The Dartmouth Observer

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by Listed on BlogShares

Friday, January 31, 2003
Europe Divided

It seems that Europe is ambivalent about the use of American power. The old Europe, France and Germany, are against the use in general but the rest of Europe are less equivocal in their opinions.

One article observes: "Eight European leaders have backed a possible US-led attack on Iraq, signaling a split between member states only three days after the 15 reached a common position on the issue. The declaration, initiated by José-Mara Aznar the Spanish premier, and signed by seven other leaders representing the UK, Italy, Portugal, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Denmark, urges Europeans to unite with the US to force Iraqi president Saddam Hussein to give up his weapons of mass destruction."

Meanwhile, it appears that France and Germany are scheming to control Europe—throughout the EU. Britain has more than a few things to say: "The UK premier, however, did not fully endorse the Franco-German paper on institutional architecture in a future EU. The two countries' proposals include plans for two presidents of the EU - the president of the Commission and one of the European Council, who would represent the EU internationally. The Independent writes that Mr Blair could countenance a Commission president elected by the European Parliament but wants to ensure that someone who does not have widespread support is not chosen. Instead he wants a Commission president to enjoy 80% backing of MEPs and for the appointment to be ratified by the 15 EU heads of state."

Anti-War Liberals

The New Republic has an excellent article called 'Time Out' on anti-war liberalism.

TNR maintains that anti-war liberals (varying from the moderates to the radicals) do not support Bush's war for five reasons:
1. We should exhaust every peaceful means possible before using war as an option of foreign policy.
2. "angry street demonstrators": The display of American power anywhere is world is unjust-- for a number of reasons: unethical/ unequal globalization, giant corporations, racism, oil interests, etc. This is why you will see the same of people condemning the US on 'human rights', protesting the World Trade Organization's meetings, and doing anti-war demonstrations. One could reasonably argue that this type of never-ending protest is itself unethical-- using the plight of the poor and downtrodden as propaganda to further very a controversial and specious egalitarianism.
3. The report of Hans Blix was mixed and unclear; and was clearly contradicted by the report of the IAEA. (Reality is such a murky subject.)
4. Bush's bellicosity has undermined the inspections regime; Bush was never interested in inspections, only war.
5. Their answer to the question: "Would Iraq, if permitted to rebuild its nuclear, biological, and chemical arsenal, pose a threat to the United States?" is no or they elude the question by throwing up smoke screen ad hoc criteria: public support for the war, 'international' support for disarmament (by international they mean: European leftist intellectuals; the Arab left, for instance, seems to prefer that the theocracies, gang wars and savagery stop. Moreover, the European left has had a poor governing record after WWI, but especially after WWII. The populations of Europe recognized this and did not allow the left primarily to take over until after the Cold War), or more 'inspection time.'

My question is: where is the intellectually sound voice of opposition? There are many reasons to protest an American-Iraqi war; furthering radical egalitarian agenda is not one of them. I myself do not support a war in Iraq for the following reasons: no moral and political guidelines have been delineated for me as to when, where and how American power will be used and what interests we will be furthering. It is not that I think that war is immoral, it isn't, it is rather that there are some justifiable reasons for the use of power, and when they don't fall into these categories, power should not be used. For instance, I would support a war in Kosovo to rid the country of the unstable elements and reintroduce an order such that people can live in peace. I would not support intervention in Rwanda unless it threatened to destabilized the African continent. A war to liberate Tibet or the Kurds would be unnecessary; their situation is not optimal but not worth expending blood over.

Protesting the war should follow this guideline, cost-benefit analysis, and not be based on concepts such as peace (I call upon Wilson's infamous 'war to end all wars' as sufficient proof) or justice (in the name of God, for the religious extremists of medieval yesteryear and in the world today or of human rights, for the leftist extremist of recent invention). Anyone who claims to support human rights, whether they be defined broadly or narrowly, must support and lobby for, wars in Iraq, Iran, Libya, China, Russia, South Africa, Zimbawe, etc. These people are, at best, secular fanatics devoted to spreading their doctrine by the sword; they bear an eerie functional and psychological, if not moral, equivalence to the Crusades and the jihads of today. (from a secular perspective) We must remember that we are American citizens first, not citizens of some world order. Our primary moral claim is to our neighbors-- our fellow citizens. If there exists, outside this wonderful nation, some force that can disturb our American existence, it is the responsibility of our government to deal with the problems in a civilized manner: diplomacy first, then a diplomacy of violence second, and finally warfare last.

Thursday, January 30, 2003
The Nation on Liberal College Publications...and The Dartmouth Review

1) Emma Ruby-Sachs and Tim Waligore, Alternative Voices on Campus - on left-leaning college publications.
2) [By the same authors], A Once Bright Star Dims, on the decline of The Dartmouth Review.
3) Ten Papers We Like, including the Dartmouth Free Press.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
Iraq to chair disarmament conference (thanks to Dartlog for the heads up)

Monday, January 27, 2003
The John Stevenson Award For Pompous Paternalism

The first recipient of the award, for his awarding of both the Noam Chomsky and Shimon Peres Awards to an unnamed D contributor, is Mr. John Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson offers prizes for both anti-Zionism and ignorance to the author of said piece, and yet offers no reason why the piece is either. Mr. Stevenson is faster to label dissent vis-a-vis Israel as anti-Zionist than any Jew I know, and for this, perhaps he deserves another award. If anyone thinks of a name, let me know. The unfortunate fact of the matter is that Israeli Arabs are not afforded all the freedom of Israeli Jews, Israel is reluctant in allowing free reign to both UN workers and reporters, is ruled by a "military elite," etc. This is not to say there are no "good reasons" for some of these things (they would be disputable on their merits), but the cocksureness with which John tends to dismiss dissenting opinions and not take up the arguments offered in the award-winning D letter on their merits makes John the obvious first recipient of the John Stevenson Award.

Nominees 2003

Today's D op/ed spread was good, comparatively to most days here at the College. The best articles by far were Chris Curran's and Nathan Hedges. Maybe we should invite them to speak on our student panel. I am debating whether COSO will let us start the Curran Fan Society (CFS) at Dartmouth and publish binded collections of his op.eds for ridicously high prices (similar to course readers) at Wheelock Books.

Tom Sowell award nominees: "The anti-war crowd on campus has been busy. In their spirited attempt to find as many facts, figures and statistics to convince other students and faculty members of the dangers of President Bush's policy on Iraq, certain individuals have resorted to more extreme and utterly callous methods.

Late last term several students bearing hand-made signs estimating the number of casualties caused by a hypothetical war against Iraq held a demonstration in Food Court. While I have enjoyed and profited from the many debates on this campus (I consider myself one of the few remaining individuals on this campus who still favors genuine open debate) this demonstration angered me. In a desperate attempt to gain political legitimacy, students in the anti-war crowd in general and specifically those I saw in Food Court have used and continue to use the suffering of the Iraqi people to forward their own political aims and then shed these very same people aside." -Nathan Hughes

"It is imprudent because it eschews the potential for armed conflict from the outset. Peace is a great endpoint for which negotiators should strive. It is not a great starting point, assuming one party wishes the other to modify its behavior, because there is no incentive for the recalcitrant party to change... The problem with pacifism is that it is objectively pro-dictator. Insofar as no one is willing to challenge an oppressive government, with violence if necessary, change is impossible. The strongest will stay in power, not because they are more legitimate or more just than their competitors, but because they are willing to act violently to hold power while their pacifist opponents are unwilling to act violently to seize it...Indeed, so long as the United States is there to counter the threat, pacifism is fairly costless from the European perspective. It may make for a good strategy for Europe, but it would make for feckless U.S. foreign policy, as it would leave us defenseless against those who refuse reasonable overtures to disarm.
-Chris Curran

The second half of Graham Roth's article was better than the first half but the first has been nominated for the Hemant Joshi award.

"But repeatedly President Bush has ignored the doctrine of good stewardship in favor of his own blind political ideology and dogma. This pattern was evident in his rejection of the Kyoto Protocol and his broken promise to provide a serious alternative, as well as by his decision to contradict the State Department's findings and pull U.S. monetary support from the U.N. Population Fund last summer. This malicious decision, based more on pandering to the religious right than anything else, has caused countless preventable deaths all across Africa and Asia due to a lack of properly trained midwives, effective condom distribution or sensible disease prevention education. All of those things could have been attained with moderate U.S. support. President Bush picked politics over humanity and appeased his pro-life supporters by cutting funding to a program that, among other things, helped rape victims get safe abortions. So when Bush calls for a pre-emptive strike against Iraq, I can't help but think about his callous attitude towards humanity."

Last but not least a letter to the editor.
Shimon Peres award nominee AND the Noam Chomsky nominee:
"Last Tuesday's editorial concerning the pro-Israel petition circulated on the Dartmouth campus ("Standing Up in Support," The Dartmouth, Jan. 21) gives the mistaken impression that Israel is a democratic state similar in disposition to "Western" countries like the U.S., France, Germany and Canada. This is sadly far from the truth. Israel is run by an expansionist, intolerant regime dominated by a military elite. Israel remains the only country in the world that has never declared its frontiers. It maintains a brutal, humiliating occupation of foreign, sovereign territories, discriminates on the basis of race and religion, refuses international peacekeepers under U.N. mandate to mitigate or monitor its draconian rule over those who do not belong to its dominant ethnicity, and -- most frighteningly of all -- commands a potent nuclear arsenal for which it declines to disavow first use. The international journalists organization Reporters Without Borders, in its most recent ranking of press freedom throughout the world, placed Israel 92nd among the 139 states and territories surveyed (by way of comparison, the areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority placed 82nd)."

Sunday, January 26, 2003
Answering that Question
Mr Plumer asks:
1. Have you denounced other identity-based preferences in college admissions? (geographical preferences, etc.)
2. Do you believe in color-blindness across the board?
3. Have you denounced the affirmative action in your own party? (this one a special treat for Republicans)

It would be interesting to see how, say, Mr. Stevenson and Mr. Kung respond. These questions are by no means easy to answer.

An excellent article Mr. Plumer from an excellent journal.

1. My position is this: a meritocracy is the most just way to distribute slots in an hiearchal educational system. Merit correctly identifies the skills that will be necessary to survive in higher education: hard work, temperance, dedication, analytic ability. The people who do the best in their situation should be allowed to go to the best universities. These attributes correlate more with merit and less with other features such as race, gender, parental alumni status, etc. (I would like to beleive that athletics contributes to merit but I am unsure whether it does or not.)

2. Color-blindness across the board. If we are unwilling to consider race in certain circumstances (for the right, admissions and hiring; for the left, racial profiling) then race must not be used under any circumstance if we are to have an intelligent philosophy. It greatly disturbs me that leftists and progressives can piously berate against racial profiling for police and then, with the same mouth, advocate it for admissions officers. It equally dissappoints me that the Right can claim to be neutral when it suits them but de-evolve in borderline racism, antisemitism and racial essentialism.

3. I am not Republican. I have never registered with any party nor plan to do so (unless I run for President). I speak here for the millions of unregistered voters in America. The blantant racialism of both parties is highly annoying. Dems and Reps pulling in minorities as tokens of diveristy to show how oh so egalitarian and open they are. It is rather disgusting.

Universal Jurisdiction

From a newspaper that I was reading yesterday (i think it was the NYTimes...)

Over the last decade, the Belgian justice system has become a magnet for human rights advocates and atrocity victims around the world because of its unusually liberal law granting its courts "universal jurisdiction" — which means it can prosecute anyone who has committed genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity anywhere in the world. Although other countries have similar laws, Belgium's is particularly broad, and its judges are unusually willing to use it.

Last summer, a Belgian appeals court dismissed the case against Mr. Sharon, deciding for the first time that Belgium can proceed only against accused criminals who are physically on its territory. That decision sparked a contentious debate in Belgium. At the moment, the country's highest court is preparing to hear an appeal by the Palestinians while human rights advocates lobby the Belgian Parliament to restore the law's original scope. Belgian business groups and American and Israeli diplomats are urging the opposite result. Two bills — both of which would nullify the court's decision in the Sharon case and substantially restore the original law — are pending in Parliament. Last week the Belgian prime minister, Guy Verhofstadt, said he supported those amendments, and on Wednesday the Senate Justice Commission voted in favor of them.

Why Belgians laws are wrong:

1. A law is useless if it can't be enforced. Belgium is a small country and just because activists use it to draw attention to a 'human rights' problems: a nebulus concept, does not mean that a law actually has any power to modify behavoir or affect strategic decision making.

2. Universal law cannot take into account local conditions if it is grounded in the Beligian tradition. The laws that were developed in Europe have limited applicability over the entire world simply because a law governs its people only if all have had equal oppurtunity to shape its law. (This is why the Jim Crow laws were unjust.) I think it can be clearly demonstrated that certain ideologies and political philosophies had more say in the development of this law than others. Without their experience to oreint the law, the law cannot adeqautely address their experiences and thus cannot give them justice.

3. Belgian law undermines the principles of justice reached in other places. The Israeli Special Commission on the Lebanon fiasco found Sharon not gulity of murdering those people (it was after a Civil War in Lebanon with the Lebanese Arab Christians causing chaos and death). Pinochet had reached and understanding with his people. When tragedies occur in other places usually those societies figure out ways to deal with the problems and don't need outsiders interfering in local problems.

Nominees 2003

I would have posted these yesterday but my computer was not working properly. And as a side note, I have to admit that the lightbulb jokes are funny.

BBC Nominee: Thirty years after Roe v. Wade, many wonder how long the decision can survive when the Republican Party controls all of the branches of government. Republicans may well chip away at Roe v. Wade. But if they overturn it, they do so at their peril... if Roe v. Wade were overturned, the political agenda would shift. Early-term abortion would no longer be constitutionally insulated from federal or state efforts to outlaw it. In response, some states would restrict or abolish abortion rights. Social and religious conservatives would also press for abolition of abortion at the national level. For Republican candidates, it would no longer be just a question of defending limited restrictions on abortion. They would have to explain whether they were willing to send women and their doctors off to jail.

There is one issue where the NYTimes consistently shows its bias and that is on the abortion issue. What many prominent 'Republican' thinkers on the courts argue is that it is not the place of the Supreme Court to decide on abortion law; this should be left up to the state governments. And what could be so wrong with allowing each state to decide with the caveat that if abortion is legal in a state, it must undergo rigourous medical inspection from the federal authorities to ensure the highest standard of health? I do not understand why the NYTimes finds this option so undesirable. With the large percentage of the American population that finds infanticide morally objectionable but wants people to have a choice in the matter, it would be better for them if their opinions could be express democratically through their state governments rather than by judicial fiat. The government should also begin to subsidize a large adoption network and direct its 'child protection' laws away from stealing children from the parents and toward finding (and funding) stable family networks (of both the heterosexual and homosexual kind). This way there would really be a choice in the case of the unwanted pregnancy.

Tom Sowell Nominee: Perhaps if we give Mr. Blix a few more months to chase wild geese around Iraq, the U.N. will reward us by endorsing war, but we can already count on a substantial coalition: The gulf Arabs are on board (if they are sure we will see it through to the end), probably Turkey (which wants leverage over the future of its neighbor), the Brits, the Aussies, Italians, Spanish and all those dependable ex-Communists. The Russians and French might even jump on the train once it's moving, to protect their investments. Where's the unilateral in that?....

Many Americans and some of our allies have mistaken inspection for an answer to this problem. In fact, inspections have always been a way to buy some time, during which the regime might crumble, or Iraq might shock us all by really surrendering its weapons, or Iraqi non-compliance would exhaust the patience of even the French. Eventually, though, the inspectors go away, and if Saddam is still in place his quest for the nuclear grail resumes, presumably with fiercer motivation than before...

This is to my mind the administration's best argument for going to war, but it is not a terribly persuasive argument for going right now. On the contrary, at this moment, a mere nine weeks into inspections, Saddam seems to most people a less immediate threat than he was when inspections began. The presence of 200 inspectors and American technical surveillance is not exactly a lockdown, but it limits what he can get away with. -Bill Keller

A good bit of deprogramming towars those who accuse the US of 'unilateralism.' It also demonstrates that inspections are not the answer merely a means to an end: a restructuring of the Arab Middle East and the Islamic world from savagery and creulty towards a more legitimate and stable order.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
On Nominees

I would vote against both of John Stevenson's 'nominations' for this Andrew Sullivan inspired silliness. I appreciate John's spirit, but I refuse to denigrate the name of Judith Butler by associating her with Chien Wen Kung. Second, pardon me, but I don't understand what John was getting at by nominated John Timmer. Perhaps if I had seen the petition, but I suspect the petition didn't really say much of anything....

Nominee 2003

Noam Chomsky award nominee: "The people who created this petition and affixed their names to it are intelligent -- I refuse to believe otherwise -- so neither of the reasons I have mentioned can be correct. Let me reduce the statement of the petition to what it boils down to: "We support the people of Israel against the people of Palestine." "-- John Timmer '06

I'm nominated the paragraph below (posted by ChienWen) for the Judith Bulter award for the most pretentious prose.

UPDATE: Some confusion has ensued. I nominated the paragraph quoted by ChienWen in his 'stupid people are everywhere' for the Judith Butler award. Timmer was nominated because, without even the veneer of intelligence, he proceeded to interpet the petition wholly inconsistent with the intent of the writers and most of the signers. Not only did he use at best specious logic to assert his position, he maintained that this was the only reasonable interpetation of the petition.

In Defense of Agora

Tim recently posted on FreeDartmouth the email that I sent out last year in regards to a blitz forwarded about a visiting Israeli foreign consulate. I thank him; the email was last among my archives.

I do hate forced apologies sich as the one I was forced to send last year because a number of people were 'offended' that I sent a blitz out about a visit Israeli official. God forbid that we hear an Israeli speak. Actually I lie, my boss was offended that a Rocky organization disturbed the fragile understanding that guarded the censorship tendencies of some of the faculty and adminstrators of Rocky. I was chastised for a flagrant abuse of the understanding. So I did the best thing I could do- apologize in such a way that any person who read the blitz would know that it was forced and insincere. Now were I braver, I would have refused to send out the blitz of apology in so far as I was not apologetic and it is a sin to lie.

Some New Awards

When one reads the D and newspapers around the world, one is often struck by the sheer incompentency of it all at times. So I am introducing some new awards such that we ridicule stupidity. The 'racist' war of America, perpetrated by the peacemongering sloganeering on campus, has reached new heights of arrogance in its sweeping condemnations and new depths of inconsistency in its message.

Feel free to nominate things that you find that fit these criteria or create some of your own.

The Judith Butler awardfor the most pretentious prose
Jeffrey Hart award for unbridled right-wing hysteria
Hemant Joshi award for exessive leftist rhetoric and irrational anti-Americanism
Antonin Scalia award for the most devasting insult
Tom Sowell award for the best deprogramming
Noam Chomsky award for the opinion least emcumbered by knowledge
The BBC award for blatant but unacknowledged reporting bias
The Daniel Pipes award for undeserved hatred
The NY Times award for bad predictions
Al Sharpton award for anti-Semitism
Shimon Peres award for anti-Zionism
The Derbyshire award for the most egregious homophobia
Ruth Bader Ginsburg award for racial paternalism
The Edward Said award for the most egregious cultural relativism
The Ted Turner for the most anti-religious sentiments
Ann Coulter award for the least substantiated opinions

I should perhaps have made the circumstances of the situation clearer. The friend of mine who received the paper (he does not know the author) did so as part of his seminar requirements: the students in the seminar receive each other's papers and critique them in front of the class, thereby exposing the class (and the professor) to the paper as well. Last night, my friend was critiquing the paper in a room with several other people in it, and he was making his thoughts known to those people. The first paragraph was read out to them. I happened to be there, and decided it would make good fodder for thought, so I asked my friend whether I could post it on the Observer. As Tim can see, it was never a private, one-to-one matter at all.

I cannot believe Tim thinks the ridicule is unjustified. It has nothing to do with recent academic fads - even though the author is clearly heavily influenced by postmodernism (and maybe drugs as well) - and everything to do with good writing, which this piece is not. My friend, who happens to be a very, very intelligent and liberal Government major, thought it was crap (and he has to critique it in front of class today). Coming from a graduating senior taking the culminating experience for his major, this is pretty damn ridiculous. No thesis statement. No details ('cos reality is murky, one presumes). No citation of authorities to support the view that "Nothing is necessarily causative of anything else." And I read the final paragraph, which quotes from Gene Wilder playing Willy Wonka in the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie. I kid you not.

Tim assumes too much when he says that I am using this example to show that "traditional levels of scholarship have declined at Dartmouth with recent academic fads." I merely wished to post something that a lot of people found very, very funny. The title of my piece, "Stupid people are everywhere," is not really as great an exaggeration as one might think, in light of some of the anti-war demonstrations over this weekend.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Unethical people are everywhere

How ethical is it for Chien Wen Kung to post the opening paragraph on essay written by fellow Dartmouth student? (I am assuming he didn't have permission, judging by Chien Wen's title). He does keep the person anonymous. Under the circumstances he says he obtained it, I would say this borders on unethical posting. It really undermines trust to have a friend you ask to critique a paper turn it over to someone who posts it on the internet. And this isn't by any poster on The Dartmouth Observer, but by the site co-founder and administrator, no less. I don't think Chien Wen should have put it up for students who could know the writer to see it and possibly recognize it. It was a private communication not relating to anything that really was or should have been public, and from a student on Dartmouth's campus. (Furthermore, as someone in an academic community who often sees drafts that say don't cite or quote without permission, I take this seriously). It's tough to work out where to draw the line, but I think Chien Wen has made a step over it in this case. I question the news value of this, and doing this for the sole (and here unjustified) purpose of ridicule and saying 'Stupid people are everywhere!!!'

Incidently, the only sentence that didn't make sense was this one: "Defining legitimacy as truth, accepted (an integer ranging from zero to the entire population of the world), this essay will... " I assume Chien Wen is trying to show that traditional levels of scholarship have declined at Dartmouth with recent academic fads. Too bad it appears that traditional ethical privacy have as well.

Stupid people are everywhere!!!

The opening paragraph of a paper my friend was critiquing. This paper was written for a History Upperclass Seminar, the culminating experience for History majors, not English 2-3.

"Arab Nationalism and the Legitimacy of the Messenger"

Reality is such a murky subject. Nothing is necessarily causative of anything else: at best we can formulate plausible conclusion-like non-conclusions. In the debate surrounding the historiography of the Arab-Israeli conflict, disagreement even precedes the level fo causative statements; very often what happened, or whether something happened at all, is, itself, debatable. The situation is compounded by the partisan nature of each writer on the subject, since the debate over who possesses "right" is ongoing. The question of the legitimacy of the speaker extends far deeper than this historical meta-level, however. If we pick any area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict epistemological questions abound both in the events themselves and in the discourse that continues about the events. This essay will concern itself primarily with the former, specifically as regards the development of Arab nationalism or similar sentiments through the early twentieth century. Darkness seems to surround, even permeate, the information at hand for almost every major actor in this history. Some use such ambiguity to their advantage. Others, it plagues. In a gloss of this story, many historians ignore the profound doubt that faced every decision maker at every decision-point, and in doing so, they miss a major factor influencing the course of events: ambiguity. Defining legitimacy as truth, accepted (an integer ranging from zero to the entire population of the world), this essay will examine the rise of Arab nationalism with these questions in mind: how legitimate is the messenger? How legitimate is the message? And, how has legitimacy affected the actions of the characters involved?

LOOK AT THIS Developing Story:

Timothy Waligore pointed out something interesting on the Free Dartmouth:

More Details in Former Weapons Inspector's Arrest
Channel Six News has learned that Colonie Police arrested former UN Weapons Inspector and Delmar resident Scott Ritter two years ago as part of an Internet sex sting operation. Sources say Ritter was charged in June of 2001 for trying to lure a 16 year-old girl he met online to a Burger King. But that 16-year old girl was really a Colonie Police investigator. Sources say Ritter was charged with a misdemeanor, but the case was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and a judge sealed the record. Ritter searched Iraq for weapons in the years following the Gulf War. More recently, he's been speaking out against President Bush's policies on Iraq and has been a frequent contributor on national and local newscasts, including Channel 6 News.

When I was referring to "skeletons in the closet" in my last post on Ritter, I had no idea about this. Now of course he's innocent until proven guilty of being a pedophile. Still, if it were true, it would beg the question: was he blackmailed? is that the explanation for his strange behavior and bizarre flip-flops?

The following tow web sites provide more information:,2933,76196,00.html

Apparently, the story was first reported by The Daily Gazette on Saturday. It's also reported that Ritter was arrested before this incident with the sixteen year old girl when two months earlier he attempted to solicit a meeting with fourteen year old girl, who also was an undercover police officer. When the Gazette contacted Ritter about these charges, he apparently lied and said it was another Scott Ritter: "Sorry, you must have the wrong person." Now, the court records confirm that it was him involved in the cases. Whether or not he gets proven guilty of pedophilia in the courts, he obviously knew about the arrests and court cases he was involved in....which means he lied to the Gazette.

Monday, January 20, 2003
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson

That's Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was here at Dartmouth last week, extolling the virtue of the United Nations.

Said United Nations has just elected Libya as the head of the Humans Rights Commission.

Maybe Iraq should be next.

Time for another op-ed

I woke up this morning to find that The D's feature article was "Students protest against 'racist war'." Could anyone explain how on earth the forthcoming war on Iraq could be construed as racist? Then I started reading various reports on the anti-war protests from various news sources. I saw the placards depicting Cheney as Hitler and Bush as Hitler (or "BUSHITLER"), the slogans that said, "1, 2, 3, 4…we don't want your racist war" and "What Bombs would Jesus use?" - and then I decided I had seen enough. Now, I am not strongly for or against the war against Iraq. I am, however, strongly against people who flaunt their stupidity and ignorance, such as the said protesters. If intelligent liberals wish to maintain the credibility of the anti-war cause, then they must speak up in response to these lunatics.

Saturday, January 18, 2003
Hiatus from Posting

By the way, after that long post, I think i'm going to take a brief hiatus from posting because this is taking up a lot of time.

Scott Ritter's Inconsistent Message

Well I guess it didn't take too long for people to figure out that I was actually referring to Justin Sarma's post on the Free Dartmouth blogsite when I wrote in a post on January 12 (“A problem with Percentages): “I recently encountered a web site which claimed 90 percent of the Iraqi WMD were found during the UNSCOM inspections from 1991-1998. Usually people who make this argument refer to comments made by former inspector Scott Ritter, who I believe actually said 95 percent (not 90%) of the Iraqi WMD production capability and Research and Development capability were destroyed."

At the time, I wanted to just deal with the arguments and not make it a response to Justin Sarma, as we have the handicap of not being able to post responses to each other on the same site (though perhaps John Stevenson would invite Sarma to be on the observer). Sarma provided some interesting facts in responding to my post, and he made some fair points.

It seems that Sarma actually agreed with my main argument in the previous post when he wrote: “He argues that UNSCOM claims of 90-95% disarmament are conjectures based only on the weapons that they know exist, and not on the weapons/production plant that could possibly be hidden away somewhere. Admittedly, it is difficult to argue with an opinion whose very premise is non-evidence."

He then addressed my comment that Scott Ritter's opinions were out of the norm with former inspectors. He offered a quote from Richard Butler which seemed to confirm that actually Butler and Ritter felt similarly about the percentages of R&D and weapons production capabilities destroyed. Fair enough. Nevertheless, the fact that both of them claimed a high percentage was found, shouldn't be very relevant, since as I demonstrated in my prior post, any authoritative claim about a percentage found is essentially meaningless.

The more relevant issue would be whether Ritter is the norm or the exception in terms of belief that Iraq does not present a threat today. On this issue, he is very much out of step with former inspectors, including Dr. Spertzel, Kay, and Butler. In fact, Butler has said that he felt Iraq represented a danger both at the time the inspectors were kicked out in 1998 and today. The following interview was with ABC news, but Butler and many of the former inspectors have done numerous interviews with various media agencies in the last couple years. Butler: “Well they were doing the whole range of both chemical and biological weapons in the past. When we were there we destroyed a lot of the manufacturing capability and a lot of the weapons but it is critical to recognize Peter that why they threw us out in 1998 was that we wanted to get all of it and we didn't. And you know, so they're capable in terms of know how, equipment, and I think materials, of doing the whole range. And of course they've been without inspection for three years and reports like that of this guy and other defectors suggest to us quite strongly that they're back in business….. Well Saddam had a nuclear weapons program which we stopped after the Gulf War. At that stage the assessment was he was about six months away from making a bomb. In the meantime he's got a stockpile of raw uranium, some enriched uranium and in the three years without inspection I've seen reports that he's recalled his nuclear weapons design team and Lord knows what he's been able to acquire on the black market. You know I don't know if he's got a nuclear weapons capability but it is established that he wants one and has been seeking one.Ritter's current (2003) disagreement with Butler, Spertzel and other inspectors over the threat represented by Iraq is reflected in the bitter acrimony and name-calling that goes on between them today.

Ironically though, that's essentially what Ritter said in his congressional testimony in 1998, when he quit because of Iraq's refusal to cooperate, only Ritter was more adamant about the threat Iraq posed at the time. I don't think Scott Ritter is a credible source for information because of the inexplicable flip-flops he has made between 1998 and today. These have been well documented. I think the Weekly Standard does a good summary of them here: .

Now I know the weekly standard is a conservative publication, but all of those quotations and facts are well documented. If you don't believe that, you could look at the article from New York Times Magazine which came out November 24, 2002: .

Currently that's in the archives so you have to pay a couple dollars if you want to read it in full, but luckily I copied the entire article into a word document at the time. So if anyone is curious I can email you that.

So is this article from the Washington Post:

Skeletons in the Closet

Now just incase you don't look at those sites, I highlight a few of Ritter's notable flip flops. In his statement of resignation Ritter wrote in 1998: ''The sad truth is that Iraq today is not disarmed anywhere near the level required." Then, in his subsequent hearing in the Senate on September 3, 1998 Ritter was even more outspoken. Here is the complete transcript of his that Senate hearing:
Some highlights:
- “Iraq today is not disarmed, and remains an ugly threat to its neighbors and to world peace. I'm here today to provide you with specific details about the scope and nature of interference by this administration in UNSCOM, the debilitating effect that such interference has on the ability of UNSCOM to carry out its disarmament mission in Iraq
- “But what I can say is that we have clear evidence that Iraq is retaining prohibited weapons capabilities in the fields of chemical, biological and ballistic- missile delivery systems of a range of greater than 150 kilometers. And if Iraq has undertaken a concerted effort run at the highest levels inside Iraq to retain these capabilities, then I see no reason why they would not exercise the same sort of concealment efforts for their nuclear programs.
- “It's a very important discovery. It's one that shows clearly that, A, Iraq has not disarmed, and they've lied across the board about not just VX, but once we get to the bottom of the VX issue, we'll find it exposes additional lies, which cause concern for a number weapons issues.
- “We do not know the totality of what Iraq has. What we do know is that the declarations they have made to the Special Commission to date are false. And the explanations that they give to us about how they disposed of weapons are wrong.
“Iraq has positioned itself today that once effective inspection regimes have been terminated, Iraq will be able to reconstitute the entirety of its former nuclear, chemical and ballistic missile delivery system capabilities within a period of six months.
- “There is no question that Saddam Hussein is the problem here. All decisions pertaining to his retention of weapons of mass destruction in direct disobedience of international law, are made by him and him alone. And he is the only one who can make the decision to comply with Security Council resolution. So I would agree with you that Saddam Hussein is the problem. How you resolve the problem of Saddam Hussein is an issue that's better left to people whose responsibility that is.
- “It's a question of how he chooses to acquire enriched uranium, either through indigenous enrichment or through procurement from abroad. If it's indigenous, it would take some time because the IAEA has effectively dismantled the internal enrichment -- but they have not dismantled the weaponization program per se….For a total reconstruction, it would be a period of several years to reconstruct enrichment capability….I believe within a period of six months Iraq could reconstitute its biological-weapons and chemical-weapons capability….We know in fact that Iraq has a plan to have a breakout scenario for reconstitution of long-range ballistic missiles within six months of the "go" signal from the president of Iraq.
- “SEN. INHOFE: Do you think, in your evaluation of the type of person that Saddam Hussein is, that he would hesitate in any way from using a weapon of mass destruction and delivering it to the United States, if he had the capability? MR. RITTER: My experience with the Iraqi government is that it is a ruthless government and that it would carry out such a task if that was the decision of the president of Iraq.
- “The intent [of Saddam Hussein] is clear; to retain the capability to possess weapons of mass destruction. Back in -- he made a strategic decision in the 1980s to get this capability. He's linked his capability directly to his person. And today his goal is to retain this capability, so that he can menace the region and project himself as a regional superpower.

Now, five years later, one would expect Iraq to be more dangerous and have more WMD capabilities than it did when the inspectors first left in 1998. However, now Ritter is saying the exact opposite things from before. Just to give one example, in July of 2002 Ritter said on Phil Donahue's show on MSNBC: “Iraq has been disarmed fundamentally. Their weapons programs have been eliminated. Iraq poses no threat to any of its neighbors. It does not threaten its region. It does not threaten the United States. It does not threaten the world." To Ritter's bad luck Senator Inhofe also happened to be on the show that night, and also happened to have the transcript of Ritter's 1998 Senate Hearing, which I mentioned above. Ritter also claims now that he would ''be surprised if there is anything in Iraq worth finding and that Iraq is “fundamentally disarmed.

If that weren't enough, his attempts to bridge the gap between these statements and justify his inconsistency, are themselves inconsistent. He recently said: “''I'm a great analyst, and ''I've never been wrong.'' Other times he denies the inconsistency saying “''I don't see where I've changed one iota.'' And other times he attempts an explanation: ''It's not that I was lying or misleading anyone. 'It's just that I said things very forcefully when the fact is there should have been a statement afterward, a 'but' kind of thing. When accused of flip-flopping in his beliefs to a reporter, Ritter said: “''I think 'evolved' is a term I am comfortable with, because it implies a passage of time and everything changes over time. I mean, my taste in beer might evolve over time.'' Not the most convincing explanation.

Now some people explain Ritter's behavior by accusing him of being bribed. They point to the fact that, after being expelled in 1998, he was given $400,000 dollars by an Iraqi-American businessman Shakir al-Khafaji with ties to high-level Iraqi officials to produce a documentary “In shifting sands." Ritter himself admits that Khafaji was “"openly sympathetic with the regime in Baghdad." Frankly though, while I cannot provide a competing explanation for Ritter's inexplicable behavior, I am willing to give him – a former marine – the benefit of the doubt that this was not a quid pro quo deal in which he agreed to sellout his country. Regardless, I find it hard to understand why people continue to cite Ritter as a credible source. (By the way, you can verify this info on Ritter from, among other places, those two links I provided above from the weekly standard, and the nytimes )

I will say that, to my knowledge, Ritter always had some degree of faith in the possibility of weapon inspections. This distinguishes him from Dr. Spertzel and Dr. Kay – both former weapons inspectors I mentioned in my last post and whom I talked about more extensively in my article in the D:

Tracing WMD - In Particular Chemical and Biological Weapons

As I explain in my article in the D, I lack confidence in the inspections process. Here is a brief section from my column:

The necessity to disarm Iraq should be clear, but there is still some question about how that should be done. Some have advocated new weapons inspections, despite the fact that inspectors failed to disarm the country from 1991 to 1998, when they were kicked out. In 1991, Hussein claimed, like he does now, that he had no weapons of mass destruction. It was only after the UNSCOM inspections uncovered sites throughout the country that Hussein revised his story. During the inspections, U.N. inspectors were deceived, threatened, physically forced out of buildings while documents were destroyed and in one case were held in a parking lot for four days. Only an extremely small proportion of the inspection sites were visited by surprise. The Iraqi biological weapon program was only discovered in 1995 on the basis of information released by Iraqi defectors. As the inspectors discovered, many of Hussein's weapons labs were in mobile vans, hidden in schools, underground or disguised with dual purposes (nerve gas/pesticides). Because of this, former Chief Biological Weapons Inspector Dr. Richard Spertzel testified to Congress that monitoring these kinds of weapons is "virtually impossible."

Similarly Dr. David Kay, former UNSCOM Chief Weapons Inspector, testified that disarming Hussein would take "tremendous resources, actually … resources beyond anything I can imagine," and that the only inspection regime that could possibly work would be "very much like an occupation." That's because inspections are designed to confirm the progress of a cooperating government -- not a hostile regime that is determined to thwart inspectors. We can have no confidence that a few dozen U.N. inspectors -- even with "unfettered access" -- can stop a totalitarian regime that has spent approximately 20 years and $40 billion dollars, and employed 40,000 Iraqis, for the sole purpose of developing these weapons. Both Dr. Kay and Dr. Spertzel agree that "ultimately, the only way out of this is the replacement of Saddam."

Justin Sarma claimed that Spertzel is an unreliable source because: “it appears that Spertzel was intentionally subverting the UN inspections regime in order to make it look ineffective to the international community." He based that on an accusation from Ritter (on which he provided a link), but he didn't provide any other specific evidence on that. Since that's a rather harsh accusation, I think it deserves some more evidence to support it.

Sarma also wrote: “2) Chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons often leave traces in labs after they are moved, which makes it hard for Iraq to simply "move stuff around"." I think this statement is a little misleading in the false sense of confidence it inspires. I will admit I'm no expert on chemical weapons detection techniques, but I do know a few things about it. One is that yes, chemical and biological weapons “often leave traces," but also that there are very sophisticated techniques to eliminate or disguise these traces, which the Iraqi government can use. For one thing, due to similarities in chemical composition, chemical weapons production can be disguised with innocuous substances. As I said above, one example is nerve gas and pesticides. In addition to this, chemical compounds can be added to chemical weapons to disguise their presence and sophisticated efforts to sanitize production facilities can make traces virtually impossible to detect. Moreover, traces are usually found in extremely small areas, so one has to know precisely where to look first or else search every single square nanometer of territory in Iraq. Finally, even if traces were found, they alone do not indicate where the chemical weapons were moved to. It's not like following clear footprints. Many of these weapons are produced in mobile vans, not fixed production locations. See the following two sites:

The only thing about the current inspections that reassures me is the ability of the inspectors to interview Iraqi scientists outside the country and to move the families of the scientists out. In the last inspections regime, some of the most important breakthroughs occured due to the bravery of some Iraqi defectors. There are some complications, however, in the process of interviewing scientists and getting their entire families safely out of Iraq, which I won't get into here.

Lastly, I want to ask John Stevenson again to invite Sarma to post on the Observer.

Thursday, January 16, 2003
I wanted you to consider Robeson and Feffer. It is the central episode in the conservative resistance to the secular canonization of the former. As for McWhorter, I read the first few chapters of "Losing the Race." I would not consider him as articulate or as sober a thinker as Shelby Steele, but I give him credit for disregarding the dictates of political correctness as to what American black academics can say. The presence of his voice at Berkeley of all places bodes well for the growth of meaningful political dialogue uninhibited by racialist hysteria on American campuses. He has dedicated his professional academic career to the study of African Americans and black languages, and so should have a certain level of reputational immunity to the all too predictable and reprehensibly reflexive dismissal as sellout, Uncle Tom, or, as Jesse Jackson would put it, "strange fruit."

Tuesday, January 14, 2003
Rush and Race

I swear I did not set out looking for this, but while reading atrios (one of the blogs that was instrumental in pushing the Trent Lott story) I came across some comments on how Clarence Thomas was only planning on promoting his upcoming book on outlets like Fox News and the Rush Limbaugh show (and maybe Barbara Walters). I followed some of the links back a few steps and I came upon some stuff on Rush Limbaugh's history on race. This are direct excerpts from Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (a href="">FAIR), a liberal media watchgroup whose interpretations I don't always agree with, but who I have found to get the facts right (ie. this isn't just some looney-sounding left-wing site like some of the ones that use FAIR's information, but a respected liberal group. You can judge in this case whether they are "over-sensative.")

-As a young broadcaster in the 1970s, Limbaugh once told a black caller: "Take that bone out of your nose and call me back." A decade ago, after becoming nationally syndicated, he mused on the air: "Have you ever noticed how all composite pictures of wanted criminals resemble Jesse Jackson?"
-In 1992, on his now-defunct TV show, Limbaugh expressed his ire when Spike Lee urged that black schoolchildren get off from school to see his film Malcolm X: "Spike, if you're going to do that, let's complete the education experience. You should tell them that they should loot the theater, and then blow it up on their way out."
-In a similar vein, here is Limbaugh's mocking take on the NAACP, a group with a ninety-year commitment to nonviolence: "The NAACP should have riot rehearsal. They should get a liquor store and practice robberies."
-Such quotes and antics -- many compiled by Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) for our 1995 book -- offer a whiff of Limbaugh's racial sensibility. So does his claim that racism in America "is fueled primarily by the rantings and ravings" of people like Jesse Jackson. Or his ugly reference two years ago to the father of Madonna's first child, a Latino, as "a gang-member type guy" -- an individual with no gang background.
-Once, in response to a caller arguing that black people need to be heard, Limbaugh responded: "They are 12 percent of the population. Who the hell cares?"

And some very interesting commentary on Rush Limbaugh and race (full post here:

Conservatives always sputter when you bring this stuff [about Rush Limbaugh] up. It's not naked racism, they say. Perhaps not, if you live in a cocoon. But out in the real world, those of us who have spent any time around bona fide racists (and I'm not just talking about neo-Nazis, but the working-class and white-collar racists we all know about) know exactly how this kind of talk is perceived. It is an unofficial -- but high-profile -- endorsement of their own private views. Most of the examples MWO cites fall into this category. As does one of the more egregious instances I witnessed (there are no links, BTW, because no one archives Limbaugh's material, which is one of the main ways Limbaugh insulates himself from being called to account for his words). It came on Limbaugh's thankfully short-lived TV program. Limbaugh promised to show his audience footage of everyday life among welfare recipients. He then ran video of the antics of a variety of great apes -- mostly orangutans, gorillas and apes -- hanging about zoos. The audience, of course, applauded and laughed. Limbaugh is important, by the way, not merely because he now is one of the primary drivers of the conservative agenda. He also has played a significant role in the transmission of ideas and agendas from the extremist right into the mainstream over the past 10 years.

Does anyone know the story about Paul Robeson and Itzhak Feffer? If you do, Mr. Stevenson, please explain to me this prevailing characterization of him as a hero. James Baldwin, a hero of multiculturalism in his own right, even passed judgement thus: "It is personally painful to me to realize that so gifted a man as Robeson should have been tricked by his own bitterness and by a total inability to understand the nature of political power in general, or Communist aims in particular, into missing the point of his own critique."

interesting events- anyone interested?

In honor of his father and namesake, Paul Robeson Jr. will be visiting our campus in celebration of the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and his father Paul Robeson. We, at the Rockefeller Center, are thrilled to be hosting a Social Policy Breakfast Dialogue on Jan 23 at 8:30 AM in Morrison Commons entitled "Art, Activism and Social Change."

Time: 8:30 AM, Jan 23
Place: Morrison Commons, Rockefeller Center
(BREAKFAST catered by LOU'S)

We cordially invite you to attend this discussion. It will not disappoint!!! Please RSVP by Monday, January 20 ! Can't wait to hear from you!

(I have pasted below some background information about Paul Robeson, his achievements, and his dedication to giving voice to oppresssed peoples.)

Lola Adedokun
Social policy Dialogues Intern

Paul Robeson All-American football player, Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University, and world-renowned actor and singer was one of the twentieth century's most talented Americans. He was also one of this century's most controversial figures because of his outspoken criticism of American racism and his admiration for Soviet Communism. Although his political advocacy precipitated an intense governmental and public campaign against him, Robeson never deserted his convictions. As an artist and as a citizen he asserted that he had no choice but to champion the cause of oppressed peoples around the world.


Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and author of "Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word" Randall Kennedy will be our next featured guest for our next Social Policy Dialogue entitled "Freedom of Speech in this Politically Correct Generation.

TIME: 8:30 AM, Jan 29
PLACE: 1930s Room, Rockefeller Center
(Lou's will be catering the breakfast.)
RSVP: Jan 26

Randall Kennedy is a professor at Harvard Law School, where he teaches courses on contracts, freedom of expression, and the regulation of race relations. He is a member of the American Law Institute and the Bar of the District of Columbia. Kennedy is also an editorial board member of The Nation, Dissent, and The American Prospect.

Kennedy is the featured speaker for the program, "Against the Tide: Envisioning Peace and Justice in Times of Hatred." Kennedy is a leading scholar in U.S. legal history, and a man who served as law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He also is a well-known commentator on hate speech, and therefore has much to bring to our own ongoing community dialogue on these issues.

PLEASE RSVP ASAP!! Hope to hear from you soon!
Lola Adedokun
Social Policy Dialogues Intern

Monday, January 13, 2003
Hayden White and Metahistory

As I have explained below, I have attacked and questioned peoples here in the past on knowledge of political theory, so no hard feelings if no one responds to this. But in the spirit of admitting my limits, and being only a humble poly sci grad student, I ask for opinions and knowledge of literary theory! So, I'd be much obliged if you guys can offer your opinion of Hayden White and Metahistory, where it falls along the lines of literary critics, too pomo, not pomo enough and the like. I see both arguments (this is paper I'm doing on analyzing public intellectuals commenting on international affairs after the end of the cold war-- I'd be curious what you all think are the main important works or your views of public intellectuals). Post here or email me at my alum address. Thanks.

Sunday, January 12, 2003
A Problem with Percentages

I recently encountered a web site which claimed 90 percent of the Iraqi WMD were found during the UNSCOM inspections from 1991-1998. Usually people who make this argument refer to comments made by former inspector Scott Ritter, who I believe actually said 95 percent (not 90%) of the Iraqi WMD production capability and Research and Development capability were destroyed. It would be misleading to claim that Ritter’s beliefs - in the success of the previous inspections, his faith in the potential of weapons inspections and his belief in the nonexistence of an Iraqi threat - represent those of the majority of former inspectors. In fact, Chief Biological Weapons Inspector Dr. Richard Spertzel and former UNSCOM Chief Nuclear Weapons Inspector Dr. David Kay have been outspoken in their belief that the previous weapons inspections were largely unsuccessful, that the nature of the task is impossible, and that the only way to have confidence there are no WMD in Iraq is regime change – and they are certainly not alone with that view among the former inspectors. In fact, Ritter is more of an exception than the norm among the previous inspectors. I will cite my own column earlier this year in The D for more on that.

I just want to mention briefly why I feel the logic is flawed in any authoritative claim that a certain percent of the weapons were found. This is not rocket science; in order to claim that a certain percentage was found and destroyed, one presumes to know what the total amount was. But the point is that noone knows what the total amount was. So if the guess about what constitutes 100 percent is inaccurate, then a claim about the percent found is meaningless. In reality, what Ritter was saying is that 95 percent of the weapons production and research and development they knew about were found, but that 100 percent of what they did not know about was not found. Not so reassuring afterall.

Ritter has also claimed (and others have used the argument) that since 1998, no new materials have been imported into Iraq which would enable Saddam to redevelop his WMD capabilities. The logical flaw in this argument is similar to the previous one. National security analyst, James Robbins refutes that argument in this way:

“How can you know whether or not Iraq has illegally and covertly imported the banned and tightly controlled materials it needs for weapons development? Ritter's answer: He has examined the customs forms. Based on that reasoning, I can confidently state that illegal narcotics imports to the United States have totally dried up or been blocked — the customs paper trail discloses seizure after seizure. No documents show the drugs getting through….Things which by their nature are likely to be hidden cannot be assumed nonexistent just because you can't easily find them, especially if you are only looking at shipping manifests.”

Received, via blitz:

Department of Anthropology
Dartmouth College
6047 Silsby Hall
10 January 2003

James Wright, President,
Dartmouth College
Parkhurst Hall,
Hanover, NH 03755

Dear Jim:
Open Letter Regarding the Operating Budget of Dartmouth College

Over the past few months I have become very concerned about the size and effects of budget reductions already made and those yet to be decided. Significant cuts have already been made in the instructional budgets of academic departments, in the number of courses departments and programs can offer, in library acquisitions, and in recreational and varsity sports, to name a few examples. I know that you and the administration share these concerns and are working diligently to take prudent and effective measures to cope with this very real problem. Over the past few days, a few of these cuts have very selectively been mitigated by partial restorations of funds in response to particular, focused outcries. But the larger picture remains about the same. Significant reductions (with perhaps a few small reinstatements here and there) in this and in the next fiscal year, with surprise announcements of particulars dribbling out episodically. This process may well have a negative impact on the Capital Fund Drive by encouraging giving in response to special pleadings.

I have a few thoughts and suggestions, financial and fiscal, on these matters which I want to bring to your attention and would already have done so had the College followed its own required procedures for timely presentation of its plans and priorities to the Faculty Committee of Chairs’ Subcommittee on Budgets and Priorities for “preparation of the annual institutional budget and its relationship … to the allocation of resources…and those commitments or expenditures of capital funds which have a significant effect on operating budgets” (Organization of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dartmouth College, pg. 19). We are currently in breach of these entrenched clauses of institutional governance.

First, some figures for Dartmouth College (excluding professional schools) comparing selected line items in fiscal year 1999 with fiscal year 2002, the one just past . Figures are in millions of dollars and are provided by the Treasurer’s Office.


Total Expenses 243,129 315,516 29.7

Faculty/Instructional Salaries 28,131 33,942 20.6

All Other Salaries 48,944 68,634 40.2

Scholarships/Awards 37,120 42,015 13.2

Most striking to me is the three-year growth in “all other salaries” relative to all the other lines. (Scholarships, often cited in Dartmouth fund raising as a big and rapidly growing expense has increased the least). Faculty salary growth reflects three years of significant “catch-up” raises plus a small increase in the number of bookkeeping defined positions (FTE’s). Growth in the category “all other salaries” is such that there is an annual wage bill in FY 2002 which is almost 10 million dollars larger than what one would expect if the salaries supporting those “all others” had grown as faculty salaries had. Looked at in another way, the dollar difference between faculty and all other salaries grew from 20, 813 million in FY 1999 to 34,692 million in FY 2002. What are we buying for an annual amount of 10 million dollars (calculated in terms of % growth) or almost 15 million dollars (calculated as a “wage bill gap”) over and above what steady state growth, as measured by faculty salaries, would indicate?

Most of this increase in “other salaries” is traceable to (a) gearing up for the capital fund drive and (b) growth in the “Dean of the College area”, notably the “Student Life Initiative”.

Here is my proposal for mitigating the current fiscal/budgetary crunch. First, I don’t know, nor does the Provost’s Office know (personal communication), exactly how the 10 – 15 million dollar annual amount spent on “all other salaries” is allocated. But the Provost estimates that about half of the amount has supported hiring in anticipation of the Capital Fund Drive. In my view it is not necessary, nor in this case is it prudent in a time of severe operating budget stress, simply to shoe-horn the start-up costs of a capital fund drive into the extant operating budget.

As a bridging measure in the very short term, to soften the impact of a 5 to 7 million dollar annual addition to the operating budget, the institution could borrow money needed to meet initial costs of the capital fund drive at very low current rates. The operating budget would in the near term simply bear the costs of debt service. Additionally, one could utilize some small part of the already incoming and expected contributions to that drive to help finance its costs. As the financial health of the College improves and the operating budget resumes growth supported by growing endowment more, perhaps all, of the continuing costs of the fund drive could be transferred from borrowing and/or self-financing to the operating budget. While this would obviously take away a small amount from the net of total funds raised at the end of the drive, it would spread the start-up operating costs of the drive over a longer period and thereby permit continuation of other programs or projects now or soon to be cut. Slightly less capital at the end of a drive is a reasonable trade off for preservation of valuable current activities. In good times (as in the past) one could argue that the operating budget should absorb and sustain the costs of (continuous) capital fund raising. But to add much or all of those annual costs in a period of one or two years to a budget, which is being significantly cut, is quite another matter. It greatly compounds the pain and sacrifice. I doubt many faculty or alumni realize that the capital fund drive now entails great opportunity costs in the form of cuts to existing outcomes such as curriculum, libraries, athletics, and more to come.

Then there is the matter of the “Student Life Initiative”. Once again the Provost cannot give me a dollar figure, but this initiative is a large, if indeterminate, portion of the 10 to 15 million dollar increment to the annual operating budget as expressed in the category “all other salaries”. I believe the pace of implementation of (i.e. hiring for) this diffuse agglomeration of activities and personnel should be slowed so as to preserve other valued outcomes purchased within the extant operating budget. I also believe no program, however worthy, can efficiently and effectively put to use such huge infusions of money over such a short period of time.

Finally, the process of budget preparation, as mandated by faculty rules, requires open and timely presentation and deliberation of budget options and weighing of alternatives, informed by access to all appropriate data. Open timely discussion prior to making major fiscal decisions would bring to the fore many good ideas, reevaluations of priorities in light of recent exigencies, and create simultaneously a much greater sense of trust, understanding, partnership and commitment to the process and to results (even painful ones) by all involved and all affected.

In light of the foregoing, I would urge you to call an open meeting of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the earliest practicable time to discuss these issues. Because budget decisions have to be made very soon I am sending this as an “open letter” to you, to generate informed interest among the faculty, students, and staff.

I look forward to your response.

Sincerely yours,


Hoyt Alverson
Professor of Anthropology

Friday, January 10, 2003
Irrational Hatred - What the Religious Right Embodies

Stevenson writes:

First of all, I would appreciate some names here. As a Christian fudamentalist critic of the 'Religious Right', I have often commented on their egregious communitarian moralizing of all things political and philosophic. (If one cares about a Christian response to the RR, see 'A Christian Alternative to Political Activism' on this site.) I understand that Eisenman has an irrational hatred of the RR and prefers witch-hunts to reasoning, but I must say that in the Bible Belt, race issues are hardly ever discussed in such a manner where someone is using the Bible to justify racialized thinking. Unlike the academic world, most preacher-come-activist try to maintain some biblical accuracy when interpeting Scripture; and racism flys at the heart of the Gospel. There were many preachers in the South and North who have from the birth of the nation accurately preached that racism is a sin. I understand your need to bash RR, but I do not support blatant mischaraterizations of their positions. That being said, the RR is more likely to support Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes rather than Ralph Reed. (For an example of the religious right radio, which is very popular in Texas, check out this site and listen to about two programs.)

I should like to address a few of these points:

Stevenson would appreciate some names. First, to get the "authoritative" names he seeks, I would suggest, again, that he read Ronald Numbers' The Creationists and some of the other literature that both follows, from a third person perspective, at least this facet of the Religious Right/fundos. However, I think Mr. Stevenson, in his zeal to find academics endorsing the viewpoint I have outlined, forgets that the Religious Right is not - nor ever has been - driven by academics. The people Mr. Stevenson speaks of, who might say "racism flies at the heart of the Gospel," while espousing viewpoints in concordance with Stevenson, are rather far few and far between. Most puzzling is that Stevenson suggests that this is not the case in the Bible Belt. Having lived (as I know Stevenson has) in the Bible Belt for a good many years, I will attest to the contrary. In fact, not only will I, but also will the membership of the KKK, or perhaps some of the more mainstream uber-conservative white supremacy groups. Yes, John, I agree that what they espouse does "fly in the face of the Gospel," but I am sorry to tell you that many of the people in the group in which you so eagerly label yourself a member, do not have share the same interpretation of the Gospel as you. Perhaps the manner in which I attack the Religious Right is rather zealous, but I assure you, John, it is with a very long-reasoned foundation. The most powerful members of the Religious Right, to make the most basic complaint, are not pluralists in any sense of the word, and while I am not a relativist myself, to conflate the two in order to bolster the arguments against pluralism of, say, ideas, is an egregious error. Even if the rest of the agenda was harmless, this flaw is enough for me to launch my own jihad against the crusade of the Religious Right.

Robert Butts, Racist

Andrew honestly reports: I emailed him to congratulate him on the column, and he told me that he'd received a number of hateful emails, which said that his column was "racist." Unfortunately, I can't say I’m surprised by that response. Branding things "racist" is all too often a tactic used by the Left to intimidate people into accepting the status-quo and stifle honest discussion - not to mention that phony allegations cheapen the word. People should recognize a phony accusation of racism for what it is - an attack on a person's character of the worst kind.

I too emailed Mr. Butts to congradulate him; he reported that many congradulatory emails came in; only one called him racist. In my post, 'Against Dogmatism', which I was going which was orgianlly entitled 'The Ethical Reponsibilities of Minorities", I contend three reasons why otherwise intelligent people would sabotage academic freedom and engage in junior varsity race baiting: one, whites lost the moral authority to speak on issues of race of the 1960s; two, white guilt grants power to minorities who embrace the protest identity; and three, this allows the protest intellectuals to hold the whites hostage and control the scope of the debate. (from Friday, December 20th)

The most effect manner of steamrolling an opponent is to call them racist. Consider a history of the Jews. When religious matters dominated discourse, they were killed for the alleged crime of deicide (killing Christ) in the West or for rejecting the Prophet (during the Muslium progroms which were not as bad as the 'Christian' ones but bad nonetheless). As racism became fashionable, they were killed for being non-European of 'Semitic' descent. Now that it is fashionable to be anti-racist or anti-Israel, the Jews are associated with Israel (see the 'Kosher conspiracy' in Britian, Buchanaan's mad ravings, or the synagague buring fest in Europe) and punished for the crime of racism (Zionism is racism delcared the UN). They were banished from Arab lands (save Morrocco where persecution slowly began to rise until an exodus happened), held suspect in Europe and bashed by leftists worldwide. The UN's world conference on racism, organized by Robinson I beleive, was almost exclusively an anti--Zionist, anti-Israel affair. Charges of racism, aided by Tutu bandwagoning on the Zionism is apartheid platform promoted by Arab radicals and Western leftists, are now the most effective means of criticizing Israel. (Not that some Israel supporters are above this calling all crtiques of Israel 'antisemitic.' I do wonder, however, if it is as MLK, Jr said: that anti-Zionism is a convient conver for antisemitism.)

From Rhetoric to Reality

It seems that our freinds over at FreeDartmouth have quite a few interesting things to say. I have included some of the more notable quotes here, some of which need to be deprogrammed. And I may point out that Waligore of "Can't we all just get along?" should meet the Waligore of "The Fine Art of ad hominem attacks"

Eisenman: Per the race issue, there are statements by people who are currently pulling the strings of the Republican Party in their positions as members of the Religious Right that denounce evolution on the basis that it would 'make whites the equal of blacks' (I am unsure of how this logic works on the individual level for these fundamentalists, but I have often heard it said by those who wish to beat the Bible without looking scientifically ridiculous that whites descend from Adam and Eve, while blacks descend from apes...nevermind from whence Asians descend, nor the fact that these fundamentalists are supposedly looking erudite in making this "concession" to science).

First of all, I would appreciate some names here. As a Christian fudamentalist critic of the 'Religious Right', I have often commented on their egregious communitarian moralizing of all things political and philosophic. (If one cares about a Christian response to the RR, see 'A Christian Alternative to Political Activism' on this site.) I understand that Eisenman has an irrational hatred of the RR and prefers witch-hunts to reasoning, but I must say that in the Bible Belt, race issues are hardly ever discussed in such a manner where someone is using the Bible to justify racialized thinking. Unlike the academic world, most preacher-come-activist try to maintain some biblical accuracy when interpeting Scripture; and racism flys at the heart of the Gospel. There were many preachers in the South and North who have from the birth of the nation accurately preached that racism is a sin. I understand your need to bash RR, but I do not support blatant mischaraterizations of their positions. That being said, the RR is more likely to support Gary Bauer and Alan Keyes rather than Ralph Reed. (For an example of the religious right radio, which is very popular in Texas, check out this site and listen to about two programs.)

Waligore: Doesn't common sense tell us that the same speech about state's rights could have been made elsewhere? Even granted that Reagan strongly believed in state's rights, can Andrew tell us the 'common sense' reason why Reagan (or his staff) decided to launch his campaign with a speech about state's rights in this specific town?

Quite rightly, Waligore points this out. In his autobiography (A Personal Odyssey), Thomas Sowell writes about how the Reagan team tapped him to help the President talk about civil rights (edit speeches). He wasn't going to do it but some freinds convinced him to give it a shot (he hates politics). He quit when he told the staffers that the presidential candidate could give a speech about civil rights in Philadelphia, Mississippi. (As a reader I was wondering why) He then pointed out, in the next line, that three civil rights activists had been murdered there (which I didn't know at that point) and that starting there would set the wrong tone. The staffers looked dismayed, decided not to inform the president-to-be because it would be too much hassle. Sowell left in a fury of disgust and the sheer incompetence of the staffers.

Chui: "Jared wrote: "The fact that poor people don't vote is not nearly as sad as the fact that even some of them would vote for Bush." Hmm... this strikes me as a bit paternalistic. I think we have the burden of proof of convincing and educating voters rather than just blaming them for making decisions we don't agree with. What's sad is that we rich, elitist, ivory tower liberals -- and even progressives ;) -- don't think we have to bother to convince low income voters, either. We think they're too dumb to vote "right." Quite likely, many are just smart enough to see that really, the Democratic party isn't so big on representing their interests a lot of the time, either. Elitist academics tell poor voters they're uneducated and can't understand anything so complicated as policy and economics, etc..., so don't bother trying. Voters can then only go on social issues or personality, making them vulnerable to slick, nasty conservatives who sell out these voters to big corporations. What needs to change is that we need to learn how to talk the talk and walk the walk -- and rather than just working on some snobbish level for policies that we in our removed worlds think is good for to common proletariat, actually teach folks how to educate themselves about issues and organize their vote. They're not going to try unless they believe it is possible.

I concur completely. Too often has the radical left, sometimes referred to as progressives, paternalistically whined about poor people (or minorities) who just didn't get it. Some of the contempt is often found in the pages of the Village Voice(s) or in the pages of the Nation as Goldstein ruthlessly attacks 'homocons.' What people must be willing to consider is that their position is not in the best interest of the people they claim to be helping. This elitist contempt is summed up by the enlightened stupidty of Susan Ackerman commented on recent political history: she was dismayed at the success of Republicans in the polls. She comments: I never know how what is obvious to me isn't apparent to 60% of the American people. (I suppose that she hadn't considered the fact that what was obvious to most people had passed her by.) If the poor organize, and willfully reject the a party of lawyers, unions, and 'justice plus', I bet that those who champion these ideas would never pause to consider that their ideas may be, at best, wrong and ultimately, fatal. Instead, they would say: "Hey how can we sell these ideas to the desperate, the damned and the underserving (sometimes known as the poor, the marginalized, and the discriminated against by those racist, racist Republicans.) As for "slick, nasty conservatives who sell out these voters to big corporations" I ask this: who threatens the poor and jobless more, big coporations in a free market or powerful unions who restrict entry in the labour market to improve their position?

Thursday, January 09, 2003
In Today's "D"

John, I also think Robert Butts' column today was very good. I think it was a well-reasoned, well-written, and remarkably considerate piece. There was one small problem I had with it though. Butts wrote: "I'm not saying that race and ethnicity shouldn't be a factor in college admissions -- all aspects of a student's life should be considered. But skin color shouldn't make or break an application, as it does at Michigan." At first that seems like a reasonable statement. However, as small a factor as it may be, if race is the deciding factor in any decision then that's all that matters. If it's not the deciding factor, then it's irrelevant.

I emailed him to congratulate him on the column, and he told me that he'd received a number of hateful emails, which said that his column was "racist." Unfortunately, I can't say I’m surprised by that response. Branding things "racist" is all too often a tactic used by the Left to intimidate people into accepting the status-quo and stifle honest discussion - not to mention that phony allegations cheapen the word. People should recognize a phony accusation of racism for what it is - an attack on a person's character of the worst kind. You know, I always find it remarkable when people, without any sense of irony, claim that a policy which does not consider race, is "racist." Whether one believes that a colorblind policy is a positive or negative thing, it defies common sense to claim it's "racist." There are good arguments for and against racial preferences, and colorblindness, but we have to get beyond the smoke screens.

The D's Op.ed

I must say that Robert Butts had a great op/ed today in the D. He rightly details the situation in Michigan on which the Supreme Court will soon rule. He aptly observes: " Besides, affirmative action programs like Michigan's are superficial, top-down fixes that ignore the root problems like crumbling urban schools and high drop-out rates that perpetuate inequality." He also notes "Worse, preference programs hold back real progress. If racial preferences were eliminated tomorrow, minority enrollment at top-tier schools like Michigan would drop -- that reflects the current educational gap between minorities and whites.But the often-ignored companion phenomenon is that minority enrollment in tier-two schools would shoot up. Doubtless those schools will be thrilled to have every qualified, motivated minority applicant they get. If anything, minority students will end up in colleges better tailored to their academic needs, collect degrees without the strings of preference attached and improve their earning power. Rather than being hurt by the colorblind system, disadvantaged students will get the opportunity to level economic and educational divide in America."

In Good Faith

It is good to see most people posting again. There's nothing better than campus blogs in the morning.

Mr. Samuels: "When critics at home and abroad already charge us of partiality in the conflict on the West Bank, we could never command trust in negotiating even the beginnings of a settlement with an Orthodox Jew at the helm. A Jewish president would do much to validate the American ideal that anyone in this country can obtain its highest office, but now is not the time. I do not question the ability of Lieberman to govern outside of his religioethnic affiliations, but I know that most of the Middle East, as well as the lunatic fringes of the American Left and Right, will."

Of which, Mr. Rao writes: "Regardless of whether an American or a Palestinian espouses such a view, it's anti-Semitic to think that the religion of a Jewish American President will adversely affect American policy" and Mr.Grossman opines "His argument: because a bunch of thuggish theocracies believe in a Zionist conspiracy, we shouldn't fuel that fire by electing a Jewish president. What a great idea, a racial and religious race to the bottom! While we're at it, Mr. Samuels, why not rule out women and Christians, too. After all, our friends the Islamo-fascists might not like them either."

All statements on their face seems reasonable: that the delicate situtation of the Middle East and our favor of Israel could be complicated by a Jewish man at the helm but that those who would notice this are either anti-semitic or are 'thuggish theocrats.' However, let's provide some empirical data to test some of these assertions.

First, that having a Jew at the helm of Middle East policy would needlessly complicate America's bargaining image and excite the fringe. If we could remember back to the 1973 Yom Kippur War in Israel, we also must bear in mind that the Jewish American secratary of state, The Honorable Henry A. Kissinger, negotiated a cease fire and bagan the talks that were later consummated under Carter at Camp David in 1978 (with Prime Minister Begin and President Sadat). While he was traveling the region in shuttle diplomacy, he had to deal with the Saudi and Syrian regimes, who both hated Jews passionately, and with Egypt's Sadat who was a reasonable man. In terms of Middle Eastern policy, he was one of the most sucessful negotiators since. To be sure, most of the Arabs noticed that he was Jewish; but it ended up that they needed America more than their anti-Jewish ideology. We also must consider current American ambassodor to Israel: Daniel Kurtzer, an Orthodox Jew. What he does, or tries to do, is remind Tel Aviv/ Jerusalem (the true capital of the Israeli state) that he too is an Orthodox Jew and on the basis of that shared faith, he would like to negotiate with them to dismantle settlements, withdraw to Green Line, blah, blah.

Second, that Mr. Samuel's comments where antisemitic or that he needlessly appeases 'thuggish theocracies.' First, a definition of antisemitism was not provided at all. If antisemitism includes stating that others may perceive his Jewishness different from us, then I fear for my soul for having thought those kinds of thoughts before. Second, stating that others may have less tolerant conceptions of the world, encapsulated in the Zionist conspiracy myth prevalent among many goyim, is not the same as a 'race to the bottom.' Being the world's superpower, every action that we take gains more significance than it would have somewhere else. Therefore, as responsible American citizens, we need to way the cost and benefits of every action heavily. (Which is why I depise the far left and the so-called 'religious' right. Their endless asserting of their worldviews because they 'know the truth' is bound to cause problems with they attempt to ruthlessly apply their agenda. This is why they have on the most part stayed out of power, in the case of the Greens and Naderites, or form coaltions where much of the agenda is comprimised, as in the case of the religious right.) Mr. Samuels was simply stating that the cost of electing an Orthodox Jew at the helm was higher, in the particular issue area of the Middle East, than the benefits it would bring society.

Wednesday, January 08, 2003
The Administration Still Fails

I opposed the decision to cut the swimming and diving program, and I believe students should play an integral and meaningful role in the decisions the Dartmouth adminstration makes. Yet, I view the decision to reinstate the swimming and diving programs after much protest and media coverage as symptomatic of an administration that has frequently demonstrated an inability to provide inspiring leadership and management.

Rudolph Giuliani states in Leadership that he always tested an initiative before officially announcing it to the public and making a final decision. The administration could learn from his example. The administration should have consulted students, parents, and alumni before it announced its decision to cut the swim team in November. The administration justified its November decision by the need to give prospective swimmers a chance to apply elsewhere and current swimmers a chance to complete transfer applications. The administration could have simply made these parties aware of the potential that the swim team may be cut in the future while it consulted with the Dartmouth community and explored funding options for the program. "Testing" the idea would have allowed the administration to make the right decision in November and not in January.

Instead, the administration loses face by retracting a decision it had basically declared final and not open to debate. The administration loses credibility in enforcing decisions and will now have a more difficult time implementing its agenda in the future (which may not be a bad thing for the students). The administration also weakened the swim team because it will now be difficult to attract prospective swimmers and divers to a program that the administration almost cut. Would you want to swim or dive at Dartmouth now? The point is not that the administration should not acquiesce to student demands but that the administration should not acquiesce to demands after it has made a "final" decision unless it is absolutely necessary to do so. Consultation should occur before a decision and not after.

Spelling out this leadership model in three simple steps:

1.) Consult
2.) Decide
3.) Stand by your decision and your employees unless you have a very good reason to change your decision.


HANOVER, NH – The Dartmouth men's and women's varsity swimming and diving programs will be continued through a funding agreement between a group of students, alumni, and parents and the Dartmouth administration. The agreement calls for the program to be fully reinstated based on a $2 million fund-raising effort.

"I am very pleased that we have reached a positive outcome that enables us to continue the program," Athletic Director JoAnn Harper said. "Through the efforts of a group of generous alumni, parents and friends, and the support of President Wright, Dean Larimore, and the senior administration, we have overcome the budget pressure that forced the original decision."
Dartmouth announced in late November that the swimming/diving program would be eliminated at the end of the current competitive season in March as part of planned College-wide budget reductions.
A recent series of discussions between Dartmouth officials and supporters of swimming and diving (including current students, their families and alumni) produced the agreement. Under its terms the teams will be restored through $2 million in pledges to finance operating expenses for 10 years while other funding options are identified. The continuation of the program next year will be supported with funding arranged through reallocations in the Dean of the College area.

"We are delighted to reach an agreement that allows the swimming and diving program at Dartmouth to continue, while recognizing the budget goals that Dartmouth must meet," said Dean of the College James Larimore. "The College does face significant budget challenges and will take the measures it must to be fiscally responsible. The agreement supports Dartmouth in meeting our fiscal responsibilities and also maintaining the swimming and diving program. We are eager to do that."

President James Wright said that the plan "is a wonderful example of how the Dartmouth community can work together in a constructive effort. I commend the different groups involved – the athletes, Student Assembly, parents, and alumni/ae as well as James Larimore and JoAnn Harper and her staff, and I am pleased that we will continue to have swimming and diving at Dartmouth."
The volunteer effort has been led by former Dartmouth varsity swimmers John Ballard '55, Tom Kelsey '54 and Steve Mullins '54, and by several parents of swim team members, including Dean Allen, Paul and Marilyn Bochicchio, Sheila Brown Klinger, Bart Cameron, and Chuck Zarba.
Ballard, chair of the Board of Overseers of Dartmouth's Thayer School of Engineering, said the $2 million in pledges will be provided to Dartmouth through the newly formed John C. Glover Fund for the Support of Swimming and Diving. Glover, a member of the class of 1955, was widely regarded as a top sprinter when he died in early 1956 while in training as an Olympic swimmer. The athletic department presents annually the Glover Award to the swimming team member "who demonstrates the athletic and scholastic qualities associated with the late John Glover."

"We are grateful to the leaders of Dartmouth for their willingness to listen to the needs of Dartmouth students, the desires of alumni, and the concerns of swimmers and divers everywhere," Ballard said. "They have earned the trust we place in them." The decision to eliminate the swimming and diving program stemmed from the impact that the current general economic downturn has had on Dartmouth, as it has on many other colleges and universities, and the resulting allocation of necessary budget reductions throughout the institution.

The Dartmouth athletic department faces a $260,000 reduction of its $10.8 million annual operating budget. The department had already pared down administrative budgets, increased revenue expectations, and required reductions to intercollegiate, recreation and maintenance budgets the previous year.

Dartmouth faces challenges similar to other Division I institutions in attempting to balance a broad array of intercollegiate and recreational programs and the resources available for them. Dartmouth offers one of the nation's most extensive Division I athletic programs with 34 varsity sports -- 16 men's, 16 women's and two coed -- involving opportunities for more than 900 student-athletes, while having one of the smallest enrollments in Division I with 4,300 undergraduates.

For additional background information, see the Dartmouth Public Affairs Web site,

(603) 646-3661 January 8, 2003

For more information please visit