Business as usual on U campus as strikes begin

Liz Kohman and

Leisurely Sunday mornings were interrupted with news of the U.S. attacks on Afghanistan, but the University community seemed to continue with business as usual.

Government officials spent their Sunday afternoons providing support for the state and reassuring citizens about their own security.

For many students, news of the attacks competed for attention with football games, studying and crisp, sunny fall weather.

At Campus Pizza and Pasta, 15 people sat around the television watching a football game.

“We watched CNN from 11:30 to noon,” said Joe Schuetz, a Campus Pizza worker. “Then football won out.”

Scott Richardson, a University alumnus dining at the Big Ten restaurant, said he thought the U.S. attacks were a good thing.

“I think they’re hiding Bin Laden,” Richardson said. “They should turn him over and we should attack them until they do.”

Nizar Alsadi, owner of Dinkytown Tobacco, was watching CNN on a television in his store. He said the attacks would only make Muslims more angry with America.

Alsadi, who is Palestinian, had a brick thrown through his store window following last month’s attacks. He said he felt bad for victims of the attacks as well as for the people in Afghanistan.

“They’re bombing innocent
people,” Alsadi said. “America doesn’t care about Muslims.”

Others said they understood the need for retribution but wondered if attacking Afghanistan was the answer.

“It’s kind of nice to see justice, but on the other hand, it’s war. No one likes to see war,” said C.J. Scheff, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.

University President Mark Yudof said he was glued to the television following coverage of Sunday’s attacks. Though he said it is important to stay updated on current events, he said University classes would continue as scheduled.

“We have to go on with our
regular duties as students, staff and faculty members,” he said.

Yudof also said students should continue to have policy discussions.

“We’re a democracy. We should continue discussing these things,” he said.

As University community members reacted to the news, elected officials also did their best to synthesize and analyze the Bush administration’s decision to bomb Afghanistan.

Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., said the military force used Sunday was expected and is just one component of a broad campaign against terrorism.

Wellstone also said he thinks Secretary of State Colin Powell is doing a superb job creating an international support system. And the U.S. military is following its promise to target terrorist camps.

“I pray for the safety of all U.S. military personnel … I also pray that no innocent Afghans are hurt in the process,” Wellstone said.

When Congress convenes on Tuesday, members will focus their attention on the U.S. retaliation and continue working on solutions to boost the failing economy, Wellstone said.

He said he doesn’t see Congress approving a declaration of war in the near future.

Gov. Jesse Ventura on Sunday released a statement supporting the Bush administration.

“As I have said in the past, this is likely to be a long war,” Ventura said. “It will no doubt be stressful, but we must be united and willing to sacrifice in order to preserve the freest society this world has ever known.”

Ventura said although there was no evidence of immediate safety concerns, his staff will check all emergency systems and have regular contact with state and federal public safety organizations.


Liz Kohman welcomes comments at [email protected]
Megan Boldt welcomes comments at [email protected]