September 19, 2007 3
Petraeus and Crocker fail to identify Iraqi problems “Ugly Betty.” “The Hills.” “The Flavor of Love 3.” “The NBA.”
Tim Keating Sophomore Exercise Science Major
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Stefanie Blowers Junior Business Major
Marco Gallegos Senior Spanish Major
he top American military commander in Iraq, Gen. Yet in spite of all of these inconsistencies, Petraeus and Crocker David Petraeus, and the American Ambassador to claimed success for the surge, and Petraeus recommended a drawdown of Iraq, Ryan Crocker, faced 16 hours of often pointed troop levels to pre-surge levels by the beginning of 2008. President Bush questions from Congress about the state of affairs in gladly assented. Iraq. Both men pointed to progress in the military and While the administration is touting the return to pre-surge troop levels political situation in Iraq but failed — or refused — to as a troop drawdown, it is in fact nothing more than a return to the statusanswer key questions about the duration of America’s quo ante that existed in 2006 when voters turned out a Republican military presence and about the crucial domestic politi- Congress largely in disgust with the lack of progress in Iraq. cal situation in Iraq. Petraeus refused to discuss troop levels beyond the beginning of next ZACH All in all, the scene Sept. 10-11 on the Hill was year, and, in fact, said he needed another six months to determine whether DAVIDSON reminiscent of Gen. William Westmoreland saying in another drawdown is feasible. That means 130,000 American troops will 1967 that there was “light at the end of the tunnel” in be in Iraq until at least next March! respect to the military situThe question that Petraeus is refusing to answer – ation in Vietnam. “Tell me how this ends” – is the same question he himWhat stood out most – self asked rhetorically in 2003 when he led the 101st airas a Sept. 10 story in borne division into Iraq. The failure to answer that quesMcClatchy newspapers tion, and the baffling optimism in spite of almost all of pointed out – was what the the facts, is inexcusable and more than a little puzzling. two men testifying did not The final question then, as one assesses the longsay, or their penchant for awaited testimony this week and America’s hopeless misconstruing the situation. position in Iraq, is who is to blame for the mess we are In just one example, in? While it is easy to blame Petraeus, Crocker or Bush Petraeus remarked and disand the pliant members of Congress who went along played a chart demonstratwith this misguided war, ultimate blame must lay upon ing that sectarian violence Courtesy of McClatchy Newspapers the ultimate source of power: citizens. in Baghdad between It is easy to forget now how widespread support Gen. David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker avoided December 2006 and for this Iraq misadventure was in 2002 and 2003 and the answering the “big question” of how the war in Iraq will end August 2007 had toxicity of the discourse over the war. The minority of while addressing Congress Sept. 10-11. decreased. What neither he us who believed it was a mistake in the lead up routinenor Crocker mentioned was the change in ethnic composition in the city ly had our patriotism questioned. More pertinently, war supporters inferred from “majority Sunni Muslim or mixed to majority Shiite Muslim.” and often explicitly claimed that we had not learned the “lessons of 9/11.” Both men also omitted from their testimony that, according to the However, remaining bitter about the past will not help the United International Organization for migration, “86 percent of Iraqis who have States remedy those mistakes in the future. It is vital now that we the citifled their homes said they’d been targeted because of their sect.” Both of zens demand an end to this tragic blunder in Iraq. The most immediate these facts belie the contention that ethnic tensions in Iraq are on the way to bring about an end to the war is to refuse to appropriate funds for decrease. Petraeus and Crocker’s highlighting of the decrease in ethnic any purpose other than bringing troops home as fast as we can in a manner tensions echoed arguments of the administration (for which both men are that leaves them safe. We owe it to our soldiers to remove them from grade-A water carriers) that the troop surge that began last winter has been harm’s way in a situation on which they can have increasingly less impact. a smashing success. We also owe it to the Iraqis to allow them succeed or fail in the project of Yet even Petraeus’ own statistics don’t support him. As the McClathy statecraft. The answer to Iraq’s problems is political, not military. story mentioned, Petraeus failed to explain why the greatest drop in “ethno-sectarian” deaths “occurred between January and February, before Zach Davidson is a junior political science and history major and is a staff writer for The Rambler. the surge began.”
War on poverty drafts college students into the fray Decline in U.S. poverty rates calls for community investment, not a pat on politicians’ backs
e are college students. We shop at Wal-Mart, Ross, Half-Price Books, Marshalls and, occasionally, even Goodwill. Why? We are poor. Right? Perhaps we are more fortunate than we realize. The United States population RACHEL took notice this month as the HORTON Census Bureau released the news that U.S. poverty rates declined for the first time this decade. The fall from 12.6 percent in 2005 to 12.3 percent in 2006 is three-tenths of a percent, but a decline is still a decline. This translates into approximately 36.5 million people in poverty out of a total U.S. population of 301,139,947. “Well,” you might say to yourself, “that’s awesome!” and continue to move on to your next class. But what does that really mean for you and me? College students are frequently accused of living inside a bubble. We spend most of our time on a campus which functions as a mini-city. There is a convenience shop to serve our Ramen Noodle needs; we have a bookstore to serve our academic, school supply and school spirit needs; the library functions as a study and help center; the cafeteria provides cooking that makes you love your mother more; and there’s a gym to ensure physical fitness. Colleges even have their own government system in place. Why should three-tenths of a percent matter to us? In his 1964 State of the Union Address, President Lyndon B. Johnson formally declared a “war on poverty.” He mobilized the legislature to take immediate action, and this resulted in a variety of programs we see today. Programs such as Medicare, Head Start and the Job Corps were all results of the “war on poverty” tactics enacted by the Johnson Administration. As Johnson wisely noted in his address, however, “poverty is
a national problem, requiring improved national Graham. “It ultimately limits growth for both organization and support. But this attack, to be [the school] and the neighborhood.” effective, must also be organized at the state and In the past, Wesleyan has supported multiple the local levels and must be supported and endeavors to improve the standard of living for directed by state and local efforts.” Fort Worth’s low income neighborhoods. A 1999 Rates and statistics are simply a way in report from the mayor of Fort Worth on the Arts which to measure the success and progress made Council of Fort Worth and Tarrant County in this on-going war. And no matter how many described the important role Texas Wesleyan federal programs exist to alleviate the poverty played in assisting the Arts Council in renovatcondition, the frontlines ing and renting an abandoned buildare ultimately going to ing, which later became the be in our backyard. Eastside Neighborhood Arts Center. The Center for Since its establishment, it has Public Policy Priorities served as a daytime rehearsal space in Austin reported that a for dancers in the TWU school of family of four living in fine arts. At all other times, the cenArlington or Fort Worth ter plays host to countless other would need to earn classes, rehearsals and art performabout $46,000 a year to ances, which benefits the eastside make it without public neighborhood. These classes and assistance. The performances expose children and American Community adults to art and culture that would Survey noted that this otherwise be unaffordable. average family of four Ultimately, the primary issue is living below the poverty meeting the needs of the communiline accounted for about ty as a whole within a set income. 102,846 people in Fort Demosthenes, a notable Courtesy of Google Images Worth alone. So what Athenian statesman of the fourth does this mean for Texas The poor’s low standard of living century, once said that “small can be aided by student efforts. Wesleyan’s backyard? opportunities are often the beginDr. Erika Graham, professor of economics at ning of great enterprises.” The students of Texas Texas Wesleyan, noted that because the neighWesleyan have a small opportunity in their own borhood surrounding the school is low income backyard. Three-tenths of a percent, however “there is absolutely no retail, no place to shop positive, is undoubtedly a small drop in a fairly because…retail looks at income.” large bucket. But when we take seriously the Graham went on to note that while things “war on poverty” and act within our abilities for like coffee shops and bookstores would be of the betterment of the community as a whole, interest to the students, it would serve students perhaps we may make the difference needed to almost exclusively and would not serve to enrich add one more family to the list of those living the neighborhood as a whole. above the poverty threshold in Fort Worth. “In the long-run, Texas Wesleyan forfeits job The effort starts here. opportunities for its students and cannot enrich Rachel Horton is a freshman political science major the neighborhood [by attracting retail],” said and is a contributing writer for The Rambler.
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Thumbs up to Wesleyan ground maintenance crews for giving our campus a sharp look. Thumbs down to Applebee’s for removing the Apple Chimichanga from their menu. -- Jimmy Juelg
Thumbs down to AMB214 whose screen projector has been broken for months.
Thumbs up to all who participated in rush events.
Corrections Dr. Tim Bruster is not a Wesleyan alumnus. He was identified incorrectly in a Sept. 12th news story. Alpha Kappa was misidentified in a rush event photo Sept. 12. Choral Conductor Dr. Jerry Bierschenk’s name appeared incorrectly in the Sept. 5th issue.
The Rambler regrets these errors.