Let’s move past the labels and get started on some serious debate

To the Editor:

Jamie Kirchick ’06 spends too much time labeling the left at the expense of making clear arguments about his politics. We could spend all day trying to figure out whether Kirchick is a liberal or not, but this hardly seems useful.

Rather let’s talk about the issues. Kirchick writes that he “was almost moved to tears two weeks ago at the scenes of a liberated Baghdad.” However, Iraq is hardly liberated. The Red Cross has called the situation in Iraq “chaotic and catastrophic.” Thousands of Iraqis face the threat of starvation and disease due to lack of food aid and clean drinking water. While the U.S. military has already secured contracts for Haliburton, it has yet to assemble a coherent system of delivering humanitarian relief.

It’s no wonder that only a few days after the celebration of 200 people around Hussein’s fallen statue, tens of thousands gathered in Baghdad and elsewhere with a different message: “No Bush, no Saddam.” Of course people are glad to be rid of Saddam Hussein, but you would be hard pressed to convince most Iraqis that a U.S. military occupation will bring them “freedom.”

One does not have to be “on the left” (or for that matter “indecent” as Kirchick calls us) to be against this war and the ensuing occupation. I’m not interested in name-calling and intellectual nonsense. I’m interested in having real debate about U.S. involvement in the Middle East and working with everyone who is opposed to this war to build the broadest, most democratic movement possible.

Leela Yellesetty ’05

April 24, 2003

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