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Letters to the Editor
Editor’s Note
A professor floats a discussion question and no one discusses — blank stares, pensive doodles, silent postures that scream “Don’t call on me!” It’s a dreaded moment for a teacher. An editor, sending some 80,000 copies of a magazine into the world with the fear that not a word will be heard in return, can relate. What is that about the sound of one hand clapping?

Not a worry when Professor Robert Kaufman’s thoughts are in print. Professor Kaufman’s viewpoint on matters Middle Eastern and other foreign policy issues drew a reader response notable in both number and passion. Clearly, many read the interview with a rising sense of disagreement while others were pleasantly surprised. But they read every word, they thought, and they responded
.
At their best, the pages you hold in your hands should reflect the daily life of the University of Vermont, a community of diverse minds and pursuits. Thanks to Professor Kaufman and the readers whose opinions are represented on these pages, we’ve accomplished that with our Summer and Fall 2002 issues. It’s a trend that we hope to continue with editorial content that demands reading, provokes thought, and illustrates the myriad ways UVM is involved with the most pressing issues of our times.

Thanks for raising your hands.
Tom Weaver, Editor

The Case for War
I thought I knew the definition of a war monger until I read the interview of Associate Professor Robert Kaufman in the Summer 2002 issue. The knowledge that Robert Kaufman actually comes in contact with young and impressionable students is very disturbing. I hope your editorial policy allows you to print an alternate opinion that doesn’t advocate human destruction. Civilians are the major casualties of all wars.
Walter C. Isgro, UVM Parent
Waterville, Maine


Regarding the interview with Robert Kaufman, “The Case for War,” and his comments on the Israel-Palestinian situation: I was surprised to find such a blind bias in a university magazine.
Joseph Vanhoenacker G’76
Apex, North Carolina


Please congratulate yourselves for a well done magazine this issue. Usually, the VQ is browsed and put away, then rotated into the to-the-homeless-shelter bag for later distribution without a second thought.

But NOT this issue, and only because of the interview article with Professor Kaufman! Finally, an intelligent, concise, precise and correct assessment of the situation with the Islamic world. And from UVM —– who woulda thunk it? Most of the articles in the VQ deal with regional and academic issues, not something for the rest of the world. It usually made me wonder if life outside New England and academia was actually noticed by UVM. Now this is more like it!

Let’s have more of this from VQ. Surely there are other professors at UVM who think along these lines. Let’s hear from them. Relevant topics for the times we live in.
Dean A. Cassano ’70
Lakeland, Florida


Since I have been seeking a more prudent, indeed more sophisticated, U.S. strategy against Saddam Hussein than recourse to a unilateral, exclusively military option, I was disappointed to find no semblance of such an approach in your summer 2002 interview with Professor Robert Kaufman.

Professor Kaufman contends that “war is more prudential, moral, and practical” than continuing the sanctions policy aimed at defusing Iraq’s involvement with weapons of mass destruction. A prudential, moral, and practical U.S. initiative to topple Saddam Hussein is indeed needed. However, U.S. military action should be designed in the context of a regional-development strategy providing the framework for addressing all our concerns in the Middle East. Since Iraq under Saddam Hussein would not meet the program’s standards such as promotion of democracy, protection of human rights, and opposition to terrorism, hence would not qualify for the aid the program offered, anti-Saddam Iraqis in and outside Iraq would be all the more impelled to mount a well-organized effort to overthrow the regime.

If (most likely when) they seek outside military assistance, the United States and its allies should be ready to oblige. Saddam Hussein would be toppled, and Iraq would be on track for the political and other reforms required for participation in the regional-development program.

I envisage this as a Marshall Plan-style strategy financed by the United States in concert with other world powers and appropriate international agencies. Having served in the Marshall Plan in Washington and London, and mindful of the massive differences between Western Europe in the aftermath of World War II and the Middle East today, I believe our successful initiative in Europe over half-a-century ago can be a productive prototype for a dramatic Middle East initiative today. Unlike unilateral U.S. military action to overthrow Saddam Hussein without such a regional strategy, the action I propose would get wide international approval.

Using words from Professor Kaufman’s commentary on how to settle the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the strategy I propose as the framework for addressing our concerns in Iraq and other parts of the Middle East would “permanently change the psychology” of our anti-terrorism efforts throughout the region.
David J. Steinberg ’39
Alexandria, Virginia


If Professor Kaufman so firmly believes that war is the solution to the myriad problems related to terrorism and “unrest” in the Middle East, he should take up his club, or perhaps an AK-40, and ship out to evil Iraq. He certainly should not be teaching his Neanderthal Politics 301 in what I hope is still a modern university.
Daan M. Zwick ’43
Rochester, New York


You can’t imagine my shock and surprise to find the article “The Case For War” in my summer edition of Vermont Quarterly. A happy and pleased shock, I might add. UVM may be the only American university that permits a professor to speak in favor of a course of action decidedly opposite the liberal left. I can only imagine Professor Kaufman’s status with his colleagues.

I felt compelled to let Professor Kaufman know that I support his views. I haven’t much respect for the quality of liberal arts education in universities these days but UVM has gone up a notch in my estimation for bucking the trend and presenting an intellectually honest story.
Barbara Destino ’65
Mission Viejo, California


Green Memories
I read with great interest “Ira’s Acres” in the summer 2002 Vermont Quarterly, and one name stood out: Alvin Twing, a “blacksmith by trade” in the Class of 1837.

Was he related to Joshua Twing, the pioneer foundry operator and millwright of Barre, Vt., who in 1834 repaired the ore crushing machine and installed additional rollers for the pioneer metallurgist Isaac Tyson, Jr. at the pioneer copper mine and smelting plant in South Strafford?

Did Alvin Twing’s blacksmithing have a connection with Joshua’s foundry, and did they both create “Twingsville,” a settlement in the north end of Barre City, where I think an old mill building still exist? Esther M. Swift’s Vermont Place Names gives me clues, but who was Alvin?
Collamer M. Abbott ’42
White River Junction, Vermont


The summer Vermont Quarterly is a superb issue. I particularly enjoyed “Ira’s Acres.” As a graduate student in 1931-32 I crossed the Green daily going to Professor Tupper’s office in the Old Mill. There I met another grad student, an alumnus from Springfield, Vermont. As we studied together in Billings Library our friendship deepened and in 1934 I became Mrs. Bertrand Chapman.

In 1952 we moved to within a block of the Green and to this day as I walk my dog, we frequently enjoy the paths across the Green. I remember when the four maple saplings were planted on the north end of the Green. Two of these now-magnificent shade trees have been encircled with green and gold ribbons and plaques commemorating the classes of 1947 and 1952, a Reunion memorial.

I congratulate and thank the groundskeepers for so beautifully keeping this jewel for the university and the city.
Marcella Cassard Chapman G’32
Burlington, Vermont


I was a UVM student when there were still American Elms on the UVM Green. As a student/resident between the years of 1975-80, I saw the last third of the one-hundred elms that once graced the UVM campus, according to Kit Anderson’s article in the summer issue.

I would like to mention the efforts (albeit humble) of Sue Morse and Project Elm-UVM, of which I was a member during my college years. I assisted Prof. Morse, one of my most inspiring UVM teachers, with injecting the infected elm trees with a disease fighting substance. We had regular meetings and most of my efforts were in the area of fund-raising. I sold 500 Project Elm-UVM pens in one night, in my usual last-ditch effort to meet a deadline.

I was glad to read Ms. Anderson’s article, and for the reminder of these stately and silent giants that once made the UVM campus so beautiful. I hope it fosters a deeper conviction in everyone to do their part in preserving the beauty of the UVM campus.
Isabel Routh Reddy ’80

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