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ISSUE 116 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 4/11/2003

Signs for peace among celebrities criticized

By Megan Sutherland
Contributing Writer

Friday, April 11, 2003

When Michael Moore’s name was announced at the Academy Awards as the winner of "Best Documentary for Bowling for Columbine," it seemed apparent he would use his speech to lambast the war against Iraq.

He did, and while he was one of the few who verbally expressed disapproval, many stars donned dove pins to show support for peaceful resolutions.

Such opposition has led to controversy as to exactly why this war is taking place and whether it is justifiable or not.

This hostility has given conservative TV show host Bill O’Reilly of Fox’s "The O’Reilly Factor" something to talk about. When he’s not getting Ludacris’ ad for Pepsi yanked off the air, O’Reilly likes to debate with guests on his show, on what the actual facts of the war are, eradicating anyone’s manipulation or biased rendering of "facts." Recently, he called celebrities like Moore "dumb celebrities," claiming that they are misinformed about the war and are using their influence to mislead others into believing fallacious arguments.

In a recent article, "Yes, You’re Entitled To Your Uninformed Opinion," he claims that Hollywood is ill-informed about history, and he wishes he could embarrass such stars about their historical ineptitude.

In the article, O’Reilly compares Hitler’s takeover of Europe and genocide of 55 million to the current situation with Saddam Hussein’s oppressive regime.

He points out that the government has learned from the policy of appeasement that allowed Hitler’s power to grow unchecked, thus, making it vital to overthrow Hussein before it is too late.

O’Reilly’s opponents point out that the United Nations did not feel the United States had sufficient reason to justify such an attack. They claimed it would be only justifiable to find and punish Osama Bin Laden and his followers, as they actually did something to warrant action. But by choosing to ignore U.N. sentiments, the United States not only appears arrogant in their disregard for U.N. approval, but sets a dangerous precedent.

The entire notion of the U.N. is an alliance of countries that work together, and by separating itself, the United States paves the way for other U.N. countries to act without approval. Despite this, O’Reilly, and others for the war argue the United States has long needed to "finish off" Hussein’s tyrannical rule and should therefore discount U.N. disapproval.

Another point of contention is the motivation for the war. Those against the war have suggested some of the following motivations: a desire to obtain the world’s second-largest oil supply, the inability to find Osama Bin Laden, and the need to show Americans some kind of "war on terror", the fact that Hussein tried to kill Bush’s father, and general Western arrogance.

O’Reilly claims such suggestions are purely ignorant and show no knowledge of Hussein’s human rights record and the imminent danger he poses to the rest of the world.

O’Reilly cynically adds, "Most anti-war stars are not real big on confronting complicated historical questions. It is much easier to flash peace signs … and then retire to eat lavish dinners paid for by fawning sycophants."

In the end, it all depends on whether or not people trust what the government tells them, what the government’s actual intentions are, and what the government tells the public. As O’Reilly suggests, when looking at history, it is uncertain whether trusting the government is historically wise.

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