Letters to the Editor

Time to take a real stand against the war

The Hatchet reported that 150 GW students made it out to the anti-war demonstration on Sept. 15. The report also said that students present were members of either the College Democrats or Students Against the War in Iraq.

Let’s re-focus the lens. The College Democrats were present but the Students Against the War in Iraq were not. Unfortunately, only about 25 of those students actually joined in the true anti-war rhetoric the demonstration upheld. Those 25 students were allied with us: the Campus Anti-war Network, a nonpartisan organization that takes a more radical stance on the issue of war. We unequivocally believe that this war is illegal, immoral and for profit, and that it buttresses a calculated agenda neatly interwoven into a long-standing history of imperialist American foreign policy.

Of course, with Iraqi “collateral damage” nearing 1 million deaths and more than 3,000 American soldiers dead, one would expect “radical” to be the vogue. Yet, radical does not seem to be where most GW students are. This political apathy is perhaps most disturbing considering GW’s famed legacy of anti-war activism.

But perhaps the disappointment runs deeper when considering most of the students belonged to the College Democrats. Out for their first anti-war demonstration and motivated by what seems more the overarching trend of presidential hopefuls and self-proclaimed “peace candidates” such as Obama and Hillary, the Democrats seemed oblivious to the atrocities this war has left in its wake. They not only refused to chant slogans that exposed the illegal nature of the war, but they were also embarrassingly rude at the rally, starting arbitrary chants that drowned out speakers who disagreed with their political views. In fact, it wasn’t “GW activists” as a whole that grew tired of the speeches and prematurely left the demonstration, it was only the College Democrats. CAN on the other hand waited and, following the lead of CAN and Iraq Veterans Against the War member (not just supporter) Adam Kokesh, respectfully marched with a unified student contingent from across the nation.

Had the Princeton Review made it out to Kogan Plaza only to be met by a meek 150 students protesting the illegal occupation of Iraq, our guess is that they would have revoked GW’s sexy title of “Most Politically Active” campus. What can we do to win the title back? Perhaps with the help of the Campus Anti-war Network, we, could harken back to the days of the 1960s and 70s when the dorm, and the GW campus as a whole, was a mainstay of the anti-war movement.

Lara Masri, Graduate Student

No reasonable discussion stems from Iran’s president

I am disappointed in The Hatchet’s Sept. 24 editorial (pg. 4) defending Columbia University’s invitation to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Hatchet’s trite arguments for freedom of speech and academic discourse completely miss the point. Ahmadinejad’s views and policies are in the news almost every day; any half-aware student didn’t need this forum to be aware of them. Freedom of speech simply guarantees liberty of thought and expression, not an entitlement to the respect of a platform at an academic forum.

The Hatchet’s opinion also relies on the supposition that any aspect of Ahmadinejad’s views and behavior are up for reasonable academic discussion. I ask only this: Which of those would that be? His Holocaust denial? His suppression of dissent? Iranian support of terrorism and the insurgency in Iraq? His stated desire for the destruction of Israel? To plea for open-mindedness in this context is to suggest that there is no idea that academia is capable of condemning. Is that the standard we want?

Let’s not kid ourselves: there was no real debate at Columbia, and there was never a chance for one. Columbia President Lee Bollinger rightly denigrated Ahmadinej had as “a petty and cruel dictator” and challenged every one of his extremist points of view in detail. Ahmadinejhad’s claim that no homosexuals exist in Iran was met with derisive laughter. Make no mistake, derision and condemnation are all that he and his views deserve – not the pretense of academic respect inherent in his invitation.

Todd DuBois, Alumnus

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