Letters June 7, 2018


Don’t hold all of AEPi responsible
I am a sophomore at the University of Iowa and a member of the historically Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (“Fraternities in trouble,” May 31). Your editorial last week suggests that the fraternities AEPi and Sigma Alpha Mu should be shut down due to several chapters engaging in underage drinking, hazing and sexual abuse, as well as one chapter promoting racism.

The chapters guilty of sexual misconduct and racism should be shut down immediately. However, I think there are some key points missing in the assumption that because a few chapters act contrary to Jewish values, all 186 chapters should be shut down. If the Jewish fraternities should be shut down because of a few chapters, then we should just shut down Greek life altogether.

The horrible actions of some should not take away from the productive work of the majority. Fraternities have a long tradition of drinking and hazing, and while hazing should be eradicated from fraternities, underage drinking is something almost everyone does at some point and should not be treated as a capital offense. Judaism faces shrinking numbers and AEPi has helped me and many other Jewish men stay connected to their Jewish roots.
Des Moines, Iowa


Hard to follow Cardin’s logic
Sen. Ben Cardin, in an article that defies logic, claims that President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is a bad, even dangerous, policy (“I voted against the Iran nuclear deal, but withdrawing from it is a mistake,” May 24).


I agree with Cardin’s description of the failures in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran was so incorrectly named. It represented complete inaction, merely allowing the other powers to enter
favorable financial deals with the terrorist nation. The plan did not prevent Iran becoming a nuclear nation; it merely delayed it. It did not address Iran’s support for terrorism; in fact, it financed it.

Cardin may claim that there has been rigorous enforcement and oversight of the deal, but an agreement that excluded Iran’s military sites from inspection had no value at all. President Barack Obama recognized this at the time the deal was signed, which was why it was never sent for Senate approval. It was worthless then and it remains worthless now.

Cardin suggests that by withdrawing from the Iran deal, Trump has undermined Tehran’s belief in international agreements. If he is so naïve that he believes the rulers in Iran had any intention of abiding with even the limited restrictions of JCPOA, he has forfeited the right to criticize anyone who confirms his own belief that the agreement left certain long-term questions unanswered.

The folly of Cardin’s about-face
As someone who admired greatly Sen. Ben Cardin’s principled and courageous opposition in 2015 to the Iran nuclear deal, I read with disappointment and perplexity his explanation as to why he now opposes withdrawing from it (“I voted against the Iran nuclear deal, but withdrawing from it is a mistake,” May 24). Struggling with his rationalizations brought to mind the great historian Barbara Tuchman’s assessment of historical “folly” as “pursuit of policy contrary to self-interest” when a “feasible alternative course of action must have been available.”

Cardin himself points to the “folly” of those who supported the Iran deal as having pursued a policy contrary to our own interests. In Cardin’s own words: “I voted against the Iran nuclear deal three years ago because I felt it left certain long-term questions about Iran’s enrichment capabilities unanswered. … Since it was entered into, however, I have worked to ensure there is rigorous enforcement and oversight of the deal.” I understand that once the folly of the Iran deal was enacted, Cardin could do little else but work within the confines of the administration then in power to exercise attenuated enforcement and oversight. But now that the same long-term questions remain unanswered, is it not folly for Cardin to work diligently to enforce a deal that had made no sense to him as opposed to supporting the feasible alternative of exiting?

Often, enacted folly is endured until all its pernicious outcomes are realized. Thankfully in this case, we have the available alternative of exiting the Iran deal.

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