Volume 95, Issue 22

Thursday, October 11, 2001
 
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NEWS

BOG hopefuls face USC

Expert applauds American response

USC burns midnight oil debating student status

Dope heads dig for drags in dump

BOG profile: Savtaj Brar

ENG gets 'phoney' money

News Briefs

Expert applauds American response

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff


"Good afternoon and welcome to the war," began journalist Gwynne Dyer, speaking to a full house in the McKellar Room yesterday on the subject of the 'new war.'

Dyer, an expert on military and international affairs, is the author of a weekly column syndicated by 150 newspapers in 30 countries. His television series, WAR was nominated for an Academy Award.

His lecture focused around three questions: the goals of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the American response and the impact on Canada.

Dyer said the attacks on the World Trade Centre are backed by a particular world view and strategy.

The terrorists intended to "stampede" the United States government into lashing back with all forces, causing the death of many innocent Muslim civilians, Dyer said. In theory, this reaction would turn public opinion in Arab countries against the U.S., inciting revolutions to overthrow governments and unite against the West.

"An unthinking American response could have set off revolutions," he said, noting the U.S. track record of lashing out after previous terrorist attacks. "Although it would feel good, it wouldn't do much to kill Osama bin Laden.

"Americans didn't walk into the trap. It was 25 days before anyone pulled a trigger – that astonished me," he said, adding it was reassuring that the George W. Bush administration understood Osama bin Laden's strategy.

He said there is debate in Washington over how much retaliation is enough to appease the U.S. public before the troops can be brought home.

"Americans are trying to walk the fine line between overreaction and no reaction. So far, it would appear the more restrained faction is winning, but I cannot guarantee they will continue to win."

Dyer discussed the pros and cons of different military strategies the U.S. could have pursued in Afghanistan. "The trick is to get out with the least amount of damage to us, to Afghans, to everyone," he said. Dyer said the Canadian government is dealing with its involvement in Afghanistan as carefully as possible.

"Popular opinion [in Canada] would not support casualties," he said.

Darren Hall, a fourth-year media, information and technoculture student said he was pleased with the tone of the lecture. "I was surprised at how much intelligence he gave to the U.S. perspective. He seems to think they're aware of the trap [the acts of terrorism were intended to set] and they know what they're doing."

Charles Jones, a Western political science professor, said he found it interesting that Dyer said the best reaction would have been no reaction, but that America needed to satisfy public opinion with retaliation.

–with files from Chris Lackner




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Copyright The Gazette 2001