Letter: Some of your own advice

By The Daily Illini

I’m writing this in response to Mr. Olson’s letter, “Think for Yourself” (Oct. 19). Mr. Olson, I would just like to say that reading your letter was like watching Tucker Carlson insulting Jon Stewart on Crossfire. Just stop for a moment to think about what you said. “If you truly think this war is all about oil and you are opposed to it, then shut up about gas prices and think for yourself for once.” So … because we oppose a war about oil, we shouldn’t complain about the higher gas prices that come because of it? What kind of logic is that?

And are you saying that because we think it’s an oil war, we aren’t capable of independent thought? That we take our cues from Michael Moore? As opposed to whom, FOX News and Bill O’Reilly? I’ve got some news for you: not all oil-war proponents get their ideas from Michael Moore. Making a blanket statement like that would be like me saying that all pro-war types are Rush Limbaugh’s love-slaves. But I don’t do that, and neither should you.

But let’s look at your reason for the war. Ignoring the whole WMDs debacle, you’re saying that “regime change” was a good reason for the war. We’re democratizing those oppressed people in the Middle East, right? We have the moral high ground, right? Well, I’m sorry, but I was unaware that The White Man’s Burden (Google it) still was alive. Oh sure, maybe the terms have changed a little – India is now Iraq, England is now the United States and “civilize” is now “democratize” – but in essence, it’s the same. These are the same justifications used during the Age of Imperialism. The British “civilized” India, the Spanish “converted” South America, and now, the United States is “democratizing” the Middle East.

For the sake of argument though, let’s humor you and say we did conquer Iraq to “overthrow the most tyrannical leader of our era.” Then, why Saddam? Why not, oh, say, Kim Jong Il? Both are pretty bad to their people, so let’s move on to WMDs. We think Saddam had WMDs and might have used them to threaten us. On the other hand, we know Kim Jong Il has WMDs, and he’s aiming them (Taep’o-dong missiles) at our allies! And how about direct terrorism? Saddam invaded our trading partner, Kuwait, in 1991. Kim Jong Il extorted $500 million annually from us to halt Taep’o-dong testing. He coerced us, Japan and South Korea into paying him $6 billion in 1994, and now threatens to continue with nuclear missile testing unless we give him free oil! Which one seems more tyrannical to you?

Of course, it could just be that Iraq’s an easier target. But if you think that, I have one word for you: Sudan. All the tyranny you know and love, without that military filling. Oh, but they trade us gum arabic – let’s not invade them.

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So, what reasons are left? If it’s not because Saddam is the most dangerous tyrant/terrorist, and not because Iraq is the easiest target, and there are no WMDs in Iraq, the only possible reason left is their oil.

Well, what do you think, Mr. Olson? Did I do enough of my own thinking? Maybe next time, you ought to take some of your own advice.

Vincent Chin

senior in engineering