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Race-Baiting and Terrorism: responding to four letters in the IDS

Yesterday's letters section in the Indiana Daily Student contained some eccentric arguments that merit a rebuttal. I thought it was interesting that the IDS published two letters on the same day from the same person. They did this earlier this summer, but yesterday two people had two letters each. On to the letters:

Aaron Spector jumps on a letter writer's argument that the cream will rise to the top in a free-market economy. Spector makes the ridiculous argument that the comment reflects a "belief that those with a fair complexion will naturally rise, while those who are darker will naturally fall to the lower rungs of the ladder."

This is just plain stupid. That is a statement that refers to how milk separates itself out, a cliché that predates Spector's birth. There is no distinction between light and dark here, just an analogy to milk. Those who claim racism where none exists are just as bad as racists themselves. To use another cliché, racism and race-baiting are two sides of the same coin.

Steve Salter responds to the editorial condemning Earth First. Salter dishonestly focuses on the editorial's observations as to what the protesters while ignoring the condemnation of the acts of vandalism committed by the protesters. The staff editorial's main objection to Earth First's protest was to the vandalism they committed, and Salter knows it. By ignoring that, Salter's not only fails in his attempt to make the editorial board look childish, he damages his own credibility. (For more on the Earth First protest, see my post from Tuesday.)

John Connor also responds to the editorial condemning Earth First, writing "I am appalled that you would equate terrorists in al-Qaida with road protestors." First, the editorial does not mention al-Qaida specifically or Islamic terrorism generally, so the idea that the IDS tried to "equate" Earth First and al Qaida is simply laughable.

Second, just because two things are comparable does not mean they are equal. The firebombing of Bloomington's Planned Parenthood in 2005 was an act of terrorism, as was the Oklahoma City Bombing and September 11. The fact that the Oklahoma City bombing was far worse than the attack on Planned Parenthood does not mean the latter was not terrorism. The fact that 9/11 was far worse than the Oklahoma City bombing does not mean the latter was not terrorism.

What the IDS did was correctly apply the word "terrorism" to this protest. Whether Connor wants to admit it or not, vandalizing someone's personal property as a form of political protest and as a way to intimidate him is an act of terrorism.

Steve Salter writes "it isnít politically correct to call our soldiers murderers, but that is what most of them are." Salter uses a broad bloody brush to equate the actions of our troops to the psychopaths in al Qaida. What Salter fails to realize is that there is a difference between killing and murder. Killing in a military operation, especially in self-defense, is not the same as murder. This is especially true if that military operation is to protect our national security, as the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan clearly was.

Our troops are prohibited from committing murder. There are soldiers on trial right now for the murder and rape of an Iraqi teenager, and if they are found guilty then they will be harshly punished. Our enemies, who intentionally target innocent people for death as part of their strategy to drive us out of Iraq, have no such code of honor. Islamic fanatics who behead innocent civilians are not much different from Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, and the world becomes a better place each time one of them dies.