Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Don’t strike — fly a flag

Now, generally speaking, I consider myself an easy-going person, or even lazy at times. I don’t go out of my way to look for an argument, I don’t fight with the protestors on Library Mall or on State Street, I don’t care to make a scene, and frankly I don’t care that much about very many things. That being said, after reading the article titled “Students should walk out in favor of books, not bombs,” in Wednesday’s Badger Herald, I felt compelled to write a response.

There are several points that I would like to discuss from the March 5 article. First of all, it is every American’s right to protest anything that they feel obliged to protest. However in any protest, your statement only means as much as you, personally, put into it. If you attended the protest solely because most TAs did not take attendance, and you had nothing better to do, or you were curious about the protest, the statement you made was negligible. So you took the time to walk up to Bascom Hill.

Who gives a shit? A real protest takes a little more heart than that. And many “protestors” were there for those reasons. Besides, does it make any sense to cut class to support school funding, depriving not only yourself of the one thing you were advocating, but also the other students who are actually here to learn something? Your statement doesn’t say much about your interest in scholastics. So what was the point? President George W. Bush is not going to worry about a bunch of students who took advantage of an opportunity to miss a few hours of class to go for a little walk.

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War always comes at a cost, and the cost is rarely described as a bargain.

However, it would be an incredible bargain if the war with Iraq only costs the United States $200 billion. The price of a more secure world would be a bargain even if it came at a cost of $300 or even $400 billion.

Actually, Americans spend approximately $380 billion annually (according to the U.S. Census Bureau), not including corporate insurance costs, on insurance for one purpose, security. In addition to that, over the next year, the attack on the World Trade Center is expected to cost the City of New York upwards of $100 billion, including cleanup and lost revenues. It is ridiculous to say that $200 billion is too much money to pay for peace of mind, and the elimination of the threat that Saddam Hussein poses.

The cost of blood is the chief way that Americans will pay for this war.

However, Americans will pay regardless of whether we go to war or not.

During the entire Gulf War, including Desert Shield, Desert Storm and Provide Comfort, the United States lost a approximately 400 Service men and women. This is tragic. It is saddening to think that people must die to provide safety and security for our country. But it has always been so.

And the price of not fighting back became apparent on Sept. 11, when 3000 innocent Americans were killed. The decision to commit to a war when there will be a loss of life is difficult, but the comparison is easy.

Without going to war, it is a safe bet that the United States will be a continuous target of terrorists.

Saddam Hussein is also a threat to the Iraqi people. “This is a regime that has already used poison gas to murder thousands of its own citizens, leaving the bodies of mothers huddled over their dead children.” Saddam Hussein is directly responsible for the deaths of more than 150,000 Kurds, including 5,000 in nerve gas attacks. The 1.2 million people who have died every year in Iraq, according to the authors’ UNICEF estimate, did not die because of economic sanctions, they died because of the policies of Saddam Hussein’s government. Saddam Hussein is a continuing threat to the Iraqi people and needs to be removed from power.

Needless to say, I was not a participant in the “protest” atop Bascom Hill on Wednesday morning. I was in class, working on my degree, where all the real students were.

Nick Hanson ([email protected]) is a UW sophomore majoring in engineering.

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