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Escalation breeds peace stagnation

(04/08/04 4:00am)

Four American civilian contractors died in Fallujah, Iraq, last week, but it was the way they died that drew horrified and angry responses from Americans and the U.S. government. Murdered and mutilated, the bodies bounced through the dust as Iraqis triumphantly dragged them through the city and hanged the corpses. In a scene brutally reminiscent of Somalia more than a decade ago, the barbaric mistreatment and slaying of those contractors bodes ill for the restoration of peace in the troubled state.

The SC government is ineffective

(03/01/04 5:00am)

By the time this column is printed, voting for the Student Confederation elections will be well underway. While most students will be itching to fly away to home or semi-tropical havens for Spring Break, others will be itching to see who wins the SC elections Tuesday night. This year, the races for president, vice president, secretary and comptroller are populated with viable candidates, unlike the hideous farce of last year's sparsely-contested fiasco. However, as some of this year's candidates have vocalized, the SC is not Congress.

The passion of the censors

(02/16/04 5:00am)

Mel Gibson is gathering a rabid following lately, but it's not composed of fawning females over 40 anymore. Gibson's new movie, "The Passion of the Christ," has provoked wild cries of anger from foam-mouthed fanatics and timid wrist wringing from critics for its gory portrayal of Jesus' crucifixion. The film will not be released until Feb. 25 - Ash Wednesday - but it has already generated enough controversy to warrant a special ABC News "Primetime" interview (to be aired tonight at 10 p.m.) with co-writer and director Gibson.

Russia's "free" elections

(12/08/03 5:00am)

In another couple months it will be election season again, when the quiet states of New Hampshire and Iowa float up out of obscurity to center themselves in the national spotlight. Yet the most interesting action so far is thousands of miles away, in the broad lands of Russia, where pro-Putinites pressure voters to take the line of United Russia. So far United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party loyal to Vladimir Putin, is leading Duma (Russia's lower house) election polls by a large margin, according to recent reports, taking in nearly 37 percent of votes. If the party continues to hold strong in the polls, Putin will gain power in the lower house, making it easier for him to pass legislation and even to alter Russia's constitution to allow for a third term. ÿ

Freedom-fried Iraq

(11/17/03 5:00am)

The most common headline I see every day when I wake up goes something like this: "More U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq," or "Insurgents continue to plague troops." Since May 1, when major combat in Iraq ceased, approximately 160 U.S. troops have been killed. U.S. commanders are saying they face up to 30 attacks a day from guerrilla insurgents. Call me crazy, but I think democracy in Iraq is going to be a bit of a hard sell. Despite the rhetoric that all the Iraqi insurgents are henchmen of Saddam Hussein, it must be difficult to live in what is, at least for the time being, a police state that desperately hangs on to order while struggling under a canopy of fear and anxiety.

Feel the magic, baby!

(11/13/03 5:00am)

Forget the pucks and pigskin tonight, grab a beer or six and settle in for the first college basketball games of the year. The season tips off with the annual Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, where the last two national champions started their seasons. This year's tourney won't see a national champion, but it does offer some recent hard court heavyweights. Wake Forest and Memphis will battle it out under the lights of Madison Square Garden, while 2003 Final Four contender Marquette will square off against St. John's. Although Dwayne Wade and Marcus Hatten have left their campuses, the matchup should be competitive and physical. On Friday, Pittsburgh will look to increase its clout with a new coach against Alabama, and, in perhaps the best game of the tournament, perennial Cinderella and genuine powerhouse Gonzaga will take on St. Joseph's.

Dear Pat, Please don't bomb me

(10/20/03 4:00am)

I recently found myself in agreement with the State Department - a rare event - over the volatile comments of Pat Robertson, leader of that cherished religious conservative institution, "The 700 Club." Robertson seems to think that blowing up Foggy Bottom, the seat of the State Dept., with a small nuclear device is the answer to America's problems. Yet the problem I have with Robertson's comments is not that he made them, but rather that he was able to say what he did in the name of national security and nobody in the Bush administration except the State Dept. raised a voice against him.

Debate: Judge falters

(09/04/03 4:00am)

"Thou shalt not tread upon the sacred state of Alabama" seems to be the grandiose statement emanating from self-righteous Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Although the embattled judge claims to be enshrouded in the lofty morality of Christian principles, he comes off as rashly defying the sovereignty of the federal government. It's true that our founding fathers built the American legal system with Christian values in mind, but they also built a system in which federal power supercedes state power.

Smoking bans improve health of campus and environment

(08/28/03 4:00am)

A lot of people have complained this year about AU's new ban on the sale of cigarettes in The Eagle's Nest, as well as the ban on smoking enforced inside and outside residence halls. While I can understand that smokers are irked over their increasingly tight puffing borders, I think the new bans are a good idea and will improve the overall health of the campus-which is what the administration and most students presumably want.