By Вen Li
Despite a marked restraint in liquor consumption, conversation was extremely lively at the latest installation of the Political Science Association’s series of discussions.
On Thurs., Oct. 4, Political Science professors Dr. Donald Barry, Dr. Shadra Drury and Dr. Rob Huebert attended the PSA Poli-Slosh. All three discussed the impact of, and reasons behind, the September 11 World Trade Center attacks under moderator Political Science Association Director David deGroot.
"I think it was a success," said Tamer Nosshi, PSA Prime Minister. "It allows students to discuss issues with professors outside of a classroom setting which is very important to do. It gives an opportunity for professors to express a certain viewpoint rather than having to remain objective."
Barry opened the discussion with a concise overview of the probable effects of the attack on Canada-U.S. relations. He noted that Canadians seem to approve of a cautious response as opposed to America’s desire for war and pressure to tighten security.
"Canada has been heavily criticized for its allegedly lax domestic and border security," he said. "Notwithstanding that the hijackers, as far as we know, resided in the U.S. for several years, they attended U.S. flight training schools and they evaded security procedures at three major airports in the U.S."
Drury then examined the conflicting philosophies that provoked both the attacks of September 11 and the inevitable American response. She pointed out that the Western perception of Islam is simplified and distorted and that Muslim fundamentalists are motivated by an equally demonized image of Western culture.
"My advice to Muslim society," Drury concluded, "is the same advice I gave to America, be more critical of itself. Muslims should be more critical of their society but also more critical of their religion."
Dr. Huebert concluded the opening statements by discussing the World Trade Center attacks and their likely effect on American security and military policy. Huebert explained the strategy and tactics used by asymmetrical threats like the al-Qaeda, meaning non-state groups using unconventional tactics. He then delved into the steps the U.S. is likely to take and the problems they face, both in fighting an elusive enemy and in bolstering public opinion.
"Don’t expect the events of September 11 to be finished anywhere in the future," Huebert cautioned. "We see a long term problem in which the cure in many ways, if it does not succeed may,s in fact be worse."
deGroot opened the floor to the attending students and faculty once the opening remarks were finished. A steady stream of questions and opinions continued until the event ended, ranging from speculations that U.S. action would be for the benefit of the ‘home audience’ to questions about Canada’s willingness and capacity to militarily participate in any meaningful way.