To the Editor:

How clever of Eli Muller ’03 to misrepresent the reasoning of the anti-war activists (“Bush’s hidden motives are irrelevant,” 10/24). He reduces and distorts the anti-war argument by writing, “They say that in light of past sins, trying to improve one’s conduct ought to be avoided for the sake of consistency.”

Having proposed this patently absurd argument, he then proceeds to demolish it. Eli Muller 1, Straw Man 0! But perhaps this is not a matter of cynically misrepresenting the anti-war argument; maybe Muller just doesn’t understand it.

In truth, most people I know who are against the war are very much in favor of some inconsistency: we would love to see this country change course. We are all too familiar with this country’s history in places like Iraq, Iran, Guatemala, Haiti, and yes, Chile. Saddam Hussein’s regime has been just one of many. But of course those regimes earned our support by allowing capital to plunder at will, and by killing off opponents of the arrangement, including but not limited to liberal clergy and human rights activists.

The United States has been up to this for at least a hundred years now, since it gathered up the remnants of the Spanish empire and then brutally ended the Filipino struggle for independence. Given that history, what reason do we have to believe that the United States will suddenly change its ways, especially now that Washington has finally come clean and declared that world domination is the goal? The war currently under consideration — a war to secure for ourselves the Iraqi oil fields — offers no such change; it offers only the same empty rhetoric that has always cloaked imperial violence.

James Terry GRD ’06

October 25, 2002