Archive for March, 2003

Men’s rugby club roughs up the competition

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Vikas Kotagal
courtesy of WU men’s rugby club

It has been said before that players and fans of rugby are more cult-like than those of any other major sport. From the on-the-field trash-talking to beer-drinking and fraternizing that is inevitably linked to the sport’s image, rugby has a subculture all to itself.

Here at Washington University, the “Griffins” have been upholding the proud traditions of their sport for over 30 years.

This year’s Griffin squad features the veteran leadership of Matt Satchwell and Matt Sorem. Their leadership helped WU close out UM-Rolla 32-0 earlier this year. President of the club Max Leinwand explains, “We lost a lot of good guys from last year’s team, but with them went their egos. We had a lot of ego issues last year, which really hampered our side. Without the egos, we obviously play much better as a team. Now, the only real big ego is Matt Satchwell, but most of the guys on the team are used to him by now.”

Leinwand had this to say about the some of the Griffins upcoming matches: “Saturday we play Murray State University in Forest Park at 1 p.m. I don’t feel this way about most of our opponents, but I sincerely hate these guys. Next weekend we have a tournament, Ruggerfest, in which teams from all over the country come and play in St. Louis. On Apr. 13, we play the Sunday Morning Men’s Club, who are a bunch of dirty old men, but they’re a blast to play against. Then we finish up on Apr. 19 with a match at Principia College, who are going to pray that getting medical help was not against their religious beliefs.”

Just like other clubs around the world, the Griffins are steeped in the older rituals of their sport. Senior Freeman Klopott explains one such custom called ‘shooting from the boot.’ “There’s a variety of rugby songs that we all know and pass on to the younger kids. If someone messes up while singing part of the chorus, they have to shoot from the boot. Basically, you fill up someone’s shoe or cleat with beer and drink from it.”

And that’s just off the field. Rookie Ryan Carey says that he is prepared to do a “Zulu” this weekend in the team’s game against McMurray. Zulus are typically preformed after a player scores for the first time and tend to involve circling the goal posts while naked.

The Griffins have a tremendous sense of pride in their team and their sport. Carey continues, “It’s the most fun group I have joined in my four years here at WU because it has the greatest sense of community”

Leinwand reiterated his teammate’s sentiments, “We got a lot of great fellas on our side, and we get to bleed together every weekend. We work so damn hard together that it really gives us a bond. Plus, we get to beat the hell out of other people within a completely legal realm. We’re given 80 minutes every Saturday to take out any aggression we might have in a totally appropriate forum. And there are guys in short shorts. Some of the guys on our team like that…a lot.”

Regional Invitational pits top talent

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Renee Hires
Pam Buzetta

The Washington University softball team expects to face some fierce competition this weekend while hosting the 3rd annual WU Softball Regional Invitational.

“We have the toughest region, so we’re playing many of the best teams in the country,” Meghan Forgy said. “They are all well renowned, well established programs.”

While WU made its NCAA Tournament debut last season, nearly all of the teams arriving this weekend are traditional NCAA playoff contenders. For example, Simpson College recently won two Division III national titles, in 1997 and 1999.

WU may have little to fear in the invitational, though, because the Bears have been playing like they belong with the nation’s best.

The Bears were on fire in their first home games of the season while hosting the Marriott West Invitational last weekend. They defeated Loras College, Upper Iowa University and the No. 11-ranked East Texas Baptist University. In addition, WU posted an 8-0 shutout against Cornell College, who it will face again today.

With the four victories, the team improved to a 15-2 record. The invitational also pushed the Bears’ winning streak to seven games, the longest in the program’s four-year history.

Cornell, with a 3-5 record, may be the easiest opponent the Bears will play. St. Mary’s and Coe boast 12-6 and 8-5 records, respectfully. Meanwhile, Central is undefeated at 10-0 so far this season.

However, on paper Simpson seems to be the team to beat. Simpson is 15-1 and has gone 3-0 against WU in the past. The Bears were upset 1-0 by Simpson in the Regional Invitational last season.

This season, the Bears’ roster looks dramatically different, though. Since the team doubled in numbers due to a deep freshman class, the Bears have shown their skills in all areas of the game.

Liz Swary has taken charge offensively, leading the team in batting average at .547 and slugging percentage at .981. Swary has also had five home runs and 30 RBI for the Bears.

Freshmen Amanda Roberts and Ashley Gaia are also batting above .500, while freshman Monica Hanono leads the team in runs scored at 14.

Again, freshmen and returnees alike have also made for a stronger pitching staff.

Currently, Lorri Fehlker has an ERA of 0.26. Fehlker and Liz Smith have tallied four wins for the team, while Victoria Ramsey has pitched another five. Freshman Ashley Johnson has also started at the mound in four games.

With improved returnees and contributing freshmen, the Bears should be in good position when the Invitational begins.

The players have been looking forward to the competition.

“Our team finally gets to play teams of our caliber,” Forgy said. “It will be interesting to see how we do this year because we have been playing a lot better.”

The Bears, who are undefeated at home, will take on Cornell College at 3 p.m. and Simpson College at 5 p.m. today. Tomorrow, the team will take on Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota at noon on the Hilltop and then head to nearby Shaw Park to challenge Coe College at 5 p.m. The Bears will return to Shaw Park Sunday to compete against Central College at 11 a.m. and will rematch Simpson at 1 p.m.

Fontbonne, Maryville, Blackburn, Illinois Wesleyan, Wartburg, MacMurray and Millikin are also set to compete in the Invitational.

Standing Room Only

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Nick Sreshta

T-minus two days.

That’s when the first anthem will be sung, the first fireworks will go off and the first pitch will be thrown.

MLB opening day is truly a special occasion, even though it is a bit overrated in some places (Kansas City and Detroit will sell-out their first game but won’t see another packed house for months).

With that, I offer a season’s-worth of predictions, observations, and general (useless) facts that I’m sure will have you citing this piece again and again as the summer unfolds.

Playoff teams in 2003:

In the American League, it will be the Yankees, Red Sox (wild card), Twins and Angels. The A’s will barely miss a playoff spot, only because they are forced to play most of their games against the Anaheim Angels, the defending champions, and the Mariners. Meanwhile, Boston will have a plethora of wins against Tampa and Baltimore, as well as a better showing against the Bronx Bombers this year, to get a better record.

In the National League, the playoff teams will be the Cardinals, Astros (wild card), Braves and Giants. The D-backs still have the Unit and Schilling, but their lineup is quite mediocre (Luis Gonzalez will never reproduce his magical 2001 season). Meanwhile, while the Phillies look much-improved with Jim Thome, recent history shows that power hitters who switch leagues don’t have much of an impact in the win column.

Big spenders, big losers:

The Dodgers and the Mets will fall into this category. They both have virtually forgotten about their player development, while signing suspect players to superstar contracts. Another member of this club will be the Yankees, since their spending is only justified by winning a championship… a feat at which they will once again fall short.

I have no idea why they won’t win… but they won’t:

The Cubs. They have one of the best starting rotations, and one of the best power-hitters around in Sammy Sosa. They have solid role-players in Moises Alou and Alex Gonzalez, as well as a managerial whiz in Dusty Baker.

Maybe it’s because their fans will support them regardless of their record, or maybe its some curse that isn’t as publicized as the one in Bean-town. Regardless, Chicago fans would be better off rooting for the White Sox.

New ballparks opening:

There’s just one opening this year, and it’s Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark.

What a name. It surely beats Minute Maid Park and Network Associates Coliseum as one of the best naming-right ballpark monikers in history.

Best name in the Majors:

That would belong to Devil Ray pitcher Nick Bierbrodt (pronounced “BEER-BRAT”). Indeed, his name encompasses the only two things men would ever need as sustenance. I’m getting hungry just by typing it. His first name isn’t too bad either.

Why even bother trying?:

Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Detroit, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Texas, and San Diego. None of these teams will even be close to .500, let alone contend for a division title. Why not just play in your own league so that at least one of you can emerge as some kind of winner? The only star we’d miss is A-rod.

Best reason to follow baseball:

Your team plays almost every day. It makes winning often that much sweeter, and even if you’re losing, you don’t have to wait long for your team to get a chance to bounce back.

Worst part of following baseball:

Your team plays almost every day. You’ll never get a chance to savor a victory, because your team could get squashed the very next day. Individual games seem meaningless in such a long season, and, unless you’re in contention, following your team will seem like a thankless chore.

Bring on the boys of summer, and let’s get ready to play ball.

Pitchers face critical stretch

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Aaron Wolfson
courtesy of

With their ace pitcher on the shelf and a three game losing streak hanging over their heads, the Bears are heading into a crucial set of games this weekend.

After hitting the road to take on Eureka College on Friday, WU will come back home to Kelly Field to play two games each against neighbor Fontbonne University and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville on Saturday and Sunday.

The Bears will have to overcome an ailing pitching staff since staff ace Adam Cowley injured his elbow while pitching Sunday against Illinois Wesleyan.

In what was already a sub-par senior season for Cowley – his record was 0-2 and he had compiled a pedestrian 5.00 ERA before hurting his arm – now, it is questionable whether or not he will even pitch again this year.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s almost April and our top guy has zero games won,” head coach Ric Lessmann said. “We had big expectations for Cowley coming into the season, and it’s uncertain if he’ll pitch again for the rest of the year. Right now it’s up to the trainers; I’m out of the picture. For now, he’s shut down.”

The most favorable estimate for Cowley’s possible return is 10 to 14 days, but even if he meets that optimistic timetable, he will still need to spend a considerable amount of time getting his arm back into playing shape.

“When he’s ready to pitch again, he still has to get reconditioned,” said Lessmann. “Cowley could be recovered in two weeks, but he’ll actually be out longer, because when your arm is inactive for that long, it atrophies right back to where it was before the season even started.”

Not only is Cowley out for an indefinite period of time, but another of WU’s top senior pitchers is having a difficult time as of late.

After giving up no earned runs and pitching complete game victories in his first two appearances, Trevor Young-Hyman has struggled with his mechanics and lost his early dominance. His stellar season ERA of 1.15 is misleading-in his last start, against Illinois Wesleyan, Young-Hyman was torched for five unearnerd runs in the first inning.

Young-Hyman was pulled after the first inning against Illinois Wesleyan and returned the next day in the rematch, this time in relief. He didn’t fare much better as he allowed four hits and three runs in just two-thirds of an inning.

“Trevor has had all kinds of problems,” said Lessmann. “We worked on it today to try to correct it, and I think I found out what the problem was.”

Despite the grim outlook, there remain some bright spots for the pitchers, notably the play of senior Damien Janet and freshman Lou Hutt. With Cowley out, Janet has assumed the role of ace, racking up an impressive 0.98 ERA through his first three starts.

Hutt has been nearly unhittable, as opponents are batting a meager .087 against him. However, he has also been plagued by walks, issuing 12 in 13 1/3 innings so far this season. While he relieved in his first several collegiate appearances, Hutt has now been moved into the starting rotation. His first start came Sunday against Simpson College and he showed promise, lasting 5 1/3 innings and giving up just two hits. However, he also walked four batters and hit three with pitches, which led to four runs and a loss. If Hutt can cut down on the walks, he has the potential to be a huge help for the Bears.

“That’s the way baseball goes; whether or not you play well depends on how well you pitch,” said Lessmann. “Our first two games last weekend were good, but then we fell apart. We did score some runs, and played decent defense, but the pitching wasn’t there.

“If we aren’t pitching well, we’re probably going to lose, and we don’t look good doing it.”

College shouldn’t be this way

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Dan Lilienthal

I am writing this article as I sit in class because the lecturer can’t keep my attention. I am writing this article in class because everyone around me is either asleep, playing with their pens, or doing something for another class. My university has turned me into a zombie, going through the motions of attending lectures like this one, and cramming out thoughtless and soon forgotten assignments. College wasn’t supposed to be this way.

College was supposed to be about memorable professors who taught, entertained, and provoked. As a business school student my freshman and sophomore years, I found only 2 lecturers, Jack Nickerson and Michael Gordinier, who succeeded in all three. They are both gifted public speakers that find topics that make students think, even after they have finished lecturing.

Other professors simply print out and read power point notes, demand memorization of mindless formulas, and give tedious projects that encourage neither learning nor curiosity. I finally left the B-school after taking the first class for my major, Finance 340 with Professor Jonathan Taylor (whose class I later told students to boycott). Lectures were dull, unclear, and left students scrambling for other students to teach them the material. One lecture involved Professor Taylor spending the majority of the class trying to answer his own homework question.

As a result, the majority of students in the B-school dislike and are bored by their classes and professors, and none seem to have any active interest in what is being taught. Although things appear to be better in Arts & Sciences, I have still encountered few professors who are creative and ambitious enough to be both encouraging, and challenging in either lectures or assignments. Most simply lecture, assign, mark, and return.

If any administrator is reading this, take note. I have spoken to students and they agree: this is the real status of your school, not the #12 ranking you pride yourself on (notice how Washington University’s academic rating is consistently lower than its peer schools). One reason for this, as I experienced in the B-school, is the hiring of gifted professionals who are simply untalented professors. I respect the difficulty of teaching; however, just as the Yankees don’t win by signing inexperienced ballplayers, WU can’t help students become great by hiring incompetent teachers. As paying students, we have a right to expect more quality than this, not be treated like guinea pigs.

Students in this university need to learn how to become more knowledgeable and critical thinkers, better communicators, and better writers. Our current school system, which forces students to cram facts we later forget, to pull all-nighters on papers, and which involves little or no contact between students and professors to correct repeated mistakes and challenge students’ ideas, has resulted in less-than-impressive thinkers on this campus. A philosophy professor of mine, James Buickerood (now at UMSL), once commented on a paper that I wrote, “What the f-k is this? Let me guess, you’re in the B-school.” At the time I was. “They should really shut that place down,” he said, and spent the rest of the semester helping to destroy and rebuild my writing and ideas. Many students, however, have not benefited from such guidance.

There does exist one class, Argumentation, and specifically one professor, Joan Brockmann, where monotone lecturing is replaced with creative discussions. She successfully guides students towards becoming more active thinkers and stronger writers, rather than following the B-school method of regurgitating useless textbooks. To become better students, I advise students to take Argumentation, and I advise students to take as few B-school classes as possible. If you want to do business, do a business internship. Not only will you gain invaluable experience that no B-school class will provide, but you will also get a better grasp on whether you even want to do business at all.

Stop educational apathy!

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Justin W. Adams

We hear a lot about student apathy from campus groups that can’t seem to get undergrads excited about events, to the media that note low voter turnout among twenty-somethings. But there is one kind of student apathy that I have only become aware of since crossing that line from “the taught” to “the teacher.” It is also one that appears to be prevalent in both my undergraduate institution (University of Washington; a 50,000+ student public state school) and my graduate institution (the complete opposite).

I’m talking about educational apathy. Colleges, whether public or private, have become filled with students uninterested in their educations; they have descended into a kind of “High School, Part II,” where students are more concerned with socializing than focusing on their chosen majors. I am not condemning socializing, nor do I think that the only role of college is to produce cookie-cutter academics. What I am strongly concerned with is the apparent lack of interest I see from students in classes. From not asking questions during or after class, to not reading assignments, to spurious excuses for skipping classes and talking and passing notes during lectures (or even worse, using their cell-phones), the amount of investment some students have made to their secondary education ends at their (or their parents’) checkbook.

What is even more depressing about this trend is that professors and departments make it so easy to succeed. They curve exams, drop low test-scores, offer extra-credit projects, change dates to fit scheduling conflicts, and publish lecture notes and videotape lectures for later use. They have extensive office hours – and when combined with T.A. office hours, students typically have at least 3-12 hours a week that they can receive additional instruction. Yet with all of this additional effort, there are still students out there who are content with a “C” in introductory level courses.

In much of America today, the attitude is that college is simply the thing you do after high school. The B.A. has become so devalued that students trying to get into graduate schools of any caliber need extensive recommendations, honors theses and fieldwork. Maybe the reason I am so upset about finding this level of educational disinterest at Washington University (a place filled with amazing professors, departments and opportunities) is that student attitudes are no different from state schools where you pay $3,000 a year to attend and are one of the “faceless many.” Was I a little apathetic at the University of Washington? Sure, but I was also paying for my education out of my own pocket. I had a sense that what I put into my degree was what I would get out; and as someone who wanted to go into a field with sparse job prospects, I had to be “on the ball.” What I see frequently at WU is, at best, a disinterest in the educational experience achieved during four years; and at worst, a sense of entitlement to a degree (“I am paying all this money for an education, so just give me the grades I want”).

I am not writing this to condemn college students, nor to chastise people for having fun. What I am trying to do is to challenge students on college campuses: take charge of your education. Getting your college degree should be an event filled with pride, not just because it adds something to your resume, but also because it was hard work.

You are paying for this experience (at least in terms of time), so take advantage of it. If you want more than just lectures, seek out the opportunities – they are there. Question your professors about their research. Question authority in general. Just so long as you are asking questions. Become empowered by your education. Recognize that as a college student, you are being afforded an opportunity that very few get, especially at a campus as prestigious as this one. Remember that college is supposed to be work, there are rewards for intellectually investing in your education, and that contrary to popular belief, after you leave college there will still be plenty of time to have a good time.

There are plenty of students on this campus that prove everything I said above wrong; let’s try to make them the majority.

Teach moral logic, not just the Euclidian kind

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Roman Goldstein

In the past weeks, I have been disappointed by students’ moral reasoning. It seems that, for all of WU’s emphasis on critical thinking, many students here engage in fallacious reasoning when it comes to ethics. As such, I recommend that the university require that all students take a course in ethical reasoning.

Craig Defoe claims that the anti-war activists have poor arguments on their side, but his is not much better. He claims that Iraq is linked to terrorism, and that this in part justifies the American invasion. What he assumes is that terrorism is wrong. The morality of terrorism is actually hotly debated in political philosophy. Indeed, Andrew Valls, by applying the same logical toolkit that Defoe and Bush use to justify war (the “Just War” theory), makes a compelling case that terrorism is as justified as war. The only difference of principle between the two types of political violence, terrorism and war, is state sponsorship. But why should mere statehood justify violence? It is this critical question that Defoe needs to answer.

Defoe also uses means-end analysis to justify the war. He assumes that such an analysis is morally acceptable. Many people, however, explicitly reject the statement “the ends can justify the means” as immoral. Even accepting that the ends can, at times, justify the means, the burden of proof that this is actually the case rests on the person making the claim. It is Defoe’s (and Bush’s) responsibility to show why, in this case, the ends merit the means. It is the failure to adequately do so that has driven many people to oppose the war. Ad hominem attacks, which he employed, did not strengthen his case.

The March 21 Student Life editorial also has logical failings. The headline and first paragraph indicate that we should support the troops, but the text makes weak justification for that claim. The strongest argument that the editorial puts forth for its thesis is that not supporting the troops would be insensitive and ineffectual. The editorial does not address the questions of why not supporting the troops would be ineffectual and insensitive, instead choosing to digress into concerns of graffiti and religious leaders’ response to the war. Furthermore, the editorial makes great use of appeal to sympathy, which is not logically sound.

The editorial mentions the need to unite as a nation around shared principles. The only such principle I can think of is that we don’t want our troops to die. Some people would argue that sacrifice is needed to preserve freedom in this case, but this is not a shared principle. Specifically, many anti-war activists do not share this principle. Thus, the only clear course of action is to recall the troops from the Gulf. Demoralizing the troops might well be a good way of shortening the war and thus saving the soldiers’ lives; Vietnam ended, in part, to the increasing demoralization of US troops. My strategy is more sensitive to the troops’ feelings than hawks’ and Student Life’s views, if only because it gives a greater chance that they will have feelings at all in the future.

In the March 18 issue of Student Life, Jonathan Thomas had a horrible justification for why it is acceptable to break the law: “everyone does it.” Using this logic, we should exonerate all the Nazis that participated in the Holocaust. After all, they were only doing what socially acceptable and practiced. In fact, the “everyone does it” principle is exactly how many Nazis tried to justify their support of genocide to international courts. I’ll grant that I have not shown that this principle is strictly flawed as a moral argument, but, at the very least, its users have to bite a big bullet.

Since WU students are supposedly capable and intelligent, I can only conclude that the flaws in argument, especially as applied to ethics, are due to a lack of training. Moral reasoning is a skill that needs to be taught. Since it is a skill with huge applications, in everyday as well as intellectual life, the university should charge itself with ensuring that students receive adequate training in it. If we are required to learn quantitative reasoning because it is so prevalent in our daily lives, thenwe should be required to study moral reasoning even more so.

Thoughts on the war circus

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Alex Fak

Young people tend to like war. During the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, both the Pew and CBS News/New York Times polls found that Americans aged 18-29 supported military action by a 3-1 margin, more strongly than any other group. The broadly anti-war outlook among Washington University students is not backed by their coevals.

Seems like many anti-war protesters like the war, too. Laughter was in the air as dozens marched across campus last Thursday, chanting, “What do we want?! Peace! When do we want it?! Now!” The same day in New York, crowds danced to the music from the loudspeakers, and some teens vandalized a McDonald’s. For those interested, there will be an anti-war party in the Quad on Sunday, with a DJ and some free food (concluding in a short protest march to Forest Park).

Shawn Redden, the organizer of the party, would not comment on what it would accomplish. But Shawn Kumar, an experienced protester, did give some reasons to march. “You get to meet other people, learn why other people are against the war,” he said; “You build solidarity. You bring attention to something that without you, there would not be attention brought to.”

These are all good reasons – but they won’t stop the war. They won’t “send a message” to President Bush, either; no one believes that WU community represents the American population, which is 2-1 pro-war. As for influencing people’s minds, 1 in 5 adults surveyed told the ABC News/Washington Post pollsters on Sunday that seeing the anti-war demonstrations actually made them more likely to support the war; only 7 percent said they are now more likely to oppose it (but polls like this one tend to be sketchy).

The protesters mainly march for personal reasons. It helps them assuage the guilt they feel. They are “at least doing something” – though of course they aren’t doing anything of substance. For a minority to be effective, they need to credibly threaten adverse consequences – economic or otherwise – against the powers that be. Noise annoyance and blocked traffic won’t do. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, which drove the bus company out of business, is a classic example of a successful action that required some real sacrifice (walking to work). Kumar points out that in San Francisco, the protesters did shut down the financial district for a day. But most anti-war “activists” are too afraid of getting arrested or expelled to do anything that would really raise the price of war for the society and stay the hand of the military.

There is something, then, to be said for Sgt. Asan Akbar, a serviceman with the 101st Airborne Division in Kuwait. Akbar, a convert to Islam, attacked the command tents of the division, killing two soldiers and wounding 14. Whatever you think of lobbing grenades at sleeping people, his selflessness is admirable. Akbar opposes the war with Iraq, and he sacrificed his future – and perhaps even his life, if he gets the death penalty – to try and affect the outcome. In this, he stands apart from the anti-war crowd.


What’s striking about the pro-war camp, meanwhile, is a conspicuous failure of empathy. Death is an abstract term for many hawks. The day the bombing started, Gar Allen’s Darwinian Revolution class held a brief discussion of the conflict. An opponent of the war passed out a grisly picture of a dead soldier, probably Iraqi, taken during the last Gulf war. The man’s charcoaled face had a macabre grin; it looked as if he died screaming.

The pro-war students hardly looked at the picture. The most vocal supporter of the conflict in class went out of his way to avert his eyes. He was behaving not unlike American TV cameras, which gorge on the spectacular fireballs over Baghdad but fail to zoom in on the mutilated human carnage that the bombs leave.

When discussion turns to human lives, supporters of the war have some great arguments on their side. If the conflict is short, it could plausibly cost fewer Iraqi casualties than if Hussein were allowed to stay in power. Saddam’s regime has killed more than 100,000 of its own citizens, and the war with Iran alone claimed 1 million. U.S. attacks are likely to end up saving more lives than they take. As for gory pictures, they could be misguiding. Where were the photographers when whole Kurdish families were poisoned on Hussein’s orders? Emotions obscure facts and lead to some bad decisions.

This line of argument is strong. Saddam’s killings, however, don’t in themselves justify ours. The Iraqis who might die deserve contemplation beyond the utilitarian death math. Mutilated corpses are a legitimate part of the anti-war argument, if we are the ones doing the mutilating. Don’t dismiss them too hastily.


The U.S. military has not been winning the “hearts and minds” of Arabs (or anyone else). Its double standards are partly to blame. The same spokesmen who now decry the Arab channel al-Jazeera’s broadcast of the American captives as a violation of the Geneva Convention, have defended denying a POW status to the captured Afghani fighters.

Or take WMDs. In his speech to the nation two weeks ago, President Bush warned Iraqi troops not to obey instructions to use chemical or biological weapons. Those are scary, yes; but a rampant missile landing in a Baghdad market could prove more fatal than a gas that’s dissipated by wind seconds after release. No gas has killed anyone in this conflict yet.

In case a chemical attack was launched, Bush continued with uncharacteristically existentialist reproach, “it will be no defense to say: I was just following orders.”

A few days later, in that broadcast of the captured American soldiers, an Iraqi journalist asked one serviceman: “Why do you come from Texas to Iraq?”

His answer: “We follow orders.”

In Iraq, we will earn freedom through war

Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Amanda Juarez

There is a large sign in the quad. On one side, it reads: “The cost of war: Military – Civilian – Total -” It leaves blank spaces so the reader can ponder over what the number will be. On the other side, it proclaims: “The cost of freedom… priceless.”

As Americans, we have freedom (in fact, we won it in a war). I can’t help but wonder if the people who wrote that sign ever realized that freedom really is priceless, or were just trying to create a spin-off from the ever-popular MasterCard commercials? I saw the freedom side of it first and was confused. Why is there a big sign supporting the war in Iraq in the middle of the Quad? Because when it comes down to it, the war in Iraq isn’t about pride or oil or global U.S. supremacy; it’s about freedom: our freedom as Americans and the freedom the Iraqi people deserve. Freedom and war are not opposite sides of a coin. They go hand in hand.

Walking away from the Quad, there’s a banner. It’s supposed to be for the Assembly Series, but someone has spray painted “Stop the war” on the back. How about you stop the graffiti? And stop destroying the recreational items in Eliot.

First off, I need to say that I am not in favor of going to war for war’s sake. But I cannot stand behind the principle I see many protestors upholding: peace at any cost. Peace should not be cast aside for arbitrary conflicts and personal gains; but if you have done any research and know the chain of events leading up to this action, it’s obvious that the only way this conflict could end peacefully (as far as our actions go, anyway) would be if the United States ignored Iraq and refused to associate it with the terrorists it supports.

After the terrorist attack on September 11th, President Bush announced a war on those who attacked us – a war on terrorism. But the conflict with Iraq started a long time before that. After the Persian Gulf War, in which Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait, the U.N. imposed no-fly zones and instituted weapons inspections to ensure that Iraq did not continue creating, obtaining, and using weapons of mass destruction.

This seemed to be working well until 1998, when Iraq stopped working with weapons inspectors (not to mention Iraq’s 1993 attempt to assassinate former President Bush and numerous cases of anti-aircraft fire from the end of the Persian Gulf War to the present). The U.N. created a new weapons inspection group to send to Iraq; the UNMOVIC, as it was called, was not allowed in. The U.S. continued its involvement in Iraq, enforcing the no-fly zone.

Then came 9-11, and with it the situation in Iraq came into public focus once again. Since then, Iraq has allowed inspectors back, but has not proven in any way that disarmament has occurred. In fact, many “destroyed” weapons from years ago have resurfaced, including the well publicized case of several 122mm chemical rocket warheads.

Iraq has had plenty of opportunities to accept peace. But Hussein has not disarmed and has not embraced negotiations. “We love peace and we are working towards this peace,” he stated in a speech Thursday morning as he urged his country to fight against the Americans. Why should the U.S. get involved with a war in Iraq, anyway? Because we must defend our freedom – our lives – from those who wish to take them away, be it terrorists or a government that aids terrorists.

But the sign in the Quad does have one thing right. War does come at a cost. I’m proud to say that my father is serving with the U.S. Army in the Middle East right now and I support the actions that he and the military are taking to preserve my safety and way of life in the face of blatant terrorism and hatred.


Friday, March 28th, 2003 | Michael Parks

Educating the uneducated

I do not claim to be an exceptional writer, logician, or political scientist. However, I can recognize unintelligent and thoughtless arguments. In his letter, “It’s time to grow up,” Michael Rowley demonstrated why people need to argue with their minds as well as their hearts. Firstly, by telling anti-war students to “grow up,” he successfully alienated those in his audience he was seeking to align. Next, he uses a circular argument in saying we should not protest war because we must, “put the needs of our country in front of our own needs.” The only thing resembling an argument that he gives is that anti-war rallies diminish troop morale, a fact that is unsubstantiated with any evidence. Later, he defeats his own argument that, “we all need to support [our troops] without reservation,” by saying, “our [troops] are fighting for us to defend our right to speak out.” While insulting his opponents a second time to “grow up,” he commits a fallacy that anti-war students are necessarily both unpatriotic and withholding support for our troops. Firstly, by opposing the war, students are being patriotic by demonstrating their rights as Americans. In addition, anti-war students are supporting our troops by fighting for them to be brought home safely. For Michael Rowley and students like him, people can, should, and will continue to voice their opinions against the war. It may upset you, but the debate will help educate you.

Dan Lilienthal
Political Science
Class of 2003

The Debate Team’s rebuttal against the
editorial board’s ‘baseless’ attack

As a recent graduate of Washington University and a former member of the Washington University debate team, I was surprised and upset to read the unnecessary and baseless attack against the team and its campaign to secure block funding. The editorial staff at Student Life has severely underestimated both the importance of an established debate team to the student participants and the benefits that a well-funded debate team brings to its school.
Having spent the past few months at the law school and interviewing for summer jobs, it has become apparent to me how few college graduates are comfortable and articulate public speakers. The editors at Student Life paint the debate team as little more than one of the school’s club sports and undeserving of block funding. They ignore the fact that participation in debate develops a confidence in public speaking that employers find impressive. In seeking to develop marketable alumni, the school should be doing more to fund and promote participation in debate.
Furthermore, the debate team has participated in numerous events in recent years that help to promote the prestige of Washington University. Members of the team have participated in televised public debates, hosted and debated the British national debate champions, and provided commentary during the 2000 presidential debates which were held on campus. The editors chose to attack the success of the team at national competitions. Even a casual glance at the various online result postings reveal the tremendous success of Washington University debate, both at a team and individual level.
Lastly, the editorial staff frames the issue as a competition between the debate team and E.S.T. However, this is confusing to the readers of Student Life. A vote in favor of block funding for the debate team does not, in any way, detract from E.S.T.’s chances of securing funding. It is important to realize that the students are able to support both organizations without detriment to any student program. The editorial is, in that regard, intellectually dishonest and misleading.
As an alumnus of Washington University, it is disappointing to see Student Life declare the debate team to be undeserving without stating any specific grievances. I am certain that any member of the program would be more than able and willing to respond to any of the unwarranted attacks by the editors. I also think it unfortunate that Student Life decided to publish this article the day before the election, failing to give the team a chance to respond. Those students who are members of the team commit and sacrifice more than most students, and it would be unfortunate if an uninformed and poorly timed editorial became a setback to their future accomplishments.

Mike Cerulo
Class of 2002
Member of debate team: 1998-2002

Tim Jordan’s letter ‘racist and offensive’

Tim Jordan’s comment in “Article on Iraq was unbalanced, biased” was racist and offensive. I do understand now why I am standing on the opposite side from some people.

Anika Ayrapetyants
School of Social Work

Please explain your anti-war views

I just do not understand the huge outpouring of people against this war…especially now that it has started. Is this war supported by countries/ people that hate us? Do these people understand the cost of their parades? the way our soldiers feel when hearing of these gatherings? Do they not understand the length our government is taking to not hurt civilians? Please explain.

Sandi Shapiro

Why I won’t go to jail over the war

In a recent article, Father Gary Braun pondered why so many in the anti-war movement are not going the extra step in engaging in civil disobedience and going to jail. While I cannot speak for everyone involved in protesting the war in Iraq, and in fact I know of at least one individual who has been jailed simply for protesting, I think that the situation for engaging in civil disobedience has changed. Whereas during the Vietnam war, being arrested while at a sit-in would land you in jail for a brief time, the results of arrest in today’s environment is radically different. With the Patriot Act and John Ashcroft, being arrested protesting the government (a fundamental part of these freedoms we are fighting to defend) can result in future surveillance as a ‘terrorist.’ While it sounds incredibly selfish to say so, as much as I am against our current war, I have to take my future as an academic into account. Will an arrest prevent me from flying to South Africa to do my doctoral research? It might if I am color-coded a threat based on the new system proposed for American airline-carriers (and currently implemented by Delta). Could it keep me from receiving government grants, a primary source of funding? I should not have to choose between making a stand, and having a future in my chosen field, but I find this to now be the case. There are many of us who are willing to exhibit our displeasure through symbolic acts of disobedience, but with current legislation that has limited our freedom of personal expression, I think many law-abiding citizens are just unsure what the future costs of more direct protest might be. It is sad and shameful that a country that touts its freedoms as a justification for war feels it is okay to limit the freedom of expression of its own citizens for ‘security’ against vaguely defined threats.

Justin W. Adams
Graduate Student
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