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Faculty gather to offer insight

One year after faculty and students assembled at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy to react to the events of Sept. 11, a follow-up panel of five professors held a forum Wednesday night to present different perspectives of the attacks.

Bruce Jentleson, director of the institute, said the event has left Americans with a sense of vulnerability and made them realize "that foreign policy matters." He introduced the panel of professors, who spoke on how Sept. 11 has changed the way we look at foreign policy, bioterrorism, law and language.

Bruce Kuniholm, a professor of public policy and history who was a foreign policy advisor in the Jimmy Carter administration, said the United States' current foreign policy is not multilateral enough.

"Like his father, [President] George W. Bush has been criticized for focusing too much on pragmatics and lacking a vision for U.S. foreign policy. He focuses too much on a national audience," said Kuniholm, a former vice provost for international affairs. "It's not just us, but the whole international community that faces a threat."

"Any kind of remedy will require international consultation and support," he added. "The U.S. can't combat terrorism on its own."

Maureen Quilligan, chair of the English department, focused on the historical development of the word "terrorism" and how its meaning has changed since Sept. 11. Quilligan noted that while it once referred to a government that ruled by intimidation to exercise its power, as in the French Revolution, the word's meaning changed in the 20th century to encompass "anyone who attempts to further his views through acts of violence."

She explained that the current administration has focused its war efforts more on specific states that associate with terrorism rather than the actual people who directly carry out attacks. "The term, after Sept. 11, has gone back to the old definition, since we now place so much emphasis on state-sponsored terrorism," she said.

Scott Silliman, director of the Center for Law, Ethics and National Security, explained the legal implications of the U.S. government's reaction to Sept. 11.

"The Bush administration has used the term 'self-defense' to not only attack the Taliban as a preemptive measure, but is using it now to justify unilaterally attacking Iraq in an anticipatory measure due to the mere possibility of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"Until the threats of using these weapons have been made explicit and the evidence of their existence is certain, the predicate of self-defense against Iraq does not exist," he added.

Silliman expressed disapproval toward the Bush administration's attitude in labeling prisoners of war and unlawful combatants.

Dr. Barton Haynes, professor and chair of the Department of Medicine and director of the Human Vaccine Institute, talked about the new and real threat of terrorism.

"The tragic event has made us realize that bioterrorism is a reality, that we live in a global community in which the health of others is critical to our well-being, and that cooperation on bioterrorism prevention research must be a collaborative effort," he said.

About 120 students attended, and they responded with feedback through questions.

"A lot of people are really cynical when they talk about Sept. 11," said sophomore Shiying Lee. "It is enlightening to know there are people who have put a lot of thought into this and have engaged in the issues [Sept. 11] has made us face."

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