Opinion

EDITORIAL : Where is liberty today?

As of this writing, the fate of Saddam Hussein and his sons remains unknown, following an attack targeted on him. If the attack has succeeded, however, and each passing hour of silence only seems to suggest that it has, then the US has lost its last reason to continue this war.
There has been a regime change, because the old regime is dead. There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (other than the ones the US brought in with them, and the pesticides they found). Therefore, the US should immediately vacate the region and bring our kids in uniform home before any more of them are killed.
It is true, as Tony Blair said, that it is the United Nations and the Iraqi people who are best positioned to clean up the mess left behind in Iraq. It is time for the US to pull the plug and send its troops home. Haven’t all the publicly stated goals for war been achieved?
Meanwhile, on the home front, the battle for liberty-civil liberty-continues as well. Yahoo refuses to allow anti-war posts on its websites. They have sent out statements to members threatening to terminate service if such members post “unsupportive info about our Nation” and “Our Troops.” While this is within the rights of Yahoo administrators, wherever the first amendment is these days, it surely weeps in quiet resignation.
Kudos to the media watchdog group Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR), which slammed the Associated Press’ recent use of the terms “pro-war” and “pro-troops” interchangeably, and the AP’s similar equating of “anti-war” with “anti-troops.”
“That’s a very big slur against millions of Americans who are against the war but concerned about the troops’ safety,” said a FAIR representative. Although the AP denied any infraction of ideology, it is extremely important, in this war of nuances, to understand that categories don’t mean much anymore-it’s the individual’s belief that means the most.
Looking back to the situation of liberty, poor wounded liberty, in Iraq, Reporters Without Borders, an international group which seeks to defend imprisoned journalists and press freedom throughout the world, as well as the right to inform the public and to be informed, recently accused the US military of deliberately firing at journalists. The group called on US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to provide evidence that the offices of the Arab TV station Al Jazeera and the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad were not deliberately fired at by US forces in attacks that killed three journalists. The evidence, gained from film shot by French reporters, “does not match the US version of an attack in self-defense and we can only conclude that the US Army deliberately and without warning targeted journalists,” said a RWB representative.
The International Federation of Journalists also accused U.S. and Iraqi forces of committing war crimes against reporters after five correspondents were killed around Baghdad in less than 24 hours, and called for an independent inquiry into the deaths. The sharp distinction between embedded and non-embedded journalists, and the treatment each group receives from coalition troops, is now not only unethical-but also deadly.
The phrase “Operation Iraqi Freedom” loses meaning by the hour, as liberty struggles to survive. Every moment that US troops remain in danger, the admnistration violates its promise of regime change, and only regime change. The shocking confusion of liberties and first amendment rights highlights yet another hyocrisy of an administration that claims to seek “freedom” abroad, while not even maintaining the appearance of it at home.

April 11, 2003

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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