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Letters to the Editor 11/27

Ethnocentrism will be downfall of nation

In the wake of the recent situations — possible war with Iraq, terrorism, the election, the economy, the theory of evolution and, of course, many other personal agendas — we’ve collectively spoken our minds with ink and orally with diligence. Or have we?

History, as it seems, is revolving like a warped broken record as the needle of truth reads the grooves of our lives. Now more than ever history is testing America. The United States, metaphorically, is the young college grad entering the real world with a narcissistic attitude for every problem and solution.

That ethnocentric attitude has led our country to divide in almost every issue. The truth is, history is watching and writing every step we take. But we aren’t taking any steps at all.

To be very blunt, we are a society that doesn’t care, unless it happens to us, of course (i.e., Sept. 11, 2001). We are so sheltered with our own violent fantasies that when it becomes reality in our backyards, only then do we begin to listen.

Other countries hate us because they’re afraid. They’re afraid of the superiority and influence the United States has inflicted upon the world.

For those of you who’ve traveled to foreign countries, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Al-Qaida is no different from the kids at Columbine. Both were ignored, singled out and made to look inferior. Both snapped under the stress, and a very similar tragedy occurred, — people died.

America’s solution to these problems is to add fuel to the fire. The United States kills the people who killed us and, in return, kills us for killing them.

The harsh reality is that we like it. Yes, we love to be controlled, and we love it when other people deal with our problems. We love to sit passively and condemn our actions while others suffer.

We love death and destruction, when it’s over there but not here. The United States of America, the free world empire of the world that still hasn’t outgrown its diapers, is teaching the world about freedom. People have died in other countries for their right to vote.

Yet, here in America only 34 percent of young adults 18-25 voted in the recent election. We’ve exploited our freedoms to the point where we are shooting ourselves in the foot with every move.

We accept what’s given to us, and we digest it like an evening meal. We feed our brains with barriers that are doomed to be torn down like the Berlin Wall. The capacity of our minds and the well-being of our lives are endless. But how far are we willing to go to get there?

We college students are the future of change. As you go to class, think of your capabilities and think of the capabilities of the person sitting next to you.

Think of what you envision as the reputation for your generation and the future of the world around you. Ask your professors what the limit of knowledge is.

Then ask yourself, “With my knowledge, where can we go from here?”

Matthew Cooke is majoring in marketing.

War forum shows USF students care

USF is alive and well. This is the feeling I had after the Nov. 20 “War on Iraq?” forum which, by my count, was attended by more than 300 students (not “nearly 100 students” as The Oracle reported Thursday).

The Nov. 20 event was the zenith of the college experience. Scholarship, inquiry and humanity came together in the Marshall Center that night. Higher education is about asking important questions, questions whose answers will affect human lives and forge the global community. I can hardly think of a more important question than war.

It is incumbent upon the USF community to ask and answer the difficult questions about Iraq. It is simply irresponsible to remain ignorant of this war and blindly hope for the best. Millions of lives are in the balance: the lives of the Iraqi people and American soldiers alike.

Thirty years after Vietnam, the pain is still fresh. We must examine the proposed war in Iraq with the type of critical vision that could have saved America from Vietnam, as Daniel Ellsberg suggested last month. This vision requires careful thought and action (the very fruits of a good education).

The Nov. 20 event is a sign of life for the university. I hope that such events will lay the foundations for a world that is free from bloodshed. Free thought, scholarship and compassion make beautiful music together.

I applaud the seven USF professors (plus Michael Pheneger) who paneled the event. I applaud the hundreds of concerned students who attended, asked questions and shared their insights.

These students and faculty are the pride of USF. Which position they took on the war is immaterial. What matters is that they cared enough to seek and offer intelligent answers to a critical question: Should we go to war in Iraq?

Aneesh Karve is a senior double majoring in computer science and mathematics.

Bin Laden’s actions cannot be justified

I cannot believe that an American citizen would write an editorial that suggests that the American people need to read and understand why Osama bin Laden had the United States attacked by terrorists.

The only thing that is important is the fact that a group of terrorists under the control of the madman bin Laden killed 3,000 of our citizens and is intending to kill thousands more.

There is no justification he can claim that gives him the reason to attack this country and kill its civilians. Just because he does not like the Western way of life, he has no right to kill people. How in the world is that going to change things? He is purely and simply a “terrorist” and a “madman.” I could care less about his reasons because they are the reasons of a “criminal murderer.”

The fact that the writer of this editorial believes that we, as Americans, should read and understand this madman, shows that the writer is also a madman.

I would further say that the writer of this article would probably have some anti-American government sentiment in him. It would seem to me that the writer somewhat agrees with bin Laden and his hate for America and the West.

It never ceases to amaze me that in this country of plenty, this country of freedom, of opportunity and the freedom to express oneself, that we have people who do their utmost to undermine and destroy it from within.

Gary Stanley is a senior majoring in secondary education.