Letters to the Editor

College Republicanspied on Democrats

I have always been involved in politics, even though people may think that it is evil. I usually like to disagree, because it isn’t evil if the right people are in office. I’m Vice President of the College Democrats and an event has occurred recently to our organization which allows this stereotype of politics to continue to thrive. In our meetings we discuss positive events, never ones that undermine any other political organization on campus. Yet it always seems as if the Republicans are afraid and find any way possible to rise above the Democrats. This is even happening on our own campus.

Before spring break on March 3, I was following Congressman Dennis Kucinich around campus all night when he came to USF. When I arrived at the Special Events Center, I noticed four students from the College Republicans holding their “Bush, Cheney” signs in protest. I chuckled at their massive rally consisting of only four students and found it amusing when even they laughed at the jokes about Bush. I saw these students again when we were to have our private forum with Kucinich. Unfortunately, since this was a Student Government event, they were allowed to protest, even though College Democrats would never be allowed to do such a thing at a College Republicans event. As I began to look at their faces, I recognized one of the individuals. How did I know him? I knew him from the College Democrats meetings. This person was posing as a Democrat and even made a fake name to “spy” on us. He took information from our meetings and used it against us. I believe he had every right to come into our meeting, as does anyone, but once he misused our trust by lying and making a cover, it was wrong. I would honestly like to know how useful it was for him to lie and make a large group extremely angry without even gaining any valuable information; I mean we aren’t the CIA here. In my opinion, this was a typical Republican tactic used against us, but it will not discourage us, only fuel us.

Helen Pflugh is a freshman majoring in public relations and political science. She is the Vice President of the College Democrats.

Our government failed our trust

It is by now completely clear that our government led us to a war on false pretenses. In no uncertain terms we were told that the Iraqi government had stockpiles of WMDs, connections with al-Qaida, and that danger to our country from Iraq was lurking — or worse, imminent — by some account. It turns out that none of these proclamations are true. We trusted our government, gave it the power to act and it failed us.

One of the most fundamental building blocks of a democracy is trust — trust between the governed and those who govern. Our leaders in government, and the various institutions that we have entrusted ourselves to, must serve as the guardians of that trust. They in turn must convert that trust into the basis of their authority and the discharge of their responsibilities.

Having returned recently from France, it was heartwarming to hear the good will expressed by everyone we met overseas, from taxi drivers to waiters and to professionals. With no exception, they all expressed their love of America and Americans. They only questioned the trustworthiness and the “cowboy-lone ranger” attitude of our government.

It is difficult to believe that our government would knowingly send our young men and women into an arena to face a “madman” with stockpiles of WMDs that would have caused a massive human catastrophe, especially when other peaceful avenues were available to us. The rest of the world and the United Nations believed in the wisdom of a few more months of inspections, but our government said no. This strongly implies that the administration had other reasons for going to war against Iraq. Why, then, were we lied to?

To claim ignorance of the facts at this point is to imply incompetence. To shift the responsibility onto the intelligence community is to cast a smoke screen. To claim that this war was for a “good cause” worth dying for is simply criminal. Our intervention has caused the maiming and death of well over 15,000 innocent human beings. Who is going to assume responsibility? Who is going to be held accountable?

It is indeed a sad commentary when we see fit to spend millions upon millions of dollars to impeach a president for lying about a sexual indiscretion, and yet condone lies that cause destruction and death to thousands of innocent men, women and children. With the 2004 elections soon approaching, many citizens of this country do not trust the process. Has our government sabotaged the foundations of our democracy?

Manoug Manougian is a professor of mathematics and has written a series on genocide for PBS.