Terror acts elicit calls for profs’ opinions

The life of Yale history professor Ted Bromund took a turn for the bizarre last week as he found himself being questioned about international security issues on the morning radio show of Dee Snyder, a former member of Twisted Sister.

Bromund, who is the associate director of international security studies at Yale, was a little startled at being contacted for commentary on last week’s World Trade Center tragedy by radio stations in Minnesota, Texas and Virginia.

While the course of action our country will take abroad in response to last week’s attack remains unclear, radio and television programs are eager to hear scholarly positions on the topic. Many of these programs have sought out Yale faculty members in an attempt to better understand the options that face the U.S. government.

For John Gaddis, professor of the popular Cold War class, the media attention was overwhelming.

“I couldn’t access my voice mail for a while,” Gaddis said. “And I finally realized that it was because it was full of messages from media people trying to contact me.”

Another heavily contacted Yale staff member is Charles Hill, who has appeared on radio programs in Seattle, Milwaukee, Dallas and San Diego, among other cities.

“They usually want to know who did this, why, and what our options are,” said Hill, who is a Yale Center for International and Area Studies visiting fellow and an accomplished statesman.

So what does Hill tell the media America’s options are?

“They’re across an entire range, from military to police to intelligence to diplomatic work,” Hill said. “It’s different from the Gulf War because it’s much more focused.”

Often, Yale professors are also able to use their knowledge to provide a more expansive view of the situation.

“I’m usually asked questions of context, or to give a broader perspective,” School of Management professor Paul Bracken said.

In addition to being contacted by a number of newspapers and radio stations, Bracken appeared Tuesday night on New Haven television station WTNH to discuss U.S. policy options in the Middle East. These options include launching missiles at Afghanistan and putting U.S. Army forces in Pakistan.

Bracken will now be a regular commentator on international affairs on WTNH.

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