The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, March 25, 2002, Image 9

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NATIOK HE BATTALIA nge life THE BATTALION Monday, March 25, 2002 ■ - MU I Ml MR M NMHIMNM MR Opinion Beyond a shadow of doubt [merica’s backup government is causing more harm for country than good ition of the be isler said Fric see this kind ;ence of trends ti o lower rates an igh rate." us, indicates ; are continuity evel of drinkini said. ‘Those > be addressed colleges take.'' 'rsity ofVermon jne of 10 colky in an Arneri ociation-led in > binge drinl it joined the ’ that 65 percen admitted bi said And; i rector of the tram. That nn oercent. e election com discretion if ite. mission’s deci mess and arbi m rules. Medu ,ure forced tk right thins mission contin- leech rights ates stand up hat they change Dubberly said en contacted!)) Union (ACLU) an injunction in lection commis- and added thu' end other candi- ige the election tis controvers) late to examine election rules, ?e held Marcl >e time we w . when we 1) have a cam) ition of all d to Bonfu > fill some of onfire’s absent Id be a comptij ludent groups e/its such as I of-war and fh <pressed hisc j ents intenditij >us bonfires,^7-"^ [ o j so would ^ c °lumn: FRANK CHANCE* THE BATTALION COLLINS EZEANYIM s the nation entered chaos on Sept. 11, the Bush administration .Secretly deployed a “shadow gov ernment,” a system of government man agers working secretly outside the nation's capital. This was done to ensure that vital government resources were still available, no matter how disastrous the catastrophe became. Last fall, when Americans had no idea where the next terrorist threat would come from, this was a good idea. Half a year later, how ever, this shadow government is still in place and has generated controversy as to whether its expense, or even its existence, is justified. The Bush administration should have plans to properly deal with the effects of a catastrophic attack on Washington. In fact, many departments have had these plans since the beginning of the nuclear age. But this shadow government, known internally as COG for “continuity of gov ernment,” has many obstacles to over come before it proves to be effective. Where the shadow government might result in overkill is the number of bureau crats stationed around the clock in secret government bunkers. It makes sense for some representatives to be there; for example, agents from the Department of Agriculture would be responsible for many vital functions during a catastrophe. According to The Washington Post, these functions include ensuring that farm pro duction and food processing are continued and providing emergency provisions to farmers. The representation of other agen cies, such as the IRS and the Department of Education, are not as justified. Moreover, there seems to be poor planning on the part of the Bush adminis tration in that only the executive branch of the government is fully represented in the COG plans. It is obvious that the executive branch will be looked to for leadership in a time of crisis. But all components of the constitutional govern ment would be needed to ensure the con tinuation of American democracy. According to The Washington Post, both Congress and the judiciary have continu ity plans, but they take the practical approach and do not maintain 24-hour fortified facilities. The maintenance of a 24-hour govern ment presence in secret bunkers inevitably leads to debate about cost. Currently, with the war on terror and the recession occurring concurrently, the cost to run the main government is very high, and maintaining a perpetual shadow gov ernment can become very costly. A solution to this might come from the new government agency created by the Bush administration, the Office of Homeland Security. Recently, Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge announced a homeland security advisory system that assigns colors to certain levels of threat conditions, for example, green corre sponds to a low risk of terrorist attacks and red means a severe threat. Instead of keeping government employees in secret bunkers around the clock, the agents should only be deployed if Ridge and his office assess a red threat condition. This would ease the tax burden, and the government would still be prepared in a devastating attack. Another controversy erupted when important congressional leaders, includ ing Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle and Democratic Leader Rep. Richard Gephardt claimed they were never told about the bunker government. Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia, who as president pro tempore is fourth in the line of presidential succession, said he learned of the shadow government only after reading about it in newspapers. Obviously, the Bush administration should have used some tact in alerting congressional leaders of its COG plans. A continuity of government plan is absolutely necessary, especially in a time when the United States is no longer safe from any kind of terrorist attack. A shad ow government operating during times of crises is better than having no govern ment at all. But the Bush administration has made a misstep in its implementation of the shadow government and further corrections need to be made. Collins Ezeanyim is a junior physics major. among t!ieii 1 || M. Though 11 . J,. , ui ouxrage ai in is frustrationsfcle i S unmatched! The author .:*u RnntitfItClarpH .1 . • e with Bonfiff lievesthatstitf 11 of nevca uiguuy, lanaucism, more importand plain ignorance." nff-CUltf articlp IQ full support off^ MAIL CALL feed perception response to Jonathan Jones’ not an Arab or a Muslim, .^.degree of outrage at this -.... . i lie a u li i wi Red the Muslim world to be 1,1 ^ bigotry, fanaticism, , H .ain igii'JiaiiL-c. •pis article is full of the same f©! Jones contorts the find- I s of a USA Today/CNN/Gallup to meet his own agenda and, g so, brings further division internal strife to a campus Sling to unite under the ban- r of diversity. Ihe depiction of the Muslim is racist, bigoted and, in short, 0u f as true of Muslims (or Arabs) a cowboy or gangster is of most picans. President Bush has nsfantly warned that our fight loinst terrorism is against the ter- iofs. not Islam. Jones, stay on l e subject and stop spreading Mice and hatred! ■"erica is not guiltless, fioally, America influences world Pots by international loans, polit- F Pressure, and cultural imperi- f 1 ", as well as the military dement. Gallup Editor-in-Chief pnk Newport, who conducted the ■'ey, states that respondents I er whelmingly described the Jfed States as “ruthless, aggres- ■'O' conceited, arrogant, easily P'elrecl, and biased.” Based on I Ur article, they are right. Lois A. Swanick Class of 2003 | a ni appalled at Jones’ view of ® countries and his high M for American policy con- [ nin g the Middle East and p subcontinent. First off, as an American citizen, born in Pakistan, I would like to state my utter condemnation of the September 11th terrorists attacks. These attacks, such as any other terrorist acts, are not representa tive of the culture, religion, nor the countries from which the attackers come from. If they were, then the United States needs to admit that our country’s culture is based on the ideals of people such as Timothy McVeigh. I do agree that the United States does try to protect democracy. Protecting your beliefs is essential to the American way of life. But displacing your own beliefs onto others is not the intent of the “American way.” Democracy may be right for us, but it is not neces sarily right for the entire world. Jones says “when McDonald's golden arches rise over Kabul, the Afghans will be clearly on the road to recovery.” I doubt the Afghan people would ever trade their way such as a “Big Mac.” We were founded on freedom, but why do we continue to enter into the busi ness of other countries. Our main reason: oil. The Middle East’s oil supply was our number one con cern for Desert Storm. Furthermore, the United States never really cared to help Pakistan until Pakistan was forced to help the United States in the war against Afghanistan. If Pakistan decided not to help the US, it would have been consid ered a terrorist country. We always have our own personal agenda whenever we help another country. For this reason, I do not think of America as a great protec tor of democracy, but as a great protector if its own interests. Amjad Ladak Class of2001 A healthier way of life Genetic screening is beneficial to parents DHARMARAJ INDURTHY A ccording to the Feb. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, a medical triumph has occurred: the child of a woman afflicted with early-onset Alzheimer’s was successfully genetically screened. This new medical advance rais es questions about “designer babies” and a possible new era of eugenics. The only conclusion is that government cannot legally deny individuals the ability to use genetic methods on eggs and embryos to suit individual tastes. In this particular process, doctors harvested eggs from the mother, screened them to eliminate diseased specimens and implanted those that were clean. This is only the latest suc cess story of genetic screening. These technologies enable children to avoid a future of debilitating or fatal disease. However, such successes prompt fears for the future. The movie Gattaca, for example, portrays an uncomfortable future where genes determine a per son’s place in society. Regulatory lines are meaningful only when based on principle, but screening fatal illness versus superficial traits is just a matter of degrees. Non-fatal ill nesses still may negatively impact the quality of individual life, and fatal ill nesses have enabled people to demon strate enormous virtue. Furthermore, as Dr. Stephen Lewis asserts in his paper, “Approaching the problem of defining ‘health’ and ‘disease’ from the perspec tives of evolutionary psychology and Darwinian medicine,” the basic medical definitions of disease and health are woefully imprecise. There is intrinsic ambiguity here that defies having both permissions and prohibitions. After all, disease and illness come in a continuous spectrum. From Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease, to obesi ty and autism, to birthmarks and baldness, it is not trivial to find substantive distinc tions. Can government deny an Alzheimer’s afflicted individual the chance for a healthy child? What about someone who struggled with morbid obe sity and does not want that for his or her Regulatory lines are meaningful only when based on principle, but screening fatal illness versus superficial traits is just a matter of degrees. offspring? What of the bald man who wants only to spare his son the trifling affliction? Besides, the U.S. government lacks rigorous ethic. Unlike suicide or drug use, genetic screening is too contro versial an issue to make legal judgments on moral basis. Ultimately, this is an all- or-nothing issue in principle. The Supreme Court has made clear that a fetus is not considered a person; it has no human value. Instead, it is more like property. The same must be pre sumed for embryos and eggs. If people are free to abort fetuses, certainly, they should be able to modify or screen other organic property. Government would need compelling grounds to deny such practices, but none exist beyond fanciful imaginings of a Gattaca-like future. Objections have been raised about privacy issues and discrimination. Government could keep tabs on genetic information, or doctors could reveal genetic information to third parties. If employers could acquire such infonna- tion, they might discriminate against prospective employees with predisposi tions to disease. Such possibilities, how ever, are extensions of existing problems. Combating them means careful regula tion. Moreover, these are individual deci sions, and taking such risks should be an individual discretion. What about “designer babies?” What about a future of rich families investing in genetically fit progeny? Is not a genet ically driven world the inevitable end of making genetic screening available? Even if the consequences appear ugly, the freedom of people to screen offspring cannot be denied. If parents want to manipulate their reproductive property so that they might receive a child con formed to their vision, government must allow it. It is not the fault of such a fami ly that others might discriminate against the unmodified or that societal disparities might ensue. Perhaps “designer babies” are the future. If the technology exists, it must be made available. Individuals have the right to provide the best future for their offspring, and if that means manipulating organic property, they cannot be denied. In a world where mankind has subdued nature, created weapons of mass destruc tion and strived to maximize his conven ience, it is a little late to be challenging man’s right to play God. Dhamiaraj Indurthy is a senior physics major.