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Friday February 23, 2001

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Letters to the editor

Stein's speech a sad message to students

I am writing in response to the article covering Ben Stein's speech at the Legislative Leadership Conference. While Ben Stein's speech was sprinkled throughout with bits of humor, the overall message was a sad commentary on what we tell our future leaders.

Mr. Stein described his early days in the civil service as working in a terrible bureaucracy. He left his next position in another governmental bureaucracy after he realized that he couldn't change it. His message to the audience was not to try and make things better, but leave while you can. His comments encouraging the audience to work at the highest levels of power in the Capitol ignored the accomplishments of the people who carry out the decisions of the legislature. The bureaucrats who run social programs and deal with the public day in and day out were seen as nothing more than people with no ambition. He admitted that one of the prime reasons he got a job in the Nixon White House was his father's political connections. This is not a path built with idealism and dreams, but connections and opportunism.

The article is correct that he encouraged the audience to help their fellow man, however his example was the money he gave his family. While familial duty is important, a person who helps his brother and one who helps a stranger are not the same. He recommended the Greek system as an excellent way to learn to get along with others because pledges have to get along with fraternity members during rush. The narrow view of this practice ignores the blatant disrespect a fraternity or sorority member can show someone who is not Greek. He also overlooked thousands of students who are not Greek, but learn to get along anyway because they live on campus in residence halls. In these halls they share rooms and bathrooms with strangers and must learn to get along and form a community. The article mentioned none of these things, but instead recounted a few jokes that Stein had said as if he were speaking at a conference on comedy. I would have preferred more of the workshops and less of the key note speaker at this particular conference.

Matthew Zuckerman

business sophomore

Greeks not always bad guys

I am writing in regard to the commentary on hazing in the Greek community from Wednesday's edition. I would like to clarify some statements made in this article. To say, "Greeks have their own definition of hazing," is false. The university's definition of hazing, set for every recognized club, is the exact same as that of the Interfraternity Council's bylaws. The Greek system has been publicized for its involvement in some hazing incidents, but there are other groups on campus that take part in hazing events and are not publicly scrutinized. Hazing is a problem if the university is creating a policy against it for all recognized clubs, a problem that everyone wants to fix.

The IFC takes each complaint that comes to it seriously and follows through to the end. Unfortunately, we cannot act as a policing system for the fraternities we oversee. We are here to act as intermediaries between the chapter members and the dean of students. If a member, active or pledge, comes to us with a problem within their house, we will investigate the issues at hand.

Representatives from each chapter in the Greek system elect the officials for their respective boards: NPHC, Panhellenic and IFC. The Greek Judicial Board (J-Board) is not strictly IFC's judicial board, as the article's author incorrectly stated, but a judicial body for the entire Greek community. J- Board meets every week to discuss rules and policy and to decide the outcome of pending cases. Greek Life is the only organization on campus to have its own review board. To call for its disbandment is inconceivable. The executive boards govern the Greek system, while J-Board maintains the bylaws and policy. Both institute sanctions for offenses.

Ann Wolnick, senior coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership, is forming a new board for all UA clubs that is based upon the same ideas of J-Board.

In all cases there is information that is on a need-to-know basis for the protection of the people or organizations involved. People in the "loop" may not be allowed to discuss the events in question. Just because the details are not released for public knowledge, due to confidentiality requirements, does not mean the process stops. I do encourage the Wildcat to take a look at other organizations on campus. Greeks are not always the bad guys.

Ken Tierney

IFC Public Relations Vice President

Real terrorism overlooked

When someone says "Arab," what is the first word that comes to mind? Terrorist seems to be a popular one. Dirty, violent and fanatic are a few others.

OK, let's try another: "American." The word terrorist probably is not the first word associated with America. In fact, terrorism is never associated with anything Americans do. Yet, the recent bombings in Iraq are acts of terrorism, plain and simple. The media portrays these acts as necessary for preserving democracy. We have people like Charles Peterson writing "Someone has to take care of Saddam Hussein!"

The United States has always taken this stance when it comes to any foreign power threatening its control over the world market. Saddam Hussein will not comply with the United State's rules, so what does America do? It bombs. It destroys. It commits acts that would only be deemed as terrorism if associated with the Arabs.

This situation exists as well in Palestine. The Israelis allow the United States to house nuclear weapons and troops in Israel, as it is a militarily strategic location in the Middle East, and in return the United States supports Israel financially, in the United Nations and in the media.

A desperate Palestinian kills eight people at a bus stop and it is terrorism. Over 400 Palestinians are killed at the hands of the Israelis and it is called defense. So before making judgments on Arabs and their actions, take a look at the whole picture and ask yourself how it might be if, or when, the rest of the world wakes up and realizes who the real terrorists are.

Zeina Saad

computer science junior

Iraq not Clinton's fault

I almost wet my pants when I read Charles Peterson's letter to the editor. He said, "Iraq is becoming a threat again, since a certain ex-president from Arkansas couldn't get the job done. Someone has to take care of Saddam Hussein!"

I cannot believe a person could be so ignorant. A certain one-term president wouldn't follow the advice of his advisers and "get the job" done.

It's a sad state of affairs when 10 years later, the son has to deal with a conflict left by daddy. And what a fool to think Hussein is Clinton's mess! I'd hope the Wildcat would think twice about publishing second-rate, Bush-league tripe.

Albert Johnson

UA alum

Bombing not merely for convenience

I have seen letters to the editor for the past two days saying that presidents use the bombing of Iraq to boost their approval ratings, yes, both Clinton and Bush. This is flagrantly untrue. The United States has been bombing Iraq at a fairly regular pace for years upon years, it doesn't just happen when the president feels it is "convenient." The only new thing about the "latest" bombing is that it was outside of the "no fly zones." I personally don't like either Bush or Clinton or their bombing of Iraq for purely economic reasons. But to say that they are only doing it when they need a PR boost, is just wrong.

Trenton Tatro

philosophy and mathematics senior

Letters on Iraq bombing off base

While a slight wince is usually enough to get over some of the drivel printed in the letters section, the Wednesday issue went rather far beyond the usual.

Some basic fact checking is in order. First, exactly where in the U.N. Charter does is it disallow France or Russia or whomever else from getting oil from Iraq, and where does it declare the oil itself illegal? Hopefully Shaffer was referring to a U.N. (Security Council) resolution.

Assuming he meant the various U.N. resolutions regarding Iraq, it still isn't clear exactly where the "no-fly zones" are "U.N.-sanctioned," because, try as one may, you simply won't find any U.N. Security Council resolutions establishing them. So what if France and Russia would have vetoed them, that still doesn't make them legal. They are purely a creation of the United States and Britain, and the enforcement of them by strikes is probably an international crime in itself. You don't see Iraq committing aggression against the United States outside of its own airspace, do you?

Finally, as to the propaganda value Bush has gotten from bombing: of course it was done largely for domestic consumption, since knocking around our favorite international whipping boy with the assurance that the media will slavishly follow whatever line is fed to them by the Pentagon has always proven to sit nicely with the public.

Morgan Feather

Russian and German senior