Dow’s Parker showed ‘willful disregard’ for Bhopal victims

To the Daily:

In reply to the Daily’s article on Bhopal on Dec. 6 (Contamination from Bhopal gas disaster highlighted in film), I feel it’s important to make a couple of points. Few besides Dow Chemical Co. could claim that only 4,000 people died as a result of the Bhopal disaster; an article in The New York Times on August 29, 2002, cites an official government figure of 14,410, and even that is considered conservative by many of the Bhopal victims.

Our offer to pay for Mike Parker’s plane fare to Bhopal was so that he might see the scene of the accident and its victims with his own eyes. Our hope was that after doing so, he might be moved to some action; although Dow has helped to fund the Midland Symphony Orchestra and the renovation of a Bay City lighthouse, it has yet to contribute anything to clean up the site or provide safe drinking water to the 120,000 survivors of the Bhopal tragedy.

Finally, Parker appeared anything but intimidated by our presence. He spoke with us for 20 minutes, consented to be videotaped, praised our intentions and concern and told us that he respected our efforts. If anything has pushed the limits, it is Dow’s willful disregard for the victims of this horrifying tragedy.

Ryan Bodyani

LSA senior

The letter writer is the co-facilitator of Justice for Bhopal.

Daily failed to explain anti-American sentiment in Korea

To the Daily:

I’m not sure how many of the readers of the Daily really know the meaning of your notable quote of the day on Dec. 4 that said “Americans are not welcome here” – signs of businesses in South Korea. While the Daily clearly notes that there are anti-American sentiments in Korea, it forgot to tell us why there are such resentments against Americans in South Korea.

To clear the readers of all misunderstanding, let me briefly explain what the mass media in the United States, including The Daily, has failed to cover. This past summer in Korea, two Korean middle school girls were ran over by an U.S Army tank driven by American soldiers returning from their training. The accident occurred when two tanks coming from opposite directions met at a point where the road was too narrow for both to fit and one of them deviated to the sideroads where the girls were walking. The men responsible for the accident were investigated and tried and were released after being found “not guilty.”

The argument behind this resolution was that the driver of the tank was not in a good position to see the girls and that the soldiers who were in a good position to see the girls tried to warn the driver by radio, but the radio failed due to noise factors. What we, the Koreans find hard to believe is how the American judges freed these men knowing among other facts that these radios are designed to function even in the loudest of battle situations. And if the radios were not working, isn’t that the responsibility of the U.S Army and its soldiers? I wonder what would the reaction of the American public be if Korean soldiers on American soil had been freed by a Korean jury after running over two American girls with a tank.

Recently, in a popular Korean website, I saw an anti-American cartoon depicting bin-Laden being found “not guilty” by a jury of all “al-Qaida” soldiers. Isn’t this what’s happening with the American soldiers responsible for the deaths of these two girls. It is natural that the United States demands justice and want bin-Laden and his soldiers pay for the attacks of Sept. 11. It is also natural that Korea demands those American soldiers to pay for the deaths of these two children.

I hope this explains the quote and the anti-American sentiments that exists in South Korea. Furthermore, I hope in the future, The Michigan Daily and the rest of the American mass media inform the American public not only about the unfortunate casualties of American forces, but also about the equally unfortunate deaths of their civilian victims.

Chiyun Lee

LSA senior

The letter writer is the president of the Korean International Student Association.

An open letter to Webber from a disgruntled University alum

To the Daily:

As an incoming freshman along with yourself and the other members of the “Fab Five” I was given the great pleasure and privilege to watch you play for the two years you spent at Michigan. I was also a freshman at the time you all lived in South Quad and although you would never remember, actually held a few conversations with you in the lounge and lobbies.

Growing up in Michigan during the time you played high school basketball means that I have been following your “career” since you (and I) were high school sophomores. I always appreciated the way in which you handled yourself and the pressure inherent with your position both before and during the time at Michigan.

Now, in light of the “Ed Martin Scandal” and the “forfeiture” of all the games involving yourself at the University, I have one simple request …

Can you use some of that loot the Kings and Ed Martin paid you to refund the hard-earned money I doled out as a freshman and sophomore to attend the games that now never took place?

Tyler Rheem

Alumnus

Army not to blame for breach of ‘don’t tell’ part of policy

To the Daily:

I’m quite amazed at the propagation of ignorance by The Michigan Daily in its article on the Army’s dismissal of gay linguists, Translation: discrimination (12/02/02). I realize that it was an editorial, but the Daily was incredibly misleading with its arguments.

The Daily blames the Army for wasting money by training gays, only to later dismiss them. Well, there hasn’t been a draft for quite some time; those people knew exactly what they were getting into when they volunteered to sign on the dotted line. The waste of taxpayer money should be blamed on those who chose not to follow the “don’t tell” part of the policy and not on the Army. The Daily goes on to say that bigotry should not be placed ahead of national security. While this statement is very powerful, it’s dangerously flawed. The Army wasn’t looking for a way to discriminate against gays, it was looking to maintain good order and discipline, which is essential to our national security.

The Daily also states that “It is foolish to think that in the middle of combat soldiers would engage in inappropriate sexual behavior instead of fighting for their country and their lives.” Are you kidding me? Does the Daily actually believe anybody thinks this way? The order and discipline that I speak of isn’t just on the battlefield, but in everyday military life.

A large percentage of even the most combat oriented war-fighter’s time is spent in training and in day to day operations. Those of us in the military take pride in knowing we are aiding in a common good; that giving up some of our freedoms results in a more effective combat force. Military members give up the right to see their family whenever they want. They give up the right to live wherever they want. They give up the right to say no to their boss, even if it means a dangerous outcome. We all knew this, and willingly accepted it. One of the freedoms that those dismissed gays gave up was the freedom to openly express their sexual orientation. They knew this, and willingly broke the rules. Their lack of dedication causes resentment and severely degrades the cohesion necessary to support a winning fighting force.

Finally, the Daily says “President Bush should replace the current policy with a more inclusive policy that does not restrict gays from serving in the military.” Hello? Has the Daily done any research on the topic? Gays aren’t restricted from serving in the military! The only thing they are restricted from is openly expressing their sexuality. They may serve if they wish, but they must give up some of their rights as an individual, as have all of us that have chosen to wear the uniform.

Ryan Ismirle

Alumnus

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