Letters to the Editor

BY

Kagan’s statements are a welcome start

I am confused as to why Mr. White is upset. He criticizes Dean Kagan (“Save your Solomonic judgment, Dean,” Oct. 9) for “fundamentally refus[ing] to separate the public stance of the Law School from her own ‘deep distress.'” However,

1. Dean Kagan is clearly upset about the military’s refusal to allow openly homosexual men and women to serve in the Armed Forces, while HLS permits the military to recruit on campus. There is a clear separation there.

2. Anyone can tell when Dean Kagan is writing as a dean and when she is writing as an individual. Mr. White had no difficulty in determining when “the Dean shifted from official explanation to personal condemnation,” and when she “fell back into ‘official’ character.” Mr. White may rest assured that the rest of the HLS possesses the same ability to distinguish the personal from the institutional.

In short, Dean Kagan did not need to separate HLS’s stance from her own, as the separation is as obvious to HLS’s students as it was to Mr. White.

Mr. White ends with an unwarranted comparison between Dean Kagan’s actions and those of a prostitute (which incidentally refutes his entire thesis regarding the Dean’s refusal to separate her own morality from that of HLS). He misses an obvious point: that a willingness to compromise one’s own ideals for the benefit of a trustee is something that good (yes, even moral) leaders do.

There is no honor in making other people suffer for your own convictions.

Ton Sistos, 2L

Editor’s Note: Mr. White replies to Sistos’s criticisms in his column this week.

Dershowitz’s denials fail to convince

Alan Dershowitz’s denial of plagiarisms (“Dershowitz denies plagiarism charges,” Oct.. 9) rings hollow. The wholesale lifting of quotations from Joan Peters’ fraudulent book “From Time Immemorial” (1984) cannot be justified (see www.normanfinkelstein.com for a table documenting this). To use more than twenty exact quotes from another book without making due acknowledgments really does constitute a fatal failure of scholarship.

One certainly hopes that first-year Harvard Law students will not follow Dershowitz’s examples!

Dershowitz’s attack on Finkelstein is also unfounded and baseless. Finkelstein’s scholarly work has been praised by, among others, Christopher R. Browning, Raul Hilberg, Ian Kershaw, Arno Mayer, and William Quandt. His four books, “Image and Reality of the Israel-Palestine Conflict,” “The Rise and Fall of Palestine,” “A Nation on Trial,” and “The Holocaust Industry” are major contributions, which were highly regarded by experts. His papers have been instrumental in exposing Peters’ fraud and the errors of Goldhagen’s book. Finkelstein’s scholarship is guided by humanitarian values, as taught by his parents, both of whom lived through the Warsaw ghetto and the Nazi concentrations camps.

Whereas Dershowitz has rationalized collective punishment against Palestinian villagers and denied that Israel uses torture on Palestinians (in spite of reports from international human rights organizations such as Amnesty International), and given tacit approval of the use of torture, Finkelstein has expressed solidarity with Palestinians and indeed stayed with Palestinian families living under Israel’s brutal military occupation.

Tanweer Akram

Akram’s papers have appeared in Applied Economics, Bangladesh Development Studies, Journal of Emerging Markets, Kyklos and Third World Quarterly. He is also a columnist for pressaction.com.

Don’t read too much into Solomon guest column

In the letters to the editor last week it became clear to me that several people completely missed the point of my comments over the military recruiting debate (“Military recruiting policy not so black and white,” Oct. 2). The major point of my article, and I encourage the people who responded to re-read it, is that it is NOT the military’s policy. It is the policy of the President of the United States. I did not discourage protest of a policy they do not agree with since people in the military sacrifice so their fellow citizens can in fact freely protest. My point was I do not understand why people are so quick to blame an institution that gives so much for a policy they disagree with when this policy is dictated to the military by elected officials. It is the citizens of the United States through their election of public officials that have dictated to the military that this will be the policy and no one in the military can publicly disagree. My article was addressed only to this specific point and not to the policy itself – especially since I do not have the right to debate that policy.

Carina Cuellar, 1L

Chief Justice Pettinato Must be Impeached

In her asinine dissenting opinion last week, Chief Justice Tammy Pettinato showed her utter incompetence, proving to the HLS community that her opinions are little more than meaningless invective. Whether to a vegetarian or carnivore, dieter or Bacchanalian gorger, Boca Grande is the cheapest, most filling, and tastiest food this side of the border. Pettinato’s hatred of this treasured enclave, obviously motivated by hatred rather than honest food criticism, should be ignored by any 1L unfortunate enough not to have enjoyed Boca’s authentic Mexican treats. I urge readers to disregard the “Chief” (in stupidity) Justice’s unreliable reviews in the future. I also urge Justices Torres and Dick to press for her impeachment.

Lee Rowland, 2L

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