Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Sept. 11 tragedy is no excuse for ignorance

There is no doubt in my mind that Saddam Hussein is indeed a ruthless dictator – one who damaged the lives of not only his family, but of innocent Iraqis.

But when President Bush’s claims of Hussein’s supposed arsenal of “weapons of mass destruction” comes up empty, I find it disturbing that critics are quick to label those who never justified war with these accusations as “Saddam sympathizers.”

Last week, when I wrote of the still-missing weapons, I got a few e-mails reminding me once again that Saddam was a horrible man and that at least we got rid of an evil dictator.

What an eye opener.

Despite the responses, I’m still inclined to state my opinion. I am sick of the broken record responses to issues about 9/11, Iraq, terrorism and WMDs.

If one mentions al- Qaeda, one gets “Did you forget what happened on 9/11?” in return.

Any mention of weapons of mass destruction and you get, “Did you forget what happened on 9/11?”

Any mention of Iraq and fighting terrorism, and you get, “Did you forget what happened on 9/11?”

My intention is not to make light the horrific events that occurred on 9/11, but we are an educated society and opening our eyes and our minds will only help us comprehend our complex world.

How can I possibly forget 9/11? It was the day I had to fear for my life. It was the day I had to sacrifice doing the things I wanted because of the way I look.

That day unfolded a barrage of new policies, a confused culture and a lack of answers.

Only now are we discovering that hundreds of men were locked up shortly after 9/11 and denied their rights, all in the name of homeland security.

A report by U.S. Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine has solidified the facts that support the criticism, which has been directed at Attorney General John Ashcroft.

This report provides an inside look into the government’s treatment of the detainees: Mostly law-abiding Middle Eastern men with no ties at all to terrorism.

In the wake of 9/11, the Justice Department tried to deny these men bond and adopted a “hold until cleared” policy, meaning the detainees were locked up an average of 80 days until the FBI made sure they had no terrorist connections. All this while bearing the endless taunting of guards.

The problems arose when none of these men had any ties to terrorist organizations and when the FBI took months instead of days to realize this.

Ashcroft offers no apologies to the detainees or their families, who suffered unjust treatment and inhumane conditions.

Now, this is what I predict the e-mails I get today to read: Did you forget what happened on 9/11?

It’s time we realize the root of problems that cause things like 9/11 to occur.

I know those victims had families too and that they suffered. But on that tragic day, people – men, women, Muslims, Christians, parents and spouses – lost their lives.

Tragedy does not discriminate, so how can we allow discrimination in the wake of tragedy?

Samira Zaidi, University of Houston, Texas.