lestinian militants. Iraq was earthquake of a progressive Iraq
ce to throw our weight outweighed a world outraged by
before being curtailed by a unilateralism, or if the loss of Iraqi
wer, perhaps in the Far East. civilians was more important than a
ause these complexities do preemptive drive to avert a world-
easily in a sound bite, the wide catastrophe. It was simply a
dministration tried to make clash of preconceived notions.

Both Georgia
and the
Republican
Party have a lot of
explaining to do for
what happened there
in the 2002 elections.
Voters removed two
-, respected Democratic
politicians on dubious
grounds. Gov. Roy Barnes, who was
expected to be a 2004 presidential candi-
date for the party, lost because he created
controversy by removing the Confederate
battle emblem from the state flag. You
would think that almost a century and a
half after the end of the Civil War, remov-
ing a racist and treasonous symbol would
not be such a difficult task to accomplish,
especially after the surge in patriotism fol-
lowing Sept. 11. What could be more trea-
sonous than rebelling from the union and
then trying to destroy it all in the name of
maintaining slavery?
Sen. Max Cleland was also thrown
out of office after his opponent, then Rep.
Saxby Chambliss, associated the triple
amputee, Vietnam veteran with Saddam
Hussein and Osama bin Laden. It was a
pretty disgraceful and embarrassing
scene for the state.
Last Thursday, The Washington Post
ran a piece about Cleland and how he has
handled his defeat. The verdict was not
very well. The piece tells the story of Cle-
land's time in Washington, from his arrival
as a young, idealistic student who wanted
to change the world, to a broken, disillu-

sioned former senator, claiming that "the
state of American politics is sickening."
Given the results of his last election, it's
hard to blame him for feeling that way.
Not only is there too much money in poli-
tics, but Cleland's election is proof that the
Republican Party still relies on the racist
Southern Strategy in order to win votes.
On a related note, author and Univer-
sity alumnus Ann Coulter has a new book
out called "Treason." It's number two on
The New York Times bestseller list, which
is the best motivation I can think of for
buying Hilary Clinton's book in order to
keep it in the top slot. I have not read
Coulter's book, but from watching her
explain it on TV, I can say that the thesis is
that the country's Democratic Party has
been a treasonous entity for the past 50
years and cannot be trusted with the coun-
try's national security. She also defends
the McCarthy witch hunts. Coulter's
claims could be dispatched with with
great ease, as they have no grounding in
fact and are based upon a molehill of
shaky assumptions strung together with a
dearth of logic rivaling that of even the
most vacuous family of lemmings.
But I sense another disconnect
between Coulter and reality. It is not the
Democratic Party and liberals that are
betraying America; rather, members of the
Republican Party are the ones sucking the
life out of this country. When Max Cle-
land, a man who risked his life for and lost
three of his limbs defending his country,
loses faith in America, alarm bells should
be going off that something is wrong.

Last week the Kennedy family was
all over the news. Sure one of them just
made a movie and may run for governor
of the country's most populous state, but
one is divorcing a Cuomo, one suppos-
edly had a terrible marriage and new
allegations about President John
Kennedy's moral lapses surface with a
fair amount of regularity. But to many
Americans, the Kennedy family means
much more than mere tabloid fodder.
To the Americans who wept when
whoever shot John Kennedy shot John
Kennedy, the family represents hope and a
belief that the problems the world faces
can indeed be solved. It may be a naive
belief, but it is one that I believe our
founders and our greatest presidents, not
to mention millions of Americans, share.
The Camelot metaphor gels well with the
shining "city upon a hill" metaphor.
And to make matters worse for those
Americans who feel a little bit like Cleland
right now, the Democratic Party is present-
ly so weak that it is not offering any vision
for the future. But at least it's not destroy-
ing my faith in my country.
Even disregarding policy, Republican
tactics, from Nixon's "dirty tricks" to the
disgrace in Georgia last year, have a much
wider effect than the election results they
produce. They are not good for the coun-
try. What Coulter fails to realize is that this
way of practicing politics is what truly
betrays America.
Pesick can be reached at
jzpesick@umich.edu.

VIEWPOINT
Whose check?

BY DARRYL BOYD
Inherent in all anti-diversity and anti-
affirmative action arguments is the forgot-
ten truth. The reality of the United States is
that it was founded on discriminatory pre-
tenses. Racist practices and prejudiced
behavior have been in existence on this
soil since before there was a Constitution,
which in itself held on to racist beliefs. I've
always found it a bit curious that the only
people who are opposed to affirmative
action are those who never needed it. Well,
they and Clarence Thomas.
So, let's go back in time. Blacks
and, in some southern states, Mexicans
were routinely lynched. Their bodies
left hanging on trees and white people
taking pictures with these bodies as if
they'd caught a trophy fish. Sometimes
portions of their bodies, like an ear,
ripped off and kept like good luck
charms. White men customarily raping
black women behind closed doors and
fathering multitudes of children whom
they'd never claim. Gruesome? That's
not even the half. The sad thing is that
this behavior not only took place two
hundred years ago, but it continued on
as recently as the 1960s. Just listening
to my grandmother speak of the injus-
tices she faced in the mid-1900s makes
me cringe. She exclaimed, "We weren't
slaves, but we might as well have
been!" Picking cotton in the hot Mis-
sissippi sun just part of her reasoning.

On one occasion, she told me of how
she had to use the restroom, but was
forced to hold it because she couldn't
use the "whites only" bathroom, and
they wouldn't even let her relieve her-
self outside in the field.
Along with the cruel, violent, physi-
cal torment and treatment enacted by the
majority was mental, social and educa-
tional injustice. Blacks couldn't attend
the same schools as whites, were in
many instances forbidden to speak to
whites and ultimately, had no reason to
learn or go to school because there was
no way that a black would ever get a
thinking job. Even if he did, there was
no way he was going to go as far as
management. Only in the last thirty
years have we seen blacks and other
minorities financially and socially suc-
cessful. The highest-ranking minority in
the history of the United States, Secre-
tary of State Colin Powell, was just
placed in his post three years ago, and
we've been in this country for 500 years.
Most minority college students today
are at best second generation, and many are
still the first in their entire family to go to
college. Once again I consider how my
grandmother only had an eighth grade edu-
cation. Having her knowledge limited
through the social injustices of the time
certainly inhibited the things she could
impart to her twelve children. This in con-
trast to the many whites who not only grad-
uated from high school, but went on to
graduate from college - an opportunity

that most minorities were denied. Though
equality - as well as diversity - may in
fact be the compelling state interest, just
because you see a black face everyday
doesn't mean we're on a level playing field.
I can't explain how amazed I am to
hear some of the friends that I've made
here tell me that before me, they'd never
had a black friend. How is it possible that
a 20-year-old can live in this country all
his life and never have a black acquain-
tance. Is it because we don't have enough
money to live in his area? Better yet, is it
because you just ignore our presence
when you travel to the local fast food
joint or supermarket?
There is no way that there is equality,
from a racial standpoint, in this country.
Anyone that thinks otherwise has been
greatly deceived. There is no way that, in
30 years, minorities have attained the
same level of social acceptance or educa-
tional proficiency as the majority. Fur-
thermore, I do not believe that anyone
who is really a proponent of affirmative
action believes that it is the only means to
an end that is representative of the gener-
al population. However, it is the best
method currently devised.
I've always said that you can't tell a
crippled man how to walk or a blind man
how to see if you've never been crippled or
if you've never been blind. Those who
oppose affirmative action have never
tripped and are seeing 20/20.
Boyd is an LSA senior

agon one-sided and not five,
ply griped about WMDs and
d to "liberate the Iraqi peo-
hy? Simplicity and a pen-

Torig is an LSA
sophomore anda membero
the Daily's editorial board.

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