Letters to the Editor
Forming a Military Conscience
I was in ROTC as an undergraduate student here at Xavier during World War II. I was in Patton's Third Army in Europe and also in the Philippine Islands. I have a Combat Infantry Medal from the 86th Black Hawk Infantry Division.
Recently, some students from ROTC dialogued with students from Dorothy Day House. In the 1990s, Scott Jackson got the highest award in ROTC and also the Peace Studies Scholarship.
My vision is for a world in which law replaces war. In the meantime, we need international peacekeeping forces in areas such as Israel-Palestine to help replace violence with democratic international law. Even in areas of violence, we need to observe the Hague Convention, the 4th Geneva Convention, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all international and moral law.
In the Challenge of Peace, the U.S. Catholic Bishops clearly spell out moral standards for a just war. I would hope that Xavier ROTC students would be selective conscientious objectors to service they decided was contrary to their conscience. Recently, 350 Israeli Army Reservists decided in conscience that they could no longer serve in the occupied Palestinian Territory.
Hopefully, Xavier will help all students to form their conscience on war and peace issues.
—Benjamin J. Urmston, S.J., Director, Xavier Peace and Justice Programs
As an Edgecliff alumna, Class of '59, I have long felt little or no connection with Xavier and have for some time objected to the use of slick publications to market the University. The current issue, Spring 2002, was particularly objectionable. The cover, depicting a battle ready young woman, was certainly not "reflective of the entire Xavier community" and most certainly not representative of the Edgecliff values that were so formative in my life. Glamorizing combat troops stands in opposition to our Christian mission of peace. I cannot imagine Christ depicted in such a way and fail to see the power behind the image as anything more than sensationalism capitalizing on current marketing trends that use patriotism for monetary gains.
Since I consider this magazine a waste of resources, ecologically as well as financially, and now, more than ever, a matter of conscience, I ask that you please remove my name from your mailing list.
—Janet Claire Frank
Missing the Issues
I have read the different articles regarding the ROTC program and four alumni's role in our nation's response [Spring 2002]. I have a few comments.
First, to limit those "fighting terrorism" to those involved in military combat is naive and ignores the root causes of terrorism. Secondly, there are numerous alumni who are working for peace and justice throughout the world, including the Middle East, whose contribtutions are lacking in this issue, and almost all of your alumni profiles.
Third, we are Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher learning in which conversation regarding appropriate responses, including the just war theory, passificism, conscientious objection. These are the issues which should be discussed in this magazine, not the pro-military stance it seems to have taken (see photos). I am not anti-military, nor am I making a comment on the appropriateness of the U.S. response. But this is the issue which should be at the center of a university magazine.
Fourth, the issue you missed was the relationship between the Peace and Justice programs and ROTC. Father Klein's quote spoke to the heart of the issue, which you ignored for, dare I say, a fluff piece.
Fifth, and finally. It is shame that this is still called Xavier magazine. It is no longer a magazine and has not reflected any substantive thought in several years. This has become an alumni newsletter.
—Brian Doyle BAU '94
Like the insubstantial, glossy alumni magazine itself, the "Leap of Faith" cover story about Xavier's ROTC program was all glitter and no gold. I searched in vain for some acknowledgementas to the androgynous-looking photo of the collegiate soldier in warpaint on the cover. Who was/is s/he? If it is a woman, she is all dressed up with nowhere to go. She will not be permitted to fight alongside the Xavier boys who seem so anxious about the possibility of combat.
Not to worry, guys. In today's military, only the tiniest percentage of you will ever see combat. And, as indicated by the statements of the grads serving in Afghanistan, they will more likely be killed by massive "friendly" overkill, than by engagement with the armies of "the axis of evil."
The article's title suggests these student-warriors are faith driven. Yet, there is not a single mention from any of these students of their being guided by faith in opting for the military.
And what of the faith and morals of the University's president? In a Mr. Rogers-like admonition, Father [Leo] Klein cautions, "They should be very responsible army people." May I humbly suggest that the president's primary responsibility should be to the Gospel?
If there was no defending the fact that all of us undergraduates were forced to do ROTC in the 60's, the sin is compounded in the present day, when Xavier is among only a handful of Jesuit colleges still taking money from the same institution that helped kill Jesuits in Latin America in the 80s.
There may be some rationale for a modest post-Cold War military establishment, but a Catholic university betrays its mission and its God by underwriting it.
—Jim Luken '66
(Editor's Note: The woman on the cover is Joanna Brown, who is mentioned in the story. Also, Leo Klein, S.J., is vice president for mission and ministry, not the University president.)
War & Peace
Having read the "War & Peace" article in the Winter 2002 issue of Xavier, I felt compelled to respond. While I believe [Father Kenneth] Overberg's statement is far more relevant than that of [Adrian] Scheiss, even the former's analysis has the major flaw of not addressing the primary cause of terrorism against the U.S.: the policies of our nation, in the interest of multinational corporations, which attempt to control other nations.
This problem in our foreign policy has probably also been true of many other nations which have been superior econmically and militarily to their neighbors. But now the stakes are much higher, since the world is a virtual neighborhood, and our nation seeks to use its awesome power to control the labor and natural resources of the rest of the globe.
But this is more than a matter of American power; it is also a problem of people all over the world suffering, as is partially illustrated by the deaths of thousands of people in Central America and over one million people in Iraq due to U.S. policies. An unending cycle of violence lies ahead unless cooler heads prevail. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, "We must develop a world perspective."
—James A. Lucas
While I certainly appreciate the benefits brought forth by the $81,000 generated in parking ticket revenues last year ["The Boot and the Booty," Spring 2002], the article fails to address the real underlying issue—the need for more student parking on (or at least near) campus.