To the Editor:
First, I would like to note that your inclusion of four “anti-attack” and four “pro-attack” viewpoints in Monday’s student columns may mislead readers –especially parents, alumni, and others not on campus –into believing that student opinion is split equally between the two sides.
My impression is that the vast majority of students favor some form of targeted military action in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. While I applaud your desire to print both sides of the issue, I think it is extremely important to note the fact that the anti-attack views were vastly over-represented on the page.
Second, I am disappointed by many of the naive and flawed anti-attack arguments.
To point out one, Leela Yellesetty argues that we ought not to engage in targeted military strikes for fear of enraging people even further and provoking more attacks.
But invoking this argument permits terrorism to achieve its goal of scaring us into changing our behavior and muting our response out of fear. It is easy for the doves to advocate pacifism when they bear no direct responsibility for protecting the lives and security of American citizens, as our government and military do. These writers have the luxury of berating our government’s current policy without having to recommend an alternative short-term strategy.
Yes, supporting democratic regimes and promoting development in the Middle East may prove helpful in the long-term. But, I ask the pacifists, how do we respond today to prevent terrorists around the globe from plotting more attacks?
Do we simply permit known terrorist training camps and infrastructure to remain intact in Afghanistan while we wait for a nebulous long-term policy to produce effects decades in the future?
Elizabeth Berman ’02
OCTOBER 15, 2001