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Letters to the Editor 4/1

False accusations led way to war with Iraq

Chris Ricketts is right in saying that Hussein is something of a monster and that the world will be better off without him. However, two wrongs do not make a right.

I read it thusly: Bush was going to make war on Hussein come hell or high water for his own reasons. He talked weapons of mass destruction as a justification. Serious people went looking for them, but even armed with U.S. intelligence, they could not find anything meaningful. Therefore, at the 11th hour, Bush changed his justification from WMD to regime change. Regime change doesn’t really work because with no WMD, Hussein is (internationally at least) a toothless lion, so Bush keeps coming back to the WMD position.

By now, in fact, he cannot afford to not find some when it is over. He has painted himself into exactly the same corner he painted Hussein into: How does one prove a nonexistent thing does not exist? As long as we were not in Iraq, any WMD found by the U.N. inspectors would have clearly proved Bush’s accusation, whereas now that we are there and now that he has that need any WMD that are found can and will be said to have been put there by Bush himself to cover his tracks. Lord knows we’ve got them to spare. Meanwhile, we still haven’t seen any used even in what you might call military need. Maybe Hussein is still waiting for the right moment, but the smartest thing he could do, even as he dies, is leave Bush holding the bag of false accusation and naked aggression.

May it end quickly. May all pain and loss be minimal. And then, we Americans must take a really good look at the evidence and motives behind our being led to start a war.

John Connaughton is a senior majoringin management information science.

Save Chinese from unwarranted arrests

I am writing to express my deep concern about the injustice suffered by Dr. Charles Li, a U.S. citizen, who is detained in China now. Li is a Falun Gong practitioner from Northern California. On Jan. 22, he flew to China to visit his aging parents during the Chinese New Year, but was arrested at China’s airport upon arrival. Now Chinese officials are trumping up charges that could put Li in a Chinese jail for up to 15 years. Falun Gong is a peaceful, advanced self-cultivation system of mind, spirit and body, deeply rooted in ancient Chinese culture, with close to 100 million participants in China in 1999. When the number of Falun Gong practitioners exceeded that of the Communist party membership (60 million), the government became politically paranoid and was threatened of its rule in China, and therefore outlawed the Falun Gong in July, 1999.

During the three-and-half-year long persecution of Falun Gong in mainland China, we have seen the rule of law suspended. Without any legal procedure or with show trials in kangaroo courts, more than 100,000 Chinese Falun Gong practitioners have been sent to forced labor camps and prisons where they regularly face indisputable physical and mental torture, and 636 died under police custody, most of whom were beaten to death.

Chinese authority arrested Li simply because he is a Falun Gong practitioner. It is obvious that Li will not receive a fair trial for Chinese government’s phony charges. The arrest and trial extensions of the persecution and targeted at overseas Falun Gong practitioners, especially those from the United States is.

The arrest of Li is not the isolated case on the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners from the United States. Franklin Cui, a Ph.D. candidate in the civil engineering department of USF, has suffered inconvenience for travel since August last year when a Chinese consulate office in Houston refused to renew his passport. Also, my cousin in China, Cao Kai, was sentenced to two years in prison for not relinquishing his belief in “Truthfulness, Compassion and Forbearance”, the principle of Falun Gong. Freedom of belief is a cornerstone of American life, treasured and enjoyed by every American. It is an unalienable right of every human being. Yet, hundreds of thousands of people on the other side of the globe are denied this right and are suffering and dying for it. They need your help, and your voice counts. We are collecting signatures for a petition to our senators and congressmen. Please contact me if you would like to sign the petition and know more about the Falun Gong cultivation system.

Ying Zhang is a Ph.D.candidate in the department of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering.