Sep 142008
 
Authors: Aaron Hedge, Shayna Grajo

Following the seventh anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Collegian set out to see how students feel about the current state of American safety, the War on Terror and who is best suited to take on the torch following November’s elections.

Steve Parker, a senior electrical engineering major, was kind enough to sit down with us and give us his insight.

Q: Do you think America is safer or less safe now than before Sept. 11?

A: Maybe we created more angst against the U.S. [But] I do feel safer that we are spending money on safety measures that have added to our culture. . They’re not a complete fail safe, but I feel a little safer.

Q: Do you feel the Bush administration has done a good job fighting the War on Terror?

A: As a college student, I’m not totally plugged in to what’s happening . I’m a middle class white college student . but I do trust his judgment and trust that he’s making good governmental decisions.

Q: Do you support wiretapping and similar programs to prevent a terrorist attack?

A: I’ve never really thought about that. I can see a lot of pros and cons. One of the problems is that it’s not constitutional. . Do we go against the Constitution to save lives? I wouldn’t mind the government poking around in my conversations because I have nothing to hide. [But] the government, I don’t think, should have that much power. I think the government was designed to have a different function.

Q: Do you think harsh interrogation tactics (such as waterboarding) are acceptable means of getting information from terror suspects or people who may have information on future attacks?

A: In general, no. I think, as important as the safety of Americans is, if you’re using an unacceptable level of violence to get information out of people, that probably crosses a line.

Q: Who do you think will make Americans safer, Obama or McCain?

A: McCain, only based on the fact that he’s affiliated with the Republican Party — the Republican Party is gonna be more active in establishing government programs that emphasize national security.

Q: What is more important for the next president to focus on — diplomacy, intelligence or strengthening the military — to win the War on Terror?

A: As the most powerful nation in the world, we need to be active, but I wouldn’t want to go to either extreme. We shouldn’t be taking action against a country unless we have a very clear reason to do so.

Jordan Bowlby, a junior natural resource recreation and tourism major, took time out of his day to share his thoughts on the current state of American safety and to let us know why Barack Obama is the man to keep us safe.

Q: Do you think America is safer or less safe now than we were before September 11?

A: Since the event, I don’t feel any safer because of current foreign policy. I don’t feel safer than before. I don’t feel any less safe. . [but] I don’t feel safer because of precautions that have been taken.

I don’t believe that it’s a fair trade. A lot of civil liberties have been traded for security. It’s not just the Patriot Act. A lot of detainees — like in Guantanamo Bay — I don’t think it’s fair that they’re not entitled to due process.

Q: Do you feel the Bush Administration has done a good job fighting the War on Terror?

A: It’s a difficult task, and I don’t feel they approached it diplomatically enough. And I hope that the future administrations can do a better job.

Q: Do you support wiretapping and similar programs as a means to prevent terrorist attacks?

A: I don’t. I don’t support wiretapping, and believe it’s a violation of privacy. I think there’s enough intelligent ways to prevent terrorism that wiretapping should not be necessary.

Q: Do you think harsh interrogation tactics (such as waterboarding) are acceptable against terror suspects or people who might have information on future attacks?

A: I don’t believe that harsh interrogation techniques are the best way to obtain information. I believe that the best way is through gaining trust of an individual, because harsh treatment can lead to false information: people will tell you whatever you want to hear, and that sets a bad precedent.

Q: Who do you think will do a better job protecting American citizens — John McCain or Barack Obama?

A: Protecting them? . Barack Obama and his ideas probably will protect the U.S. more. I think it’s more a question of our relationship with the rest of the world than it is our physical presence at, say, a border — or, you know, with legislation.

Q: What is more important for the next president to focus on — diplomacy, intelligence or strengthening the military — to win the War on Terror?

I believe that diplomacy and intelligence go hand-in-hand, and that strengthening the military will only lead to further indebting this country. It’ll only increase our defense budget, which I don’t see as a good use of our money.

I believe diplomacy is the only way to really win a “war” on such an abstract idea such as terror. We need to work with countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan instead of against them.

News Managing Editor Aaron Hedge and News Editor Shayna Grajo can be reached at letters@collegian.com

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