The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

78° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Mail Bag

    Peace requires social equality, not more troops

    Matt Stone, I really think the next feet to fill those boots in Iraq should be yours.

    Double time it over to the local recruiters’ office on East Speedway Boulevard. People like you figure that some other person, preferably uneducated and destitute, should do all the dying for America. Speaking of history, you need to study up yourself, as no nation has been able to rule the world or even successfully occupy another nation for longer periods of time. Do you think this is a justifiable conflict because the terrorists are willing to kill noncombatants? Better go review your history again; the U.S. has shown itself to also kill noncombatants.

    If you want peaceful societies, then establish societies with true social equality. No, I certainly do not agree with terrorist acts, nor any violent acts of any type. Violence is a symptom of the disease called lack of communication skills. You purport to be an economics major, but wars cost money (and lives); only peaceful commerce flips a profit. I wonder how much all the wasted war funding could have purchased in American health care, education, transportation, etc. Good thing that it will be mostly your generation that has to pay off the enormous financial deficit now looming over America. Why don’t you run for the president’s office now, while you are still young in age and know everything? Stone, give up writing columns and start drawing cartoons for the comic pages of the newspaper.

    Denis Levitt
    graduate student and veteran

    What are ordinary citizens qualified to elect?

    The Arizona Daily Wildcat opinions board pegged Arizona voters as unqualified to elect a mine inspector. (Thursday’s “”Why are we voting on this?””) That may be so, but if so, it’s no stretch to say we’re also not qualified to elect county supervisors, legislators and Congressmen. After all, the average college graduate, let alone the average citizen, is a near economic illiterate and consequently will make, from a certain perspective, the wrong choice every time, an error that is likely to be compounded by not having thought deeply about the questions surrounding the relationship between the individual, society and the State. Do I thus oppose representative government? So long as there are strong constitutional protections for the rights of the individual, no! Better the mediocrity of the vote than the corruption of patronage, for county supervisors and mine inspectors alike. Policymakers must be accountable to the people.

    Bennett Kalafut
    physics graduate student

    More troops in Iraq the best solution

    I concur with Matt Stone’s assessment on our troop levels in Iraq. The withdrawal bandwagon is already overcrowded enough. I would like to see political candidates offer up realistic strategies for winning the war in Iraq, and not just cling to catchphrases. The Iraqi people will not stand up for themselves until they have real security. As it stands now, that security is provided by local militias, with whom the Iraqis have ethnic and religious ties. Such ties have existed in Iraq since the dawn of its creation by colonial powers. If we wish to breach this impasse, we must dedicate the number of soldiers necessary to ensure a peaceful transition period in Iraq. Failure to contribute the necessary troops to peacekeeping duty will ensure the failure of a viable Iraqi democracy.

    We have only two options: 1. Withdraw and leave the Iraqis to their own fate, or 2. Increase the amount of troops in Iraq significantly and give the Iraqis a legitimate chance to form a lasting democratic government. With so many current and former generals recommending an increase of troops on the ground, it is difficult to understand why a change in policy has yet to be implemented by the Pentagon. The countless thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis deserve better.

    Jonathan Latson
    Near Eastern studies senior

    More soldiers in Iraq no solution

    Matt Stone’s opinion article, “”Only one way forward on Iraq: more troops”” contained a number of unexamined and very likely false premises that fatally undercut his thesis.

    The first premise he blithely asserts is that in the absence of American troops, Iraq will descend into chaos and civil war. This is far from a given. Indeed, many feel that the continued presence of American troops sustains the Sunni insurgency and allows the Shiite majority to avoid a political settlement with the Sunni minority. Removing American troops will enhance stability far more than increasing the size of our occupation force ever could.

    Stone’s second fallacy is facilely applying the history of Japanese reconstruction to our military occupation of Iraq. Stone points to our successful military occupation of Japan as proof that a larger and longer commitment will also work in Iraq. But the Japanese nation was a centuries-old institution with a unified ethnic identity and political legitimacy centralized in the emperor, who decreed cooperation with the occupation; these advantages were strong supports to our success in Japan. Not a single American soldier died in combat in Japan during that occupation. Iraq has none of the conditions that contributed to successful nation building in Japan, and as a result, 2,500 American soldiers have died.

    A much closer historical analogy to Iraq is Vietnam, where our continually escalating commitment of forces by those who saw victory always just over the horizon cost us the lives of over 50,000 Americans. The lesson Vietnam taught military strategists is that a guerilla resistance with sufficient popular support to replenish attrition is effectively undefeatable by a foreign occupier. As in Vietnam, so in Iraq; the only possible resolution is a political settlement or a civil war. Our military force in Iraq, even if greatly increased, cannot force the former, nor prevent the latter.

    Stone’s third premise is founded in the overweening paternalism and inapposite nature of the “”Pottery Barn rule.”” America does not have a special place in Iraqi internal affairs because we invaded and toppled the Ba’athist regime. The “”you broke it, you bought it”” maxim asserts an ownership interest in Iraq that is false and gravely insulting to Iraqis. Iraq belongs to the Iraqis. We have no duty to sacrifice the lives of our sons and daughters to shape Iraq’s political destiny. Nor is it clear what men with guns and bombs can do to fix a broken pot. If Iraq is a broken pot, what it needs is potters, not warriors. More practical and peaceful aid, not more soldiers, is the proper remedy for a fractured Iraq.

    Our political discourse on Iraq is all too frequently dominated by those who, like Stone, display little appreciation for geopolitical reality, the lessons of history or the limits of military force as a political tool, and instead rely on jingoism and wishful thinking in lieu of reason. It is all too easy for those who seek to avoid responsibility for a monstrous and criminal failure of policy to throw yet more lives of our valiant servicemen and women at the problem and hope for the best. But those who died for lies and hubris yesterday are not honored by sacrificing more lives needlessly today. We can only mourn our fallen and renew our vow to those who gave their last full measure of devotion; “”Never again.””

    Michael D. Bryan
    James E. Rogers College of Law alumnus

    Public sex a problem, not a joke

    I am in a state of shock over what transpired at the Main Library over the weekend. On Saturday I was at the library and witnessed not one, but two couples engaged in sexual activity. I understand a college institution treats sex as a joke and doesn’t care to educate its members properly, but this is just too much. I should be able to pursue my academic endeavors without being subjugated to these acts that while quite lovely in private are not suitable for public arenas. I told several of my friends about what I had seen, and it surprised me that nearly all of them have seen similar acts on display at the library. If the library becomes a joke to be used for improper purposes, we must beware that the same could happen to our beloved UA and the values it stands for. The UA and the library staff must act now to stamp out this heinous behavior.

    Nik Turner
    creative writing senior

    SUBHED: Football salary unreasonable

    Does the $800,000-per-year salary for your football coach warrant the dismal record of the football team after three years at the helm? I thought the choosers of this coach had extensive knowledge of obvious talent. I think a good high school coach may have done better. A long series of excuses does reflect on the coaches’ capability. The result is failure, so let’s reward failure with another bonus.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search