Don’t punch everyone on Library Mall
Yesterday Matt Morin said he is “baffled” by people that do not agree with the U.S. air strikes against Afghanistan. His plan to make the “neo-hippies” see reason is to punch them in the face and tell them not to retaliate.
First, he is completely generalizing all anti-war protesters. I have attended several peace rallies, and the general feeling at the protests is that we should not rush into any kind of armed conflict and that we should attempt to negotiate with Afghanistan before bombing them. Notice this is not a lack of retaliation; it just requires that we ask questions first instead of shooting right away.
However, just to prove a point, let’s assume that Molin’s test was put to use. After punching a protester in the face, they realize the “reason” in retaliation. However, they don’t quite know what you look like or where you are, so they run around Library Mall punching every person they see in the face in hopes that it is you. That’s exactly what the United States is doing right now in Afghanistan; innocent people are dying, and bin Laden is most likely still alive and untouched. In both cases, a lot of people get hurt, and justice is not necessarily served. However, in both cases, taking the perpetrators to court (i.e. the Hague), would guarantee justice. Sure it might take a little longer than just bombing, but it would also ensure that innocent lives aren’t lost. And that’s all us “neo-hippies” are asking for.
Peace proponents don?t understand terrorists
The “peace” proponents’ basic argument seems to be that the terrorism of Islamic fundamentalists is a response to American imperialist and interventionist policies; if we discontinue or modify these policies, the terrorism will go away. This rationale, however, fails to pass a simple test of logic: does American foreign policy uniquely target Islamic peoples in such a way that they would be led commit these acts? Clearly, it does not.
The fact is, American diplomats regularly intervene in matters that we should stay out of, in every part of the world. American intervention in Chinese affairs, particularly with respect to their internal freedoms and their treatment of Taiwan, creates enormous levels of animosity on the part of the Chinese people, as the diplomatic standoff of this past year demonstrated. Yet I have never heard of militant Chinese terrorists planning suicide bombings of American tourists. In Ireland, America has clearly supported Great Britain against the IRA, yet that group, already terrorist in nature, has never detonated car bombs on the streets of New York or Washington.
The question remains, what causes the fundamentalist Islamic response to America? Michael Medved, writing in the USA Today (10/3/01, page 13A), puts it nicely. He writes, “Islamic fundamentalists view the United States as a source of moral pollution . . . and a threat to the medieval, hierarchical faith they fanatically embrace and impose.” The leaders of the radical wing of the Muslim faith seek to isolate themselves and their people from the sins of modern culture. The advent of mass communication, however, has made this task impossible while those outside cultures remain. Thus they lash out, fighting against the pillar of that immorality, the United States. Their war is thus a pointless, immoral and unending one, doomed to continue unabated, unless, of course, we decided to simply turn our culture off.
I don’t advocate carpet bombing the cities of Afghanistan or Iraq in the hopes that we will strike fear into the hearts of terrorists. People who have frequently demonstrated their willingness to end their lives in a blaze of glory will certainly not be cowed by such tactics. Moreover, such acts would create real justification, for they would be a uniquely barbaric treatment at the hands of America. Nor do I think carefully planned military efforts are truly justice. But they are our only option, for what they are is protection. Appeasing these animals will not stop them. If we pull our intervention from the Middle East, it will soon be an exit from Africa that they demand. From there, who knows? It did not work for Great Britain against the animals of fascist Germany, and it will not work for us today. Islamic terrorism must be rooted out, dead or alive, or I fear the list of American civilians killed in a war not their own will continue to grow.
Why the name-calling?
I have noticed a trend that has come out of the tragic events of Sept. 11. Instead of engaging in actual discussion of the issues, there are those who would rather name-call. I have almost come to expect to open the Opinion section and see such phrases as “neo-hippie”, “leftist”, or “pinko-commie”. Not only is this immature, but it gets nothing accomplished. Can’t these people come up with an argument, or are they just not listening?
Which leads me to Matt Morin. While, on the face of it, his might seem like a somewhat rational argument, his analogy is poor, and he doesn’t understand the intentions of these “neo-hippie war protesters”. There are very few people who think that absolutely nothing should be done. What most want, however, is a rational, well-thought-out response that spares innocent life and actually does something to address the problem. Maybe a consideration of U.S. foreign policy and living conditions in other countries would be a good start to investigating why things like this happen.
No one deserves something like the events of Sept. 11 to happen to them, which is why these “unpatriotic” students are so concerned about the civilians in Afghanistan and elsewhere. This is much more complex than a fist fight, and simply “hitting back” indiscriminately only worsens the problem.
Maybe someone could address that issue, instead of resorting to fourth-grade school-yard tactics of name-calling.
As I stood Saturday afternoon and watched Indiana hand the Badgers another demoralizing loss, I was harkened back to the pre-Barry years when games like last Saturday were a regular occurrence. If I was lucky, each fall we would make a five-hour pilgrimage to watch the big red and white play football at Camp Randall. Win or lose, it didn’t matter. To me, it was worth the trip just to sit in the stadium and hear the roar of the fans.
Then the years of Barry came, and we truly did have stuff to cheer about. Every Saturday Camp Randall filled with roaring, rowdy and drunk fans whose antics ranged from pelting opposing teams with marshmallows to smuggling kegs in on wheelchairs. Since the infamous ’93 Michigan game things have calmed down a bit, but last Saturday, as I stood and watched the boys fall to a 26-0 deficit within 7 minutes, it became undeniably clear that the crowd was gone. Now I don?t know who wouldn’t lose heart after a start like that, but it has seemed that the last few seasons, especially this fall, the crowd, including the student section, has all but disappeared.
I am not trying to say bring back all of the insane, drunken debauchery that has filled the student section in the past. I just think we should try to make it fun again and at the same time make teams again wary to play at Camp Randall. I realize the way things are going this may not be easy, but these football players are not just playing for a chance at the pros or for scholarships. They are also playing for our student body, the city of Madison and all of Wisconsin for that matter. The least we can do is make some noise at a football game.