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In “Necessary Evil” (Spring 2013), Bishop Robert W. McElroy mischaracterizes the so-called doctrine of military preemption. Preemption does not involve “speculation about possible attacks in future months or years.” Preemption involves hitting an opponent just before he hits you. No one argued in 2003 that Iraq was getting ready to attack the United States. The U.S. intervention was an example of the strategy of prevention–preventing Iraq from developing weapons of mass destruction that could be used against its neighbors.
I would have welcomed instruction on why Catholic doctrine holds that policymakers should let civilian populations absorb a first blow that genuine preemption might have avoided.
James F. Miskel ’68
Vero Beach, Florida
Bishop McElroy’s article is the most balanced, clear, and courageous piece I’ve seen on this topic. It is not easy, or popular, to critique, in charity, the recent activities of our government as it wages war in our name. And yet he makes the prophetic proclamation with obvious regard for those who serve, and with a respectful acknowledgement that pacifism is unlikely to be a civic model for addressing all conflicts.
Robert B. Murray ’71
Bishop McElroy reminded us that the U.S. bishops have seen war as “a moral question” that “if left unexplored … can erode the soul of a society.” In the book Treating Young Veterans, fellow alumna Anne O’Dwyer ’87, Ph.D.’96, and I described our recent study of Iraq War veterans, in which we found cognitive dissonance among those who perpetrated or witnessed killings. They recognized having transgressed their moral and religious upbringing at the behest of policies that civilians may prefer to leave “unexplored.” The bishops would likely agree that the soaring rate of veteran suicides is how we measure the erosion of our society’s soul.
Wayne Klug, Ph.D. ’94
The author is a professor of psychology at Berkshire Community College.
Re “Subway Series,” by Dave Denison (Spring 2013): I had the good fortune to present my research at two Green Line Macro meetings. Not only did I receive insightful feedback, but I also experienced the dynamics of a real seminar, with a large crowd of top-notch researchers gathered in the same room.
The author is an assistant professor of economics at HEC Montreal.
The Green Line seminar gave me the opportunity to present the first chapter of my Ph.D. thesis in front of some of the top economists in the Boston area. I received helpful and substantive comments that improved the quality of my work (leading eventually to an academic publication). Moreover, the presentation helped me to establish connections with leading experts in my field.
Giuseppe Fiori, Ph.D.’09
Re “Value Proposition,” by Ben Birnbaum (Spring 2013): In addition to the author’s Top 10 “cultural creations,” may I add my own (in no particular order)? They are espionage novels, the Boston Red Sox, peanut butter, Natalie Dessay’s singing, gin martinis, the 80-yard chip shot in golf, holy hours of adoration, Meryl Streep’s acting, Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, theater plays, the Modern Jazz Quartet’s “Summertime.” Actually—my Top 11.
Bill Bond ’52
Bonita Springs, Florida
Re “On the Big Stage,” by Jane Whitehead (Spring 2013): Performing with the Boston College Symphony Orchestra in the cello section at Symphony Hall was an incredible experience. A concert hall of that caliber and with such a rich history demands the finest playing, and I believe the Orchestra and Chorale rose to the occasion.
Stephen Loverde ’15
Centereach, New York
I wasn’t planning to do it, but I was not able to relax until I had given a fist bump to everyone in the Chorale before we went out on stage. It’s a traditon before every concert, so I figured, “Why should this one be any different?”
When I gave the final fist bump and went on stage myself, I had a brief moment to reflect on what a privilege it was to perform with such wonderful and diverse people. I would not have wanted to be in Symphony Hall with anyone else.
Mark Hertenstein ’14
Re “For Others,” by Jeremy Rosenberg (Spring 2013): On April 13, my wife, Donna Qualters ’71, and I joined several hundred fellow alumni at Conte Forum to prepare food packages for shipment to Burkina Faso. Our principal job was to fill plastic bags with rice and various added vitamins and nutrients, and to do this both quickly and without depositing much on the floor. We all worked in teams of four, with the ages of participants ranging from children in single digits up to a few octogenarians, and, to keep the work interesting, we rotated the various jobs. It was a morning well spent.
Mark Dullea ’62, P’89
Re “Peer Power,” by Jane Whitehead (Spring 2013): It’s one thing to talk to your friends about important matters, and it’s an entirely different thing to talk to people you may not have met before about nutrition, relationship violence, and alcohol-related habits. For a peer health coach teaching a program or giving a private one-on-one consultation, there is a delicate balance in remaining professional and empathetic at the same time. I’ve talked to students about their lack of sleep, their future career goals, and, almost always, their desire to reduce stress. The best part of being a health coach is knowing that you’ve become a resource to your fellow students.
Anna Trilleras ’14
Re “On Any Given Thursday,” photographed by Lee Pellegrini (Spring 2013): The two-page view of the exterior of Stokes Hall offers a great look at the latest addition to the Chestnut Hill Campus. But for readers who live far from Boston, how about a map that shows us where the new building is located?
Yale Richmond ’43
Editor’s note: We hope this bird’s-eye view of the Middle Campus orients readers.
Re “A Bit of Here Over There,” by Ciara Kenny (Spring 2013): All Boston College retreats have periods set aside for private reflection between scheduled events. Usually they involve settling down in a quiet corner of a room to write in your journal while relaxing music plays in the background. Outpost, however, was different.
In my first free period I went exploring outside the main lodge and came upon a herd of sheep grazing in a pasture. The next day a couple of fellow retreaters and I spent a free period climbing a hill in front of the lodge. When we crested the hilltop and looked back, we discovered that the retreat center had disappeared from view. We were surrounded on all sides by a seemingly endless field of grass.
I sat down and began to write in my journal.
Matthew Palazzolo ’13, JD’16
We all need to “hear the singing” of author Richard Rodriguez in “Because” (Spring 2013). He is calling us to thoughtful introspection regarding our nation’s immigration policies and procedures.
John F. Masero P’10
San Pedro, California
Re “Intelligent Life,” by Nathan Hatch (Winter 2013): As a Latter-Day Saint leaving home for college, I was looking for a new experience that still fit within the religious and moral values that I cherish. Hatch’s article perfectly explained the educational experience I had on the Heights. I hope the University continues to stress the liberal arts and morality, and to turn out graduates who are men and women for others.
Jillaire (Wangsgard) McMillan ’00, MA’01
San Jose, California
Corrections and Amplifications: Jonathan Hoddenbagh, a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in economics and a participant in the Green Line Macro Meeting (“Subway Series”), wrote to say that his research focus, which was described in the spring BCM as “monetary policies in an international context,” actually covers both monetary and fiscal policy. Also: The complete Sesquicentennial Concert at Symphony Hall in Boston may now be viewed at Front Row via www.bc.edu/bcm. And: The photograph on page six of the Spring 2013 issue was taken by Caitlin Cunningham.
BCM welcomes letters from readers. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and must be signed to be published. Our fax number is (617) 552–2441; our e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: The print version of the article included the subheading “Causus Belli.” The correct phrase is “Casus Belli.”