Letters to the Editor

Editor:

“”War Makes It Worse.”” That’s what one of the signs said behind the podium at the Pro-America rally on Oct. 23, which the Guardian reported on in a couple of articles. In fact, the most recent article concerning “”Fighting for War and Peace”” (Oct. 29) made a nice point of that.

However, I have yet to see anyone propose a reasonable alternative to war as a means for achieving peace. You portrayed the speakers at the rally as fighting for war, and furthermore, that the reasoning behind our beliefs was a sort of blind devotion to the president and the Republican Party. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Do you think anyone wants to see a war? Do you think that we got into World War II because we wanted to lose thousands of American lives? This situation is more analogous to that great war than it is to Vietnam, yet it seems that a minority of college students (yes, a minority) are seeking to appear intelligent and “”forward-thinking”” by opposing war, as many of our parents did during Vietnam.

But this is not Vietnam. We are not attempting to depose a democratically elected government. We are attempting to help Afghans depose their despots, the Taliban.

The reason we have finally awoken to the plight of Afghanistan is, sadly, not because we have finally begun to sympathize with the Afghanis and the horrible situation that they face under the Taliban. No, we are unfortunately not so altruistic. Instead, we act now because we realize that as long as there are regimes like the Taliban around, there will be a breeding ground for terrorists. We have risen from our purely economically driven slumber out of necessity, for the sake of our freedom.

Maybe a lot of people do not realize the gravity of our situation because we are isolated on the West Coast. Perhaps if the terrorists had flown a plane into Telegraph Avenue, Berkeley would be singing a different tune.

In any event, it seems that there is a lack of understanding of reality on the part of these peace protesters.

Following the rally, Roger Hedgecock broadcast his radio talk show live from the Price Center. The first peace protester to come on suggested an interesting “”alternative”” to war: Demilitarize the Middle East. That sounds like a great idea, but we are actually more likely to see Osama in Playboy than to see a peaceful demilitarization of the world’s most volatile region.

Others have suggested simply changing U.S. foreign policy, and this view seems to have the most support. In particular, protesters suggest we should stop supporting Israel and stop sanctions on Iraq.

Well, other than the fact that Israel is the one democracy in the Middle East and that Saddam Hussein is selling millions of barrels of oil per year — but the profits go to his military, as usual — and that he is trying to build weapons of mass destruction, there is the fact that such actions would not help end terrorism.

Removing the Western presence in Islamic nations is not a solution. After all, cutting off ties between the wealthy and the poor is no way to improve the lot of the poor, and that is the situation we are dealing with. It is sad that so many Americans, including most peace protesters, make it abundantly clear that they are not willing to sacrifice anything for the betterment of the lives of people outside this country.

Until the people of the Middle East have enough education and economic stability not to see turning to Bin Laden’s gross distortion of Islam as the only way to find meaning in life, we will have the threat of terrorism against the United States and all that it represents: education, women’s rights, religious freedom, a free press and democracy.

To all you protesters against this battle for freedom: Remember all those Americans that fought during Vietnam to stop an unjust war, the ones that you so desperately want to be like? Well, in their old age they still believe Vietnam was unjust, but the overwhelming majority of them support this war.

Why? Because they actually had to be original back then to think of protesting an American war, which means they were the intelligent ones of the time.

All I ask is that before you blindly follow what in the wake of Vietnam seems like the correct path, use the resources available to you here in the United States and educate yourself.

War is not pretty, but in my own educated opinion, we have no other option to ensure our safety, our freedom and our America.

— Brian Brook

UCSD student

Editor:

I wish to speak to the recent assertions and accusations made by The Koala Editor in Chief George Liddle in a recent letter to the Guardian and on several other occasions.

Liddle’s criticism of Alpha Epsilon Pi circulates around the concerns brought by AEPi, the Union of Jewish Students and the Student Affirmative Action Committee regarding the latest publication of The Koala, in which several racist and anti-Semitic jokes were printed.

Contrary to the thoughts of The Koala, Alpha Epsilon Pi is not a racist or hateful organization. Furthermore, I resent Liddle’s efforts to steer the focus away from The Koala by blaming those who would stand up against his hatred.

The Koala would have people believe that AEPi is a racist organization because it has only taken offense to printings offensive to Jews. The Koala has argued that AEPi is inherently racist because it attempts to reinforce the definitions between Jewish people and the rest of campus.

While I take to heart Liddle’s suggestion that we should be more mindful of hate toward all communities, the question of whether AEPi is racist has little to do with our past political stances. Would Liddle condemn all organizations that become increasingly sensitive to words that were specifically hateful toward their own? Simply because AEPi should have stood up to hateful speech in the past doesn’t make the speech in the latest issue of The Koala any less abominable.

Further, I am surprised that The Koala would name a Jewish fraternity as an inherently racist organization simply because it attempts to take pride in a common heritage and culture. While Liddle would like to preach about a large campus community disrupted by the divisions of selective groups such as AEPi, perhaps the reminder that anti-Semitism is still very much a reality reinforces these “”communal boundaries.”” It is the hate found in The Koala that pushes people even further toward their respective communities.

I would also like to add that in the last year, AEPi donated over 100 hours of community service and over $3,000 toward philanthropic causes aimed at helping people throughout the world, regardless of heritage. What has the Koala done in the way of helping this “”larger community”” that Liddle is so fond of referring to?

The Koala is right in pointing to the issue as one of free speech. The question is not whether it has the right to print hateful content, because that is undoubtedly not in dispute. The real question is one of free speech for the students of UCSD, because it is we as students who are forced to put our support behind these printings in the form of our money.

As a student whose money is allocated by the A.S. Council, I am outraged that my money has funded such despicable content. Because The Koala is paid for by students, it is, in effect, an expression of our speech. Should the students of UCSD be compelled to find representation in a publication that plays upon racial injuries by the use of such words as “”Kike””? There is a distinct difference between funding a newspaper, the content of which students might not agree with and funding speech that serves no greater purpose than to injure its targets.

It is unfortunate that Liddle uses the fact that he is Jewish to excuse the content of his paper. It is disappointing that someone who apparently identifies himself as a Jew commands such little knowledge of his heritage that he would not find the word “”Kike”” offensive.

The idea that the creator of an anti-Semitic joke is a member of that targeted group is irrelevant. The responsibility of editors is not to compel others to wonder who wrote the content and what it means to them, but to anticipate what its impact will be on readers. It is sad that Liddle has yet to learn this lesson, and that he uses the fact that he is Jewish to excuse his actions.

I would also like to add that AEPi has never pretended to oppose the very existence or support of The Koala. I hope it is clear that while we have taken offense to some of its printings, we have made no efforts to remove funding for The Koala.

As the president of AEPi, I am proud that issues have been raised surrounding the latest publication of The Koala. If nothing else, UCSD has had a chance to take a second look at its own representation and the issues surrounding the publications that students fund.

I am almost thankful to Liddle for being so inflexible with our original concerns because he has made this a much bigger issue than I ever intended. Regardless of his efforts to personally attack my chapter, it remains important to focus on the issues, not the people discussing them.

— Lance Miller

President, Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity

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