LETTERS

  /  

November 11, 2004

Letters to the Editor

American security

In attempting to make the case that President Bush has not made America safer, Josh Steinman has proven that the Bush Doctrine is the best way to prevent future terrorist attacks ("America's railways and ports are vulnerable," 11/2/04). Steinman's article will cause many to believe that it is possible to search 100 percent of cargo containers arriving in the United States, search 100 percent of vehicles entering the country from Canada and Mexico, patrol 100 percent of the northern and southern borders, as well as secure 100 percent of railways and air cargo flights. I'm surprised that Steinman does not explicitly advocate security checkpoints on our nation's highways and waterways.Steinman states, "looking at the facts it is clear that we simply aren't safe." To him I reply that it is impossible in a free and open society to be truly safe. (No, Michael Moore, we are not living under a totalitarian, Nazi-esqe, dictatorship. The very fact that Fahrenheit 9/11 was seen by over 20 million people is proof of how wrong you are.) Our borders will be porous, cargo containers will go unchecked, and terrorists will be able to strike us anywhere in the country.

Steinman does not explicitly offer any solutions, merely criticisms and observations. Within the framework of his domestic-front first argument and criticism, the only way to prevent the "doomsday scenarios" that Steinman outlines is to establish a police state. However, establishing such a regime, even temporarily, would mean that the terrorists have forced us to change the fundamental nature of our democracy. It is one thing to submit to more stringent security checks at airports, for it is the nature of our republic to modestly reign in civil liberties during wartime. It is quite another thing to take away most civil liberties for the sake of security.

In claiming that "George W. Bush refuses to acknowledge that we are just as, if not more, vulnerable now than we were four years ago," Steinman illustrates just how little about the war on terror he, and most liberals, understand. As I have shown (though in truncated fashion), the domestic-front first approach to national security is untenable. The best way to secure our nation is to "take the fight to the terrorists," as President Bush and his surrogates have said. Relatives of 176 of those who perished on 9/11 put it best when they stated, "Simply reacting to danger after lives are lost is a weak and unacceptable national defense. [President Bush] believes that taking the fight to the enemy is the best way to ensure that the enemy will not bring death to our doorstep here at home."

Space does not permit me to adequately defend this assertion. However, I will offer one simple proof of my position. In the 38 months since 9/11, the only attack bin Laden has been able to launch against the United States is a short video recording aimed at influencing our election. In this video, bin Laden does not vigorously claim that he will "make the streets of New York turn red with blood." Instead, he offers a truce to American states that vote against President Bush, and proceeds to repeat Democrat, Michael Moore, and Kerry Campaign talking points, most notably, "President Bush was preoccupied by talking to children about how to treat their goats at the same time that 50 thousand American people were in danger." Thank you, Steinman, for illustrating the utter incompetence of those who advocate an "America-First" approach to the defense of our homeland.

Jonathan Hirsch

Second-year in the College

Bush-Hitler comparison

I am writing in response to the Cause Celebre cartoon by Karlis Kandero published in the Maroon on November 5, 2004. The cartoon featured two men standing against an almost entirely black background. One of the featured characters muttered into a thought balloon that Bush would be able to implement "radical right wing policies now that he doesn't have to worry about being elected." My problem with the cartoon does not stem from anything placed into the thought balloon, but with a quotation that appeared next to the characters. The quotation was isolated inside of a rectangle with a white border, specifically created to draw attention to the text. In white letters, the quotation reads, "The victor will never be asked if he told the truth." The source of the quotation is Adolf Hitler.

I have a problem with this quote being published as a part of this cartoon for several reasons. The comparison of George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler is incredibly insulting—not because of the inherent political message, but because of its degradation of the Holocaust. Adolf Hitler built an empire based upon violence and eugenic racial policies, which caused the systematic murder of 11 million people. Wherever you stand on the political spectrum, and whatever your problems have been or are with the Bush administration, throwing around a comparison to Hitler does not lend any substantial weight to your argument. As a Jewish student at this University, I am disgusted by this comparison being published. The death of 6 million Jews in Nazi death camps during World War II does not particularly tickle my funny bone.

If you do have problems with the policies of Bush administration, fantastic. I am glad you have an interest in modern American political life. Express your opinions and ideas in an articulate, organized fashion. Proclaim them in an article advocating for the issues you believe are most important. Whatever you do, substantiate your reasoning with fact. As University of Chicago students, we pride ourselves on honest academic discourse. An argument truly meritorious of attention will be viewed as such by those you wish to impact. However, attempting to draw a comparison to Adolf Hitler does not add an ounce of credibility to your criticisms; it demeans them. If you cannot craft an argument without resorting to baseless emotional appeals, perhaps it should not be created at all.

Joelle M. Shabat

Third-year in the College

Economics for the poor

To Emily Alpert: I liked your article ("A call for liberal conversation with the Right," 11/5/04) and agree with you. Personally, I was a Democrat until I moved from New Jersey to Louisiana (to attend Tulane University) and started talking more with Republicans. Eventually I realized that I was really socially liberal, but fiscally conservative (aka Libertarian). Last week I voted for Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik, and Libertarian Senate candidate Jerry Kohn.I'm writing this letter because I want to point out one misconception that you seem to have included in your article. You suggest that "We [the Left] are the majority in this country…most Americans support…low-income people." This assumption that only the Left cares about he poor is a very common misunderstanding among Democrats/Socialists/Greens.Many fiscal conservatives (like myself) care just as much as anyone about our nation's low-income people. It is an issue that deeply concerns me. I have studied it at depth, and have worked with some of our nation's lowest-income people. You and I probably have very similar values, and share the same goals for the poor. Our only difference is the methods and policies that we believe will help them. Thanks for being open to hearing different viewpoints. Hopefully people will heed your shrewd advice to open up the dialogue between voters of all different affiliations.

Richard Page

Graduate School of

Public Policy Studies

The Economist

Re: "People worldwide have exressed opposition to Bush" (11/9/05).

What, besides free trade and free markets, does the Economist believe in? "It is to the radicals that the Economist still likes to think of itself as belonging. The extreme centre is the paper's historical position." That is as true today as when Crowther said it in 1955. The Economist considers itself the enemy of privilege, pomposity and predictability. It has backed conservatives such as Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. It has supported the Americans in Vietnam. But it has also endorsed Harold Wilson and Bill Clinton, and espoused a variety of liberal causes: opposing capital punishment from its earliest days, while favoring penal reform and de-colonization, as well as-more recently-gun control and gay marriage.

Ben Sternberg

Fourth-year in the Colleege