To the Editor:

I attended the geopolitical talk on Sept. 11 at Battell Chapel and was extremely disappointed at the unbalanced perspectives of the panelists. A lot of the issues addressed seemed more akin to boilerplate Republican rhetoric, specifically from professor Donald Kagan, than what the talk was billed as: a discourse on post-9/11 geopolitics by scholars at a leading university.

I’d like to make two points regarding Kagan’s speech. First, as a scholar of military history, I was shocked at his prescription of increasing U.S. military strength given that the analysis of our military readiness pre-9/11 was not that we don’t have the military might to destroy the world many times over with our firepower, as the most armed nation in history, but that our military apparatus was not appropriately positioned to gather and analyze intelligence information to forewarn politicians and military officials of terrorist threats or attacks.

A blanket increase in military spending is not what we need but a smarter use of our military technology, intelligence gathering and analysis.

Second, Kagan again follows standard Republican rhetoric by pointing to Saddam Hussein as a threat to U.S. security though there has been no proof that he had anything to do with the attacks of 9/11.

He makes the typical allusion to Saddam as akin to Hitler that has become a formulaic way of whipping up nationalistic fervor. This is the tiresome smoke and mirror routine that we’ve seen in the past to divert attention away from America’s real interest in the region: oil. It is also a means of getting Congress to write a blank check for the military and return to the huge budget deficits of Bush Senior’s administration.

In summary, the talk had little to do with academic discourse. As a student of Yale, I am embarrassed and ashamed at the irresponsible, cavalier attitude taken by our professors that was light on meaningful analysis and heavy on reactionary nonsense.

Even at a top university, it seems that we have learned nothing in the last year.

Kristen Spainhower FES ’03

September 16, 2002

To the Editor:

On Sept. 11, we went to a panel discussion on geopolitics in the context of the Sept. 11 attacks. Each of us decided to get up to ask a question after the discussion. One of us stood up to challenge a panelist, the other to challenge the absence of women in line. For the first half-hour, we were both the only women standing in our respective lines, where the ratio of women to men was 1-to-6. We all recognize the pattern.

Why don’t we women do something to change it? If nothing else, public speaking is good practice.

Andrea Panchok-Berry ’03 and Alexandra Diaz-Almaral ’03

September 11, 2002