The Feb. 23 letter “Finally giving peace a chance” praising the establishment of a peace studies program at SFCC as the first for Washington state is factually inaccurate and reveals why this program is probably a bad idea.
In her letter, Bernadine Van Thiel states our military budget is “over half the national budget,” when in fact for 2010 it is 20 percent. She asks the rhetorical question, “Has there ever been a more war-loving government?” referring to the U.S. government. This reveals the working premise common to those that think establishing or attending a peace studies program is worthwhile. A broad study of history, without starting with a working premise, would be more valuable by making students better able to see and evaluate the real world.
I met a fine young man, a guide on a kayak trip in the summer of 2003. I was dismayed for his future when he told me he was taking peace studies at Western Washington University, so the SFCC program will not be the first in our state. I could not find any indication WWU still has this program, perhaps because its graduates’ most frequent negotiations upon employment included the words, “Do you want fries with that?”