Coverage of war in Iraq balanced, yet inadequate
To the Daily:
During the last few weeks, The Michigan Daily’s coverage of the war – although certainly successful in presenting different viewpoints on the war – has been limited in other aspects. Issues of human rights related to the war, particularly those affecting Iraqi civilians, have remained a mere background in the portrayal of the single most important public life event right now.
During the last four weeks, much more emphasis has been given to the political and military aspects of war, rather than to how this war is actually affecting the lives of Iraqis – precisely the people that are supposed to benefit from this war. Looking back, only an extremely limited number of articles have made reference to the deaths and suffering of civilians in Iraq, and even when this aspect of the war is brought up, it is oversimplified to a brief mention of a numerical figure. Only one article has been completely dedicated to the events of civilians’ deaths in Iraq. I – and I am sure many others on this campus – want to know about the father whose six sons, wife and parents died as a result of a U.S.-led attack; about the women and children being used by Iraqi military forces to ambush; about the great number of refugees who might be forced to flee their homes in search of security; about how prisoners of war are being treated by the U.S. military; about the cluster munitions the U.S. military is using. I want to read stories that show our community the fear and uncertainty that Iraqis must be experiencing right now.
Ironically, a great number of recent articles in the Daily have been dedicated to the poor media coverage of the war. I understand that access to information is limited in times when our governmental political agenda permeates every aspect of U.S. media. However, let’s not forget the great sources of information that NGOs are – particularly for issues related to human rights. Other media sources outside the United States are providing this kind of information, as you precisely mentioned in the article What else is on? (04/09/03). For example, Amnesty International covers many of the issues mentioned above. On April 2, 2003, they published an article on the use of cluster bombs by the U.S. military in Iraq. These bombs have been used in civilian areas and are suspected to be the cause of civilian casualties in Iraq. The article particularly makes reference to the U.S. attack on the area of al-Hilla on April 1, 2003, in which at least 33 civilians died and 300 were injured. This type of bomb poses a hazard for civilians even after the U.S. military leaves the area. The bombs that did not explode upon contact remain alive and pose a great threat to anyone that comes into contact with them.
Amnesty International information can be obtained at www.amnesty.org.
I encourage not only The Michigan Daily, but also the entire University community, to actively seek other sources of information.
Story left out important details of divestment vote
To the Daily:
I’m writing to express my extreme displeasure at the way the Daily portrayed the way MSA dealt with the resolution to divest from the Caterpillar Corp. (MSA postpones taking stance on Caterpillar Corp., 04/16/03). Reading the article, one would think that the assembly as a whole “voted” to table it. This could not be further from the truth.
Realizing that this resolution was asinine for singling out Israel, two-thirds of the assembly voted to take the resolution off the table – mind you, this means that the assembly knew it was hogwash from the beginning. One vote was necessary to completely abolish the resolution from even being considered. It is a false assertion, as resolution sponsor Eric Reichenberger claims, that the assembly “came to the decision” to table the resolution; surely, Reichenberger knows that the only people legally able to table resolutions are the sponsors themselves. Knowing that there wasn’t a chance for the resolution to pass, the sponsors decided to pull it, not the assembly.
Because the resolution will be considered in the fall term of 2003, I would publicly ask the sponsors of the resolution to bring it up on a time other than the first assembly meeting of the year, which is on Yom Kippur (hence, several observing Jewish MSA members would not be able to vote).
These are unambiguous facts. The overwhelming majority of MSA representatives understood the cruel intentions of this resolution. I would implore that next time, factual evidence be presented to those that read the Daily.