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News ::
Two MIT Panel Members Advocate Assassination and War, Others Urge Caution
12 Sep 2001
Center for International Studies at MIT held a forum Wednesday night to discuss attack on New York City.
(Cambridge, MA) The Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology held a public forum on campus Wednesday night to discuss the recent attack on the United States. The panel dominated the discussion while it fielded about twelve questions from an audience of about two hundred.
Professor Steve Van Evera endorsed a policy of "Israelization" and "taking the gloves off" to combat terrorism. He hinted that U.S. citizens should accept some loss of civil liberties to combat terrorism and strongly advocated assassination of suspected terrorists.
Professor Barry Posen argued that the U.S. should prepare for a long war against unnamed enemies because these enemies oppose the "capitalist, democracy-leaning" world the United States has built in the last century. He also suggested that the U.S. should accept "more collateral damage," meaning killing more innocent people, than the U.S. has in the past. In addition, he stated that the war will be "ugly" and that "[the U.S.] will win." He based his push for war on his belief that the enemies will not stop fighting until the world political and economic system that the U.S. has built collapses.
Other members of the panel and audience urged caution. Professor Bala Rajagopal stated that recent "Draconian" anti-terrorist laws already subvert civil liberties and threaten hard-won freedoms.
Another panel member, Senior Research Associate Allison MacFarland, stated that citizens need to look at U.S. behavior as a possible motivating factor in the attack. In a post-discussion interview, she elaborated by calling the U.S. bombings in Africa and Afghanistan several years ago "terrorist responses." She was disturbed by the panel's and the nationís push to increase the level of violence, and noted the difficulty the U.S. has in "looking in the mirror."
Many members of the audience were concerned with a potential cycle of violence and warned against disproportionate responses to the attack in New York. One audience member received the only ovation of the night for an eloquent plea against an over-reaction by the U.S. government, saying innocent people would suffer the most.
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