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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Monday-Morning Quarterbacking

    The Wildcat comments on the weekend’s news

    Pakistan’s president-for-life

    Ever since he pledged support in the fight against al-Qaida immediately after the 9/11 attacks, the United States has been a cautious friend to Pakistan’s unelected head of state, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Balancing the utility of an ally in the Middle East against the duplicity of supporting an unelected dictator who rose to power in a military coup has been a delicate diplomatic task for foreign policymakers. This weekend, however, Musharraf transformed himself from a nominal asset into a definite liability. Saturday, the general, facing constitutional pressure to abandon one of his two shared roles as president and Army chief, made a brazen move to end his quandary and hold onto power. In a 45-minute speech broadcast on state television, Musharraf declared a “”state of emergency”” in Pakistan, suspending the nation’s constitution, firing the Supreme Court’s chief justice and deploying troops to shut down state-run TV and radio stations. Yesterday, more troops were dispatched to round up and arrest activists and opposition leaders. The declaration flies in the face of U.S. attempts to arrange a peaceful transition of power in Pakistan, by seeking political compromise between Musharraf and Bennazir Bhutto, the formerly exiled leader of the opposition, which would have restored some semblance of legitimacy to Pakistan’s democratic process. Now, all bets are off. “”Obstacles are being created in the way of democratic processes,”” Musharraf said in his surprise speech, arguing that his control is necessary to preserve Pakistan’s dubious democracy. Unfortunately, the biggest obstacle left is Musharraf himself.

    Time for Gitmo to go?

    Over the five years that the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba has held prisoners detained in the U.S. War on Terror, it has become a powerful symbol of the scope of this administration’s extralegal executive power. Now, however, it looks like the prison may vanish as quietly as the “”enemy combatants”” who are rendered into its custody. The New York Times reported this weekend that Bush administration officials are considering several possible plans to shut down the detainment center and transfer its prisoners to facilities on U.S. soil. Defense secretary Robert Gates has directed staffers to write a proposal on shutting down Gitmo, and attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey has admitted that the policies in place at Guantanamo have “”given us a black eye.””ÿIt looks like the tide is turning against the arrogance embodied by the Guantanamo camps. Guantanamo should go – not only because it’s damaged the international credibility of the United States, but also because its extralegal authority is unnecessary. Moving detainees to courts on U.S. soil is an acceptable, legal alternative that should have been employed from the start.

    Pranks and paranoia

    There was a time when wrapping all your roommate’s possessions in tin foil would lead to laughs, rather than the ire and investigation of authorities. Those days are over. Last week, the Christian Science Monitor reported on the changing role of college pranks in a world rife with concerns about security and terrorism. The chancellor of MIT, known for its campus culture of geeky practical jokes, wrote an open letter to the student body this year, explaining that when it comes to pranks, “”what was tolerated in the past, and may even have been celebrated, is now viewed differently.”” At Caltech, students are required to seek administrative approval before pulling pranks, and Harvey Mudd has created a campuswide “”do not prank list.”” The death of the college prank is a troubling trend in a world that needs to lighten up a little bit.

    OPINIONS BOARD: Editorials are determined by the Wildcat Opinions Board and written by one of its members. They are Justyn Dillingham, Allison Hornick, Sarah Keeler, Connor Mendenhall and Jeremiah Simmons.

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