‘Anti-anti-war individuals’ should consider following before demanding apologies

To the Daily:

In Monday’s Daily, David Kaplan requested an apology from all anti-war protesters (War protesters, naysayers on Bush admin. should apologize for folly of ways, 04/14/03). Because the war in Iraq is going well for the United States and many Iraqi people are happy about it, he believes the protesters have been proven wrong and should express remorse for doubting the wisdom of the administration. For the benefit of Kaplan and other anti-anti-war individuals, I hereby present several reasons why anti-war protesters should not apologize.

First, there is absolutely nothing unpatriotic about expressing your disagreement with the president. It is popular in some circles to say that peace activists should keep quiet because people have fought and died to give them the right to be peace activists. The idea, apparently, is that millions should have died so that their countrymen would not be free to oppose the government when they disagree with its actions on moral grounds.

War is not a football game. Expressing disapproval when you disagree with a war does not constitute a lack of team spirit, and cloaking yourself in the team colors does not put you on the right side. I have yet to meet a peace activist who did not support our troops, and part of that support is the desire to keep them out of dangerous situations when war is not called for.

Second, winning the battle for Iraq does not mean winning the war on terrorism. I hope President Bush is right and the Iraqi people do end up far better off for our intervention. The same goes for Afghanistan. But al-Qaida and its potential recruits are less likely to see the United States as the savior of the Iraqi people than to see us as an imperialist aggressor attacking Islam for oil. If we want to stop terrorism, we would do well to avoid engaging in the sorts of activities that help al-Qaida find new recruits.

Third, we are sending messages to other leaders in the Middle East that we would rather not send. Examples: develop your nuclear weapons quickly so the United States will not invade; you could be next; we do not need a specific reason to invade.

Fourth, the Bush administration could indeed be stupid, ignorant and greedy. The administration and its political allies have much to gain from having a friendly government in Iraq. You do not have to look far to find evidence of stupidity, ignorance and greed in the Bush administration, which makes it entirely possible that the liberation of Iraq is no more than a rationalization for making money for the oil company executives that have always been close to Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. In other words, the fact that the Iraqi people are happy right now does not mean this is not about oil (though it might not be).

Fifth, no one should ever apologize for stating considered opinions on matters of national importance. Welcome to the democratic process. I say my piece, you say yours, and if everything is working right, the people in Washington pay attention and act accordingly. If we declare it morally wrong to honestly misapprehend the outcome of the government’s actions, dissent becomes much more difficult, and our democracy becomes a sham.

Incidentally, I have not participated in peace protests, and I do not consider myself an activist. I am simply fed up with the view that supporting war is always patriotic and supporting peace is treason. Thank you for letting me say my piece.


James Crants

Rackham


U.S.-led war in Iraq violates international law

To the Daily:

With regard to David Kaplan’s letter about war protesters:

An apology from the war protesters? Why would anyone apologize for a political view? I am a war protester, and proud of it. I protest because I believe that at this point in human existence we can peacefully work things out, and if we can’t, then the world should be behind the force that removes dictators from power. The world I am of course alluding to is the United Nations. It is a representative of world opinion with virtually every state around the world has an equal vote, and therefore an input in world affairs. But we don’t like to talk about world opinion here.

If you study any international politics you’ll quickly begin to realize there is no such thing as an objective view of the world from a state’s perspective. In the system in place for their own self interests with complete disregard to the well-being of others. But Kaplan probably has not studied up on his international politics these days.

You think the CIA and the FBI know everything that goes on the world? Why did Sept. 11 happen, then? I don’t need to go any further into that.

There are lots of horrible world leaders; how about China and North Korea. They have documented human rights abuses, but we decide the diplomacy and trade are the best solutions for those countries; why not Iraq?

But these things probably matter little to most people, because we ousted the bad guy, right? Well, we did it while breaking international law. If you go and check out the U.N. Charter, Article 2, sub-section 4, you’ll read the following:

“All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

That means that a UN member nation cannot use force to force a regime change in another state. So what we have said to the world is that the rules apply, but only when we want them to. We stand up for liberty and justice and can’t even follow the rules that we have agreed to when we signed the U.N. Charter? Where is the liberty and justice for all in that?

One final note: Will Arab states be friendly to us because we just invaded another Arab state? That’s pretty out there. Go check out what’s going on with Israel and Palestine these days and you’ll see how much the other Arab countries like Israel. We’re doing the same thing.


Emily Galopin

Engineering sophomore


Naysayer on Bush admin. apologizes for folly of ways

To the Daily:

How do I feel about protests now? Well they must have been a bad idea, now that we’ve liberated Iraq. I mean since we found all of Saddam’s nuclear weapons that were pointed at U.S. cities, confiscated his caches of chemical and biological weapons, I feel much safer. Seeing Saddam and Osama led off to U.S. firing squads reminded me what this war was all about, making the world safe for contractors from Halliburton to rebuild a country that we just dropped a few billion dollars worth of bombs onto.

I think the only thing left to do now is to send a nice letters to the hundreds of millions of people living under other brutal dictatorships, I’m sure we’ll get around to violating the national sovereignty soon. I don’t know why anyone protested in the first place – look at what a good job we did rebuilding other countries we’ve “helped out.” Those Chileans still thank the wonderful CIA for helping first Pinochet liberate their country. How stupid were we to question whether or not war was the right answer? It’s very obvious that we should just listen to what the government tells us is right; they clearly know more than we could ever hope to.


Ankoor Bagchi

Engineering senior

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