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See what newspapers around the country think about this week’s news

Student activism going online

If activism is quantifiable, there is no doubt that it has declined since our parents’ generation. University-wide protests, in which throngs of students would descend from Upstate New York onto the National Mall, have halted to a standstill – not just at Cornell but across most American institutions of higher education.

But six years after the events of 9/11, does the fact that most students don’t organize demonstrations and sit-ins mean that apathy among young Americans has peaked? Is it fair for the media to portray us as so lazy, self-interested and apathetic that we’d rather Facebook-stalk that girl in our 10:10 Comm. lecture and watch Miss South Carolina set Americans back to the Stone Age on YouTube than work to effect change in our world?

Youth activism is far from dead. Instead, it has transformed from sensationalized 1960’s tear-gas rallies to online petitions and Internet discussion boards. Although this new wave of activism may be construed as passive, it is often highly effective in mobilizing individuals across geographic and cultural lines.

-Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell University

Administration must make Iraq cells

President Bush’s post-9/11 vow was to prevent another attack on the U.S. homeland. Both he and Congress have done much to prevent such a recurrence. Unfortunately, the U.S. was forced into this war on al Qaeda at a time of extreme political polarization, reflected in the cliffhanger 2000 presidential election between Mr. Bush and Al Gore. The 2004 and 2006 elections didn’t resolve that divide very much, and the campaigns for the 2008 election reveal the possibility of even more divisions over the direction of the war on al Qaeda. With such a split among civilian leaders, it’s no wonder the nation simply defaults to its military, such as General Petraeus, for Olympus-like advice.

But the Founding Fathers didn’t want wars run by generals. And as much as Petraeus is an expert on counterinsurgency warfare, the responsibility for Iraq or the larger war on Islamic terror still falls to elected leaders. They must pull together all factors, from diplomatic strategy to ambiguous estimates from spy agencies, to make decisions on behalf of all Americans.

-The Christian Science Monitor

Mexican truck ban pointless

One way the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement was supposed to encourage free and efficient trade was by allowing long-haul trucks from Canada, Mexico and the United States to deliver goods throughout the three countries. Unfortunately, more than a decade later the Teamsters union, the Sierra Club and their allies in Congress are still working to keep Mexican trucks out.

The Teamsters and their environmental allies claim that the trucks aren’t safe and are dirty. A new pilot program, however, would require that any Mexican trucks approved for entry into the United States be inspected for safety every three months. Environmental regulations that apply to American trucks would also apply to Mexican trucks.

That’s not enough to satisfy the Teamsters, which, we suspect, are just trying to stave off the competition. And it’s not been enough for the Sierra Club, which doesn’t trust the Bush administration – or the Clinton administration before that – to enforce environmental standards.

That stubbornness is counterproductive. Keeping Mexican trucks out only keeps transport costs higher, harming American businesses and consumers. It sends Mexico the message that the United States doesn’t stand by its commitments, and it reinforces suspicions that when it comes to free trade, the United States only likes it one way.

-The New York Times

OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat opinions board and written by one of its members. They are Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler, Connor Mendenhall, Justyn Dillingham, Jerry Simmons and Allison Dumka.