Letters to the Editor 3/18

Analysis better than most, but still flawed

While Rob Brannon’s analysis was better informed than many college students’ take on the impending war, Brannon made a number of serious factual errors that could have shed better light on the situation.

First, Brannon wrote that Bush, “will order a war no matter the climate internationally or within the United States.”

Although the international debate over Bush’s Iraq policies is well-documented, the climate in the United States is decidedly pro-war.

Brannon may not have read the most recent polling, completed by The Washington Post the night of Bush’s speech, that showed that more than 70 percent of Americans back Bush on Iraq.

This may be surprising news to a university community with such apparently insular political thinking, but Brannon cannot make comments about a national anti-war mood given such broad national support for war. Some at USF may lament this fact but national outrage at Bush’s war drive is, for now, extremely limited.

Secondly, Brannon made strange insinuations at Bush’s call for weapons inspectors, other U.N. representatives and journalists to leave Iraq.

Brannon’s claim that this is possibly a cover-up for U.S. military atrocities is perverse given that the United States has embedded more than 500 active journalists with front-line troops, including journalists from the Arab-language news network, Al-Jazeera and other foreign media outlets.

It is true that some journalists feel that their closeness with the troops may compromise their objectivity, but this is a far cry from claiming that journalists will not be privy to death and destruction.

Indeed, many embedded journalists will come under enemy fire and others will operate in Iraq independently at their great peril.

Finally, Brannon neglected to mention the one group that is strongly in favor of U.S. military action in Iraq — dissident Iraqi groups in exile, who know firsthand of Hussein’s brutality and depravity. Judging by these Iraqis, the only Iraqis free to speak their honest opinion of the situation, “the benefits of Hussein’s removal” outweigh many of the sacrifices their country must make.

I am not convinced that all of these reasons justify war at this time. Many will not be convinced until we are given access to highly classified documents or see the gas cloud over an American city.

But we are also deserving of well-rounded, well-informed, and well-balanced analysis about the topic, free from ax grinding and unsupportable political insinuations.

Brannon does a passable job for a college journalist but could definitely do better.

Sean Ransom is a doctoral student studying psychology.

War protesters border on being unpatriotic

This is in response to Mr. Tarabishy’s letter to the editor. Mr. Tarabishy, it would seem to me that you do indeed know the facts about Iraq.

I, too, know the facts about Iraq, but our opinions on the pending action could not be further apart. “How do you justify a war against a country you know virtually nothing about?” To this open question, I respond with countless U.N. resolutions, a past use of weapons of mass destruction on Kurds and Iranians and a repression of his own people potentially answer this question. But the purpose of this letter is not to argue the facts but to inform you.

“What need is there to demonstrate when you are the status quo?” It is important that our troops overseas see that America supports them.

You will see that most protesters in pro-war rallies support our president and troops, not war.

When it comes to pro-war supporters not knowing the facts, I believe there is a strong number on both sides who do not know the facts. I have also talked to the people who sit in circles in anti-war rallies and asked them questions.

Some know the facts, and I can have a respectful conversation with them, but others declare, “war is bad” or something to the effect that this war is only about oil. These people are just as factless as people in pro-war rallies.

As it appears, the first bombs are only days away from being dropped, and I expect most of the anti-war protesters to silence their attacks on the president and government and support our troops.

There are more than 200,000 American men and women who can’t see their first child born, be with their sick parents or are forced to be without their families during the holidays.

There will be plenty of time to complain and protest in the future, but now is the time to think about what a patriotic American should be doing in a time of war.

Kevin Hettinger is a sophomore majoring in political science and history.

Both sides of war issue should debate

As the organizer for the “pro-war” rally held March 5, I feel it necessary to respond to the blatantly ridiculous letter written by Bisher Tarabishy in Tuesday’s Oracle.

Let me first try to respond to the question posed in this letter: “What need is there to demonstrate when you are the status quo?”

As it is your right to demonstrate under the first amendment as an anti-war activist, it is our right to show support for our president and our troops. Often, it is claimed that the anti-war activists are being patriotic by demonstrating. I would say the same is true for the opposition. But just because you call your self “anti-war” doesn’t make us “pro-war.”

We are made up by the majority of citizens in this country, who believe that the time has come and gone for diplomacy. A peaceful resolution is always sought, but the time has passed. Saddam has had 12 years to disarm, and he has done nothing of the sort.

The few efforts he has made in the past couple weeks have only been because our government has had 250,000 troops in their backyard. When dealing with a tyrant like Saddam, who knows nothing of peace or compassion, force tends to be the only option.

As for the “facts” that the anti-war demonstrators have spewed to the few people who actually listen to their propaganda, they are wrong.

But I am not going to sit here and try to explain why they are wrong, not because I can’t but because I can’t do it justice in 300 words or less.

I do challenge Mr. Tarabishy to a debate on the issue if he thinks he knows more about the issues than I do.

Why don’t you put your opinions to the test? Accept my challenge.

This goes for anyone who wants to be part of this. Let’s have a clean and open discussion on the issues at hand and see once and for all who is speaking the facts, and who is trying to sell fiction.

Samuel J. Nirenberg is a senior majoring in political science.