Letters to the Editor

Be ashamed

I am not involved in George Washington University SA issues. However after reading “SA members spent at least $7,000 at upscale restaurants” (Nov. 22, p. 1), I feel I must contribute my opinion.

The GW SA should be ashamed of itself. They can justify this expenditure however they chose, but in reality it is inappropriate and unethical. Here at the University of Maryland, we oversee a $1.3 million budget. We are also extremely active in both state and city politics. We in the SGA at Maryland never financially benefit from our positions and often use our own personal money to further student needs and campaigns.

Although GW is not my school, I feel it is important to state that other student governments in the region work hard without this ridiculous and frivolous waste in student money. GW students I hope you realize what these self-important “politicians” are doing to you.

-Aaron Kraus, student body president, University of Maryland, College Park

Good facilities

The Mount Vernon Campus provides the University with excellent added teaching space, and the secret is out. There will be more than 200 classes at Mount Vernon in the spring term and more than 100 faculty members will be teaching there.

There are many classrooms still available at the Mount Vernon Campus at all times-lots throughout the week. Classrooms range in size from ones that seat 20 to one seating 70 to 75. All classrooms are Internet accessible along with needed technology as well as audio/visual support platforms.

Professor Robin’s comments about the added travel time that Mount Vernon Campus teaching represents is not accurate (“Registration woes irk professors,” Nov. 22, p. 1). Professor Robin is not teaching at the Mount Vernon Campus this semester so he may not be aware of the improvements to the shuttle and transportation service. The buses are in a ‘load and go’ mode, and the trip takes about 10 minutes. A walk from Gelman Library to the shuttle stop is under 5 minutes. The one-way transit time between campuses as 8-10 minutes outside rush hour, not much longer than it takes to walk to the various classrooms on the Foggy Bottom campus.

-Shelly Heller, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Mount Vernon Campus

He’s right

To Mr. Livacari, I would concede that real character does indeed matter, though not, as he contends (“Yes, character matters,” Nov. 22, p. 4), to the American public; at least, not that they know.

Did President Clinton use “his presidential stature to seduce a young, female intern?” Sure did. Do I think events would have played out more in his favor if he had admitted it? Sure do. Was he probably involved in a number of other shady deals? I can only imagine. What was the result? Monica Lewinsky got her 15 minutes.

Did President Bush use questionable evidence to wage war against another country? Uh-huh. Did this endeavor make a lot of his cronies richer? You bet. Was he probably involved in a number of other shady deals? Once again, I can only imagine. What is the final result? Well, it’s still pending, but you’re going to have a hard time selling “the ends justify the means” as the sort of “family values” morality your article espouses.

What’s the real answer then? I’m not sure, but if it has anything to do with the real character of the president, then it must also have something to do with keeping the public in the dark.

-Carl A. Pearson, graduate student

Acknowledging reality

I read columns like Gary Livacari’s “Yes, character matters” (Nov. 22, p. 4) and wonder how long it will take Republicans to realize what they have done to the country this year; how long it will take them to sit down, let reality set it, and have the blood drain from their faces as it has, already, from those of billions around the world.

“Yes, Character Matters;” we are in agreement. Another thing that matters is the truth. Mr. Livacari, your president, your party and you continually act to blind American citizens to truth. According to the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland, two out of three Bush supporters believe that the administration has “clear evidence” that Saddam Hussein was working “closely” with al-Qaeda. One out of three Bush supporters believe that the world community overwhelming supports our war against Iraq. One in three Bush supporters actually believe weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq.

In a following PIPA study, researchers found that 51 percent of all Americans say going to war was a mistake. However, if they are told to assume that the above statements are in fact false (as we know them to be), that number jumps to 74 percent. The survey concluded, “It is clear that supporters of the president are more likely to have misperceptions than those who oppose him.”

If you wish to celebrate, Mr. Livacari, then celebrate the true victory of your party; it was able to use fear and lies to whip the uninformed into a frenzy and then manipulate them into serving its purpose. Some might call that terrorism.

-Benjamin B. Williams, senior

Don’t forget

Mr. Farooque, in his column entitled “More than one man” (Nov. 19, p. 5) did an excellent job in omitting Yassir Arafat’s true legacy: terrorism. Before we return the possibilities of future peace in the Middle East, we need to look at what this man really accomplished. He was the father of modern terrorism.

Yassir Arafat planned the massacre of 11 Israeli Athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. Arafat invented the idea of hijacking civilian planes. He is solely responsible for the death of thousands of innocent civilians. People eating at their local pizza store, shoppers at the local market or children the bus to school were all the innocent victims of this “scapegoat.” Mr. Farrooque says that he’s heard “ad nauseum about his (Arafat) possible ties to terrorist groups.” Mr. Arafat didn’t need to have rumored “ties to terrorist groups” in order to accomplish his goals – he was a terrorist himself. We can’t forget this.

It is quite false to say that Arafat wasn’t a major problem in the Middle East. Mr. Farooque’s brief mention of the billions of dollars that Mr. Arafat stole from his own people – which has been proven true – doesn’t bring justice to the true extent of the problem that Mr. Arafat was in the Middle East. Mr. Arafat’s goal wasn’t a state for his Palestinian people, but rather the eradication of the Jewish state. We can’t forget that Mr. Arafat founded the Fatah movement in 1959, eight years before Israel even acquired the disputed territories. Is this a man in search of peace? No, this is a man whose life goal was the destruction of the State of Israel.

I agree with Mr. Farooque that hopefully this will be a turning point in the current situation in the Middle East – hopefully with leadership in pursuit of peace, not annihilation.

-Dave Rosenbaum, freshman

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