Letters to the editors

Standard for justice

Dear Editors, Re: “No denial for civilian trial” (Nov. 7, 2009).

As I read “No denial for civilian trial,” a few questions came to mind worth thinking about.

How can the U.S. justify the invasion of Afghanistan if some of the evidence was extracted through applying torture?

According to the New York Times, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed—the alleged “mastermind” behind the 9/11 attacks—was waterboarded 183 times.

How can the U.S. be in the ninth year of a war—which was in response to the 9/11 attacks—if Mohammed hasn’t even been convicted yet? Aren’t we all innocent until proven guilty or does that only apply to some civilians and not others?

Why don’t the Al Qaeda “suspects” merit the protection of the American criminal justice system? Again, is the application of justice different because of the person’s background?

I ask these questions because the war in Afghanistan has resulted in thousands of innocent civilians deaths—more than 5,000 due to direct American aerial bombings—and billions of dollars of infrastructural damage.

If the U.S. hasn’t even convicted the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, what evidence is being used to justify this war? It seems that this war is as politically motivated as the Iraq war.

If that’s our standard for justice, I don’t expect extremism or “terrorism” to go away any time soon.

Simon Amherst,

ArtSci ’88

Staff can’t unionize

Dear Editors,

Re: Students: support your staff (Nov. 20, 2009).

I was surprised to read the opinion piece published about support staff unionization at Queen’s. The Queen’s budget is in deficit for the first time in living memory and the deficit is projected to increase. Looking at the latest budget report, it’s crystal-clear the proposed 15 per cent cuts aren’t enough.

Pushing for support staff unionization at this time marks the height of insanity. Any actual or projected increase in support staff costs will be immediately equalized by a reduction in the number of support staff. A great example of this is the current situation of adjunct professors—departments have been asked to prepare a budget without any adjunct professors included at all. I wonder what that means for those professors?

Those who support this campaign need to realize their desire for more money, better benefits, or better job security would be paid for with someone else’s job.

The support staffs at Queen’s are essential and there’s no question they do an excellent job and should be respected and treated fairly. But there doesn’t appear to be much debate about working conditions at Queen’s—staff seem generally satisfied and fairly compensated. Despite a concentrated unionization campaign over the last year, the majority of staff have chosen not to unionize.

Queen’s isn’t against unions and provides everything it’s legally required to in order to allow unions to form. Why should it do more than is legally required? Why encourage unionization when its direct result would jeopardize academic quality and cost support staff their jobs?

I support our staff by opposing a mad scheme that would cost many of them their jobs.

James Simpson,

ArtSci ’11

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