Thursday Panel to Reflect on 9/11

Conflict with Islam and the underlying factors behind the Sept. 11 attacks on America are among the topics a panel will discuss on Thursday to reflect on the terrorist attacks two years ago. The panel, “9/11 Two Years Later: Where Are We Now?” will discuss these issues, as well as issues of globalization, security and civil liberties, at 8 p.m. in Brooks-Rogers Recital Hall.

Scheduled to be on the panel are Steven Kappes, associate deputy director for operations of the Central Intelligence Agency, Ray Takeyh, director of studies at the Near East and South Asian Center, National Defense University and James McAllister, associate professor of political science at the College.

As a member of the CIA’s directorate of operations, Kappes is involved in the collection and analysis of intelligence information, including the clandestine collection of foreign intelligence.

In a recent speech on the CIA’s role since Sept. 11, Kappes said that America is not at war with a particular people.

“What we conveniently call the ‘Muslim world’ is home to more than 1.3 billion human beings with hundreds of languages and cultures,” Kappes said. “Any student of its rich diversity can find in that huge region both currents of promise and currents of danger. What you cannot find are massed armies of fanatics, poised to strike at any target of convenience. We are at war with what George Tenet [director of the CIA] rightly describes as ‘the fringe of the fringe of the Muslim world.’”

Prior to joining the National Defense University, Takeyh was a fellow in international security studies at Yale University, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and resident fellow at the Center for Middle East Studies at UC-Berkeley. He has also been among the most prolifically published academics of the last two years, with articles published in The National Interest, World Policy Journal and Orbis, among others.

In a piece written a month after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Takeyh argued Osama bin Laden was not an exceptional case, but rather a representative of a new radical religious movement.

“Since the Sept. 11 bombings, a persistent question that belabors Americans is: why do they hate us so much? From the President to media outlets, a chorus of voices has been at pains delineating between Osama bin Laden and Islam. The former is vengeful and pre-modern, the latter peaceful and tolerant. Such demarcations miss the point,” Takeyh wrote. “Bin Laden and his cohorts form a specific subculture of Islam that has been evolving in the murky terrain of Southwest Asia. This species of Islam views violence and terror as legitimate tools against the infidel West.”

McAllister’s research focuses on ambiguity and opportunity, as well as constraint, in foreign policy. He teaches international relations at the College, including a course “America and the World After September 11.”

His most recent book, “No Exit: America and the German Problem 1943-1954” explores the importance of Germany in framing many of the problems at the beginning of the Cold War.

Robert Jackall, Gaudino Scholar and professor of sociology and social thought, will offer introductory and concluding remarks to the event.

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