To The Editors of The Crimson:
In your issue of February 21st, Professor Martin Kilson attacked the talk I gave on the Middle East at a recent ADA convention. This is the second time Professor Kilson has written to The Crimson criticizing speeches of mine which he did not attend and which he never discussed with me. It seems a peculiarly indirect way for colleagues to communicate. I am not much inclined to join this sort of correspondence, but a few notes seems in order:
1) Professor Kilson is certainly right to say that my argument, as reported in The Crimson, "leaves too many crucial questions unanswered." But he might have assumed that in the talk itself I tried to deal with those questions, that I made arguments, offered reasons--went on at some length, indeed, like any other professor. I should think he would want to know my arguments and reasons before rushing into print.
2) I do agree with The New Republic editorial of February 1st on the lessons of the Vietnam War, but this editorial was hardly a defense of Robert Tucker's Commentary article on the use of force in the Persian Gulf. It urged that we pay attention to Tucker's argument and not reject it on a priori grounds. But finally The New Republic found the risks of intervention "great" and the moral issues "ambiguous," and urged economic rather than military measures to cope with the oil crisis.
3) I am surprised to find Professor Kilson now formally enlisted among the supporters of bionationalism. He should know that that is a solution acceptable to none of the Palestinian organizations and to no significant group in Israel. It would have to be imposed by force on both sides, and probably maintained by force also: what sort of military presence would that require? Michael Walzer Professor of Government