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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Andrew Sexton, 2011

Our university takes considerable pride in its commitment to social justice. One of the school’s mottos reads “Men and women for others”. On the Boston College website, Father Leahy, the President of the University, writes “Boston College endeavors to educate a new generation of leaders for the new millennium—men and women who will be capable of shaping a new century with vision, justice, and charity—with a sense of calling, with concern for all of the human family.”[1] However, Boston College’s position on fair trade calls these elegant sentiments into question.

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Colleen Vecchione, 2012

Last month UGBC ran its exclusive once-a-year only environmental movement called Green-Month. Green Month festivities were available throughout campus and students were invited to participate in a host of truly thrilling activities. Online, UGBC offered students the chance to fill out a Green Pledge and become Environmental VIPs for the entire month. The pledge made participating students eligible for such exclusive, limited-time activities as recycling, conserving water with shorter showers, and turning off unused lights.

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A Predator Drone flies over the head of an Afghan civilian.

The American outpost shimmers through the heat. As you glide over the dunes unnoticed, one of several hundred fellow Taliban, brutally swift victory appears to be imminent. Then, a faint buzzing cuts through the howl of the dessert. Seconds later, the drone far overhead releases a hellfire missile, and all the world turns to darkness.

Drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), have been one of the most important weapons in the War on Terror. They hunt and kill terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and more recently, Pakistan. In the changing dynamics of modern warfare, confusion about new technology and the rules and difficulties that come with it is unavoidable. The issue of drones is no exception. In light of this, the actions of the Creech 14, a group of protesters who trespassed on a drone base outside of Las Vegas, were perfectly understandable, but that doesn’t mean they were right. The main planks of the Creech 14 position focus on international law, civilian casualties, and civil disobedience. The Creech 14 apply old-school principles to new-school technology, but they are dangerously misguided in every way.

Even the most liberal interpretations of international law would not criminalize the Obama administration’s collective use of drones. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and what may have been deemed illegal in the past inevitably finds some form of rebirth in the legally chaotic age of terrorism.

Drone attacks are certainly responsible for a significant number of civilian deaths. However, the alternative, conventional warfare, has proven time and time again to be even less favorable. With better judgment, civilians killed in drone attacks could certainly be further limited. Drone warfare will ultimately lead to a massive improvement for human rights in times of war. The human rights issues with drones is an issue that can be fixed. A more extensive external review system and a shorter, more concise list of targets are two simple procedural fixes that will drastically decrease drone-caused civilian deaths. The alternative to fighting terrorism with drones is fighting terrorism using conventional warfare, and that has consistently proven to be far more deadly to innocent bystanders.

Drones are more effective because they can rise above the “fog of war”, both figuratively and literally. With the ability to hover above potential targets for hours at a time, drone operators can gain all the necessary information to affirm a target’s identity and any potential collateral damage before they strike. This is a luxury not afforded to the soldier in the heat of combat.

Perhaps the greatest wrong the Creech 14 are guilty of is their own failure to recognize the true meaning of civil disobedience. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was written from a jail for a reason. Civil disobedience is the act of disobeying society’s laws to answer to a higher law. I applaud the Creech 14 for listening to that higher law if it is what they truly believe in. However, one of the members, John Dear, seems shocked at the justice system’s handling of the case in his blog post on sojo.net. Would it be wrong for the judge to eventually rule against the Creech 14? Possibly. Should the Creech 14 be prepared to accept the verdict whatever the outcome? Of course.

It seems that the public anger directed at drone warfare is more a visceral reaction than a logical one. While scouring the internet for drone-relevant articles, one headline stood out: “Ban Drone-Porn War Crimes: Death by Joystick is Immoral and Illegal”. At times the anti-drone movement doesn’t look like it is about the actual battle tactic at all. That headline suggests the movement is backlash against a generation that is immersed in the internet and obsessed with video games. Drones may be the extension of a technologically dependent society, but they also save lives. Cultural statements have no place on the battlefield.
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Amanda Duggan, 2012

The other day while driving my car, blasting the radio and singing along, my conscious accused me of being sexist.  I pled guilty.

Honey got a booty like pow, pow, pow.

Honey got some boobies like wow, oh wow.

Girl you know I’m loving your, loving your style

check, check, check, check, check, checking you out like,

ooh (oooh) she got it all

Sexy from her head to the toe...”1

I pled guilty because I thought of the party the night before- music blaring, lights flashing through the dark, loud chatter, and socializing.  I danced wildly in a circle of my friends, screaming lyrics at the top of my lungs.  Song after song, I knew every word.

“She’s nothing like a girl you’ve ever seen before

Nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore

I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful.”2

If a guy suggested to me, “Hey, my girlfriend isn’t here, and your boyfriend isn’t here, so we should hook up.  It’ll feel really good and no one will know,”3 I would be insulted.  If I overheard two guys describing girls they’d met using words like those of Usher and Akon, I’d be disgusted. Yet there I was, mechanically repeating those exact sentiments and loving every second of it. (more…)

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By: Anonymous

Boston College was recently ranked 31st among national universities in an August U.S. News and World Report. While I agree that BC does a great job of training its students academically, I personally have been shocked by how so many bright people have political beliefs that I deem irresponsible. Here I will give you three scenarios I personally experienced that display highly educated BC students who are uninformed, possess uneducated views, or do not understand the very basics of politics. (more…)

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OPINION
By Patrick Mulkern, BC ’11

What can a mere college student do in the face of natural disasters and warfare?

This is the question that 150 students, faculty, and staff from Jesuit Universities across the United States (and some even venturing over from Qatar) grappled with June 4th through 6th when they convened for the Jesuit University Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) biannual conference to discuss the “Ethics of Humanitarian Action.” Over the course of the weekend, UN Refugee Camp organizers, doctors specializing in nutrition and sanitation in refugee camps, and people involved in mediating the conflict in the Darfur region, lectured, led discussion, and assisted students in reflecting on all that they were learning. (more…)

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