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UC Berkeley Point of View

Which recent event related to the White House is the most troubling?

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– The White House has come under fire for a lot of things lately: among them, the Bush Administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, the indictment of Scooter Libby, the milestone of 2,000 American deaths in Iraq, and the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Miers. In this informal survey, we asked members of the Berkeley community which of these - if any - they thought was the most troubling, and why.

Bernice Leslie
'First of all, I am not a citizen so my opinions are probably different. I think most people would say Katrina, but I am more interested in the deaths in Iraq. With Katrina, when people look back, they might just say, 'Well, disasters happen.' But the Iraq war will be part of history, and I think the deaths in Iraq are burned in people's minds. If 2,000 U.S. soldiers have died in Iraq, just imagine how many native Iraqis have been killed. And I do believe there are some people who are thinking about that.'
—Bernice Leslie, fourth-year bioengineering major. Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia

'All the things you just mentioned are smoke screens by the liberal media and the left wing of the Democratic Party. There are some reasonable Democrats, but the party seems to have been hijacked by MoveOn.org, Michael Moore, and Cindy Sheehan. The FEMA response to Katrina was no different than its response to any other  catastrophe: you heard the same complaints after Hurricane Andrew. Valerie Plame [the reason behind Libby's indictment] wasn't a covert operator; if she was, her husband Joe Wilson shouldn't have been writing op-eds for the New York Times. The Harriet Miers nomination — whoever Bush nominates is going to get a fight, it's a no-win situation. The 2,000-deaths marker in Iraq? Not to marginalize people dying, but this number pales in comparison to a single Civil War battle. Two thousand is a number: you can make a milestone out of any number you want. If you're committed to an action, you have to be prepared to take casualties.'
—Richard Ogar, Library Technical Services
Richard Ogar

Laura Ibarra
'The response to Hurricane Katrina - I think the government should have done something sooner, taken the warnings more seriously. I haven't been following the Supreme Court nominations, but I've always been against the war in Iraq, so the 2,000 deaths are important to me, too. I really hope that voters will remember these things and show their opinions in the next election.'
—Laura Ibarra, first-year student. Hometown: Fresno, CA

Charlotte Jones
'To me, the failed Hurricane Katrina relief effort is the most important out of all of them. We need to help our own instead of running off to help other countries. And yes, I think people will remember Hurricane Katrina when it comes time to vote.'
—Charlotte Jones, Engineering Research Support Office

'Hurricane Katrina really exposed this racial dynamic between blacks and whites, this myth of America. Katrina really showed that America is still vulnerable, still really struggling with this issue it was supposedly past. But I don't think any of the fallout will stick. The media does such a great job of moving on to the next thing every week that we all just forget.'
—Marco Iglesias, fourth-year rhetoric major and philosophy minor. Hometown: East Los Angeles
Marco Iglesias

Angelica Fabular
'I am not really following any of those things. What is important to me is Proposition 73 in the California election next week. [Prop. 73 reads: "Should the California Constitution be amended to require notification of the parent or legal guardian of an unemancipated, pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion on the minor?"] I think they should leave the law as it is. If they make it where minors have to tell their parents, those minors will get an abortion somehow anyway, and maybe risk their life to do so.'
—Angelica Fabular, second-year student (intended major: social welfare). Hometown: Los Angeles

'You mean which is the most significant failure? It's hard to say. The indictment is probably the most important, but the response to Katrina is also perceived as a failure of those that Bush chose to put in positions of responsibility. As far as what is going to happen — will the indictment shed more light on the setup for going to war in Iraq and how public opinion was shaped? — I don't know. It depends a lot on what the Democrats do now.'
—Niklaus Largier, professor, department of German
Niklaus Largier

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