Letters to the Editor 3/7

Analysis of situation full of flaws

Sarah Mitwalli wrote Tuesday that, and I am quoting, “One of the greatest professors at this university was fired for simply voicing a dissenting opinion.”

Now, let’s think about this statement. Sarah has every right to her opinion, but like the title says, know the facts. Fact 1: Sarah is a political science and international studies student. She has not taken engineering classes with Dr. Sami Al-Arian. So, in determining how great a professor he is, Sarah is not qualified and, therefore, her opinion is questionable. Fact 2: Sarah is a freshman; she has been here how long now?

Dr. Al-Arian has not taught a class in more than 18 months. Sarah could not have had him for a professor even if she was an engineering student, which I remind you, she is not.

But for the sake of argument, let’s say she has had him for a professor. That means that Sarah has been a freshman on this campus for almost two years now. If this is the case, Sarah, your opinion may be valid, but at the same time, you should probably spend more time on your political science studies trying to get to be a sophomore and less time writing to the school paper.

I am all for students voicing their opinions. That is one of the great things about a university, but you have to know the facts when you are going to do this. As far as labeling a professor as one of the greatest, I think you can only do that after a professor is gone. Sarah, in the next four or five years you are here, you will have that opportunity. In fact, you can talk to people and start having this debate about Dr. Sami Al-Arian if you like, because that man will never be back on this campus because he should and will be sitting behind bars for the rest of his life.

Chris Iaquinto is a senior majoring in electrical engineering.

Alumnus’ letter uses illogical thinking

This letter is in response to Maura Barrios’ letter to the editor in The Oracle Thursday. I cannot believe that any educated person could create such an idiotic, rambling list of questions.

Barrios begins by questioning the U.S. intelligence agents and their search for Osama bin Laden. Is it that far-fetched that a person can disappear? We’ll ignore the facts, like he’s rich and has numerous followers around the world. Barrios and her comments toward the U.S. military strike me as intellectually deficient. “If you support the war, why didn’t you sign up to fight?” This idea is repeatedly expressed through her article, even attacking the president and other top government officials for not enlisting. I hate to tell you this but serving our country doesn’t mean you have to be in the military.

What about the emergency response personnel, such as police officers, firefighters, EMTs, etc? I can serve my country and never join a branch. Does that make me less American than you? No. Have you ever considered that politicians and their families serve in a different manner? Need I remind you that one of the planes of the horrible attacks of Sept. 11 were intended for the White House? How many presidents have been killed or had attempts made on their lives? And yet you still see their lives as nothing more than votes and empty promises.

Would you prefer our president with a gun in one hand and a pen in the other? Whatever problems you have with the American military, get over it. American men and women choose to serve our country, and for that we should give them any and all support. The U.S. military may not pay what these soldiers deserve, but they are paid, supported and have the option of enlisting or not. And whatever sacrifice our soldiers make for whatever wars arise, know that they will die not just for “our way of life” but for theirs, as well.

Your rambling statements bounce from war to creating a Jewish state. The United States rebuilt Germany and much of war-torn Europe, not to make a Jewish state, but to allow freedom to once again live in those areas. And if the United States had built a Jewish state only in Germany, Italy, New York or Florida would Judaism have a worldwide influence or would it be pushed to the corners of nations?

The most troubling comments your letter contained were these, “Did you practice killing innocent children?” How dare you make comments like this? Do you honestly see the U.S. military or Americans in general as blood-craving soldiers? In an interview with Dan Rather, the “leader” of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, boasted how his people elected him with a 100 percent of the votes. Does anyone have a problem with this? Hussein controls the government and owns the newspapers. If you don’t have a problem with this, can you tell me who opposed Hussein in the election? Was there a choice? Why not?

And yeah, I’ll bite the bullet at the pump if my extra dollar goes to the military. I’ll work a little harder to bring home a little more money should taxes be raised. But what will you do? Perhaps we should ask all those countries that have received aid from the United States to pay old Uncle Sam back. Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s not more than $10 billion. What’s that, Russia? Catch you later. How about Europe? No. So where will the funding come from? As a future alumnus of USF, I believe we should make an annual donation to the U.S. military on your behalf. This gun bought and paid for by Maura Barrios. I like that.

Hugh Herndon is a senior majoring in English and American literature.

Get information from the right sources

After reading Steve Woodside’s letter to the editor in Thursday’s edition of The Oracle, it became obvious that he does not understand what it means to be an American. Being an American does not mean blindly following an administration in actions that you do not support.

I have great respect and admiration for those who serve in our armed forces. That does not mean that I am obligated to agree with every decision our government makes. That is not patriotism, it is foolishness. It is important to remember that wars have been fought and people have died to protect our rights, including the right to free speech.

The protesters of this war have a duty as Americans to stand up for what they believe in. Woodside fails to realize that to ignore our freedoms would be a tremendous disservice to those who have fought to protect them. I am a proud American citizen. I love my country and the ideals it stands for. I do not, however, support a U.S. war with Iraq.

I feel that the Bush administration has not presented enough real evidence to justify a unilateral invasion of Iraq. This does not necessarily mean that I agree with the protesters, either.

I feel that the “no-blood-for-oil,” “give-peace-a-chance” mentality is a dangerous oversimplification of extremely complex matters.

Whether one agrees with Woodside or with the protesters, I hope that people have formed their opinions based on logic, not rhetoric.

Michael Steinhardt is a junior majoring in history.