The issue of stress on military families was heard from a high-level source visiting campus: Secretary of State Madelein Albright and Secretary of Defense William Cohen. In October, they toured the Muskie Archives (Albright, who worked for Ed Muskie ’36 when he was secretary of state, considers him one of her most influential mentors.)
The two secretaries met with students and fielded their questions. Most of the discussion had to do with the U.S. military role in various regional conflicts: Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo. When and why, exactly, should military force be brought to bear in these conflicts?The humanitarian need in places like Sierra Leone or East Timor was high in the minds of students. This was partly due to CNN, et al., and partly due to the fact that some of the questioners were international students talking about their homelands. In response, Cohen repeatedly tried to make the point that each decision to employ U.S. military strength has a human cost that he must weigh against the humanitarian need, or other military interests.
Not only have billions of dollars been spent in the Balkans, said Cohen, but the human cost is staggering. “We have overstressed our pilots. We have overextended our resources. And we are losing people from our military forces,” said Cohen. He didn’t mean lives lost, but people (perhaps like J.J. Cummings ’89 someday) who leave the military, partly because “their spouses say, ‘I don’t see you anymore.’”
Alumni working in Washington as our country’s political – as opposed to military – stewards are the subject of staff writer and photographer Phyllis Graber Jensen’s feature. Her story also tries to answer the question, “What were conservatives like you doing on a campus like Bates?” (Loving it, they say.)
And free-lance writer Doug Hubley interviews another alumnus who marched to a different drummer at Bates: Ozzie Jones ’92, well remembered on campus as a provocative and engaging theater major a decade ago. His mettle-testing Bates experience, he’ll tell you, is one reason he’s now among the top young theater directors in the country.
H. Jay Burns, Managing Editor