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Letters to the Editor 3/31

War on terror should not ignore Pakistan

As the war on terror is being waged, I feel the need to point out a critical aspect of this war that is being too often neglected and overlooked. Finally, America and the world are waking up to the reality of the terror unleashed by ultra-radical Islam.

While the United States has taken the lead in this war against terror, it needs to closely review its policy toward Pakistan, which I strongly believe has all the potential of turning into another Afghanistan if not controlled. A hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism, this is a country that has been the birth and growth place of most terrorist organizations in the world. Let me ask you this, where was the Taliban indoctrinated, armed and trained? In the north western province of Pakistan.

The Pakistani government uses the conflict with India to divert attention from the domestic mess the country is in. The state uses its money and infrastructure to train militants and send them out to many troubled areas, such as Afghanistan, Kashmir, Chechnya and the Middle East. There is no democratically elected government here, and economic growth — well, let’s just say that growth is a term that cannot be used here.

Islamic fundamentalism is at a steep rise, and terror groups, such as the Hizb Ul Mujahideen, are given a free hand in the country. No attempt is made to curtail the growth and rapid empowerment of these groups that are fast soiling the social fabric of Pakistan.

As Pakistan is a nuclear capable state, one fears what the consequences would be if the militant groups gained control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. It is a very perceivable possibility and one the world needs to look into.

I would implore the U.S. government to strongly review its policy of appeasement toward Pakistan and join hands with such nations as India and Israel, which have combated terror right from their creation, the same kind of terror that the United States is just awakening to. An attempt must be made to combat this terror from its roots, and that means giving a strong message to rogue states, such as Pakistan, that are fast turning into manufacturing units of world terror.

Unmesh Khadilkar is a graduate student majoringin electrical engineering.

International law no longer applies to war

It has been more than 200 years since a brutal dictator named George complained about the guerrilla warfare tactics of an invaded country’s defenders.

England’s King George whined about the tendency of those savage American terrorists who bucked traditional “line up and shoot” military formation. It was unfair for the colonists to not all wear the same color, and how dare they hide behind trees like savage Indians?

Flash ahead a couple of centuries and now our un-elected son of a president tyrant is mimicking mad King George’s sentiments. What’s the matter, King George W. Bush? Did you really expect Iraq to follow your rules of engagement? How could they possibly know what they are?

You invaded Iraq in defiance of international law that you claim they must uphold. You fabricated evidence linking Iraq to Sept. 11 that was supposed to convince the United Nations to take military action, which it didn’t. Then you went on national TV and told the whole world you were going to call for a vote of the U.N. Security Council. (Remember, that was when the international community was going to have to put their “cards on the table?”) But then you decided against it when you realized that you had as many votes for you as you had vetoes against your illegal act. You set this precedent. You made international law null and void.

King George W. Bush, you have compromised our nation’s moral high ground. The recklessness of your foreign policy is only matched by the sheer ineptitude of your domestic. And King George, you have unabashedly used the memory of the victims of Sept. 11 to justify every action of your administration, from violating the Constitution you swore to uphold to putting the lives of our fellow Americans in danger. Shame on you, King George W. Bush.

Stephen C. Bedell is a sophomore majoring in political science.

War in Iraq appears to be ‘first resort’

Chris Ricketts frames his argument for the “necessity of military action in Iraq” within the context of U.N. resolutions. The U.N. charter calls for peaceful means of resolving conflicts and the use of force only as a last resort. Sadly, it is evident that war has been the first resort for this administration, and Bush does not have a U.N. mandate to attack. Mr. Bush dismissed the United Nations as irrelevant when Colin Powell failed to convince it to authorize war.

What is this war about anyway? First, it was Iraq’s connection to the Sept. 11 attacks, which is, as yet, unsubstantiated. Then it was Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction. The administration pooh-poohed the inspections process continually, even though inspectors were confident that their work was effective. And now, we’re supposed to believe that this war is all about bringing democracy to Iraq?

Mr. Ricketts fails to include one very important part of the equation in his argument — oil. I don’t think it is being cynical or conspiratorial to suggest that this war is principally about the control of Iraq’s oil. After all, our leaders are former oil executives, and, in fact, Condoleezza Rice has a Chevron oil tanker named after her. Call me crazy, but Iraq has the world’s second largest reserves of oil under the sand that our troops are marching over.

I am not a pacifist and supported the war in Afghanistan. The complicity of the Taliban in attacking Americans was clear and convincing. The White House propagandists have been very effective in convincing Americans that this war is a noble cause, but the overwhelming majority of people around the world are not convinced. As Michael Moore famously announced at the Oscars, “any time that you have the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up.”

John Early is a senior majoring in civil engineering.