Debate on Legacy Left by 9/11

Ten years after the tragic attack, Whitworth and Gonzaga faculty met to debate the aftermath of 9/11 in the fall semester’s Dean’s Dialogue as a part of Whitworth’s Speakers and Artist events. Students and faculty gathered in the Hixson Union Building Oct. 3, to hear the different points of view on the United States’ response to 9/11 in this Speakers and Artists event.

The panel consisted of professor of political science Kathryn Lee, professor of sociology Raja Tanas, associate professor of political science Patrick Van Inwegan and Lt. Col. Greg Jacobson of Gonzaga University.

Tenas focused more on the taboo associated with talking about the reasoning behind the attacks.

“We have not yet talked about the motive behind 9/11,” Tenas said. “It’s like a taboo topic; nobody ever gets to ask the question why it happened.”

Tenas went on to propose the idea that the U.S. has made a drama out of the attacks, with the media hyping up different aspects for audience intrigue.

“The media abandoned their responsibility to tell the American citizens the truth,” Tenas said. “What was needed to ask was: what was the motive behind the attacks?”

Michael Le Roy, executive vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty, moderated the debate.

With the objective of looking at the legacy of the Sept. 11 attacks, Le Roy said he believes in the importance of holding debates on the Whitworth campus.

“Through Speakers and Artists events students really benefit,” Le Roy said. “The debates bring contemporary issues to life.”

Panel members said they had each seen the U.S. affected in various ways, which were presented in the opening statements.

Lee focused on civil liberties, concerned that the U.S.’s new focus on prevention vs. punishment has been a great cost to the American citizens’ freedoms.

“What is appropriate to keep us safe?” Lee said. “We are losing a bit of our soul for national security.”

Lieutenant Jacobson opposed Lee’s suggestion by saying he believes it’s important to research those associated in groups related to crime, but agreed that civil liberties need to be kept in mind.

“The military just wants to learn in order to be able to intercept upcoming attacks,” Jacobson said. “We need to gain more information about these people without infringing on their civil liberties.”

Van Inwegan compared the U.S.’s military with a young boy’s hammer in justifying why he believes we never should have become involved in the Middle East.

“For a little boy with a hammer everything is a nail,” Van Inwegan said. “In terms of foreign policy we have a big hammer. If we see something out there like instability in the Middle East, we too often turn to our hammer. You don’t need a hammer for every construction problem, just like you don’t need the military for every foreign policy conflict.”

The panel addressed multiple questions from the audience, disclosing views on how the U.S. and world have adapted from the 9/11 attacks 10 years later.

 

Story by Sydney Conner

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