Friday, February 10, 2017
Political science students gathered in the Boland Room to hear noted peace activist Phyllis Bennis talk about our nation’s war against ISIS – how it began, and what impact the new Trump administration could have on these efforts.
Dr. Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., a key resource for peace activists. She works as a writer, activist and analyst on Middle East and United Nations issues.
Her February 8 talk dealt with her work and her new book “Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror.” Later that evening she addressed the annual meeting of Women Against War.
“The latest political developments are a disaster on so many levels – humanitarian, political strategic, economic,” said Dr. Bennis. “The only saving grace in all of this is the outpouring of activism by people in so many cities around the country and the world.”
The now-blocked ban on refugees from certain countries is “a threat to how people see America and to how we see ourselves.”
Bennis traced the roots of the war on terror, which she said began “not on 9/11, but on 9/12,” and discussed the U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the leaked photos from Abu Ghraib, which showed American soldiers torturing and humiliating prisoners of war.
“Military action does not defeat terrorism,” she said. “It escalates it.”
Bennis also expressed concerns about the growing refugee crisis around the world, and how she would like to see more policy and funding for education, health care, and job development, not only for refugees and immigrants but current citizens as well.
“We need non-military responses to terrorism, otherwise it simply will not work.”
Bennis’s talk was sponsored by Siena’s political science department and Fair Trade Club.