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Choose your battles wisely

Letter to the Editor | Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This viewpoint is in response to the letter written by Ms. Hass, Ms. Quiros and Mr. Angulo entitled “Why is Notre Dame Involved in the Arms Trade?” (Monday, Feb. 2). In simple terms, the mission of the United States military is to be ready to respond in full force to any conflict in the world as quickly as possible, which usually means putting bombs on target within a day of the order given by the civilian leadership of this country.

Many different companies, such as Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Boeing, who all recruit at Notre Dame, are just as vital to that operation as Raytheon. If you have an issue with Raytheon’s bombs and missiles, then you should also have an issue with all of those companies, as their weapons systems allow for the delivery of those bombs and missiles. However, I rarely see anyone writing in about the atrocities of the F-22 Raptor or the B-2 Spirit, planes whose combined capability allows this nation’s military to drop a Raytheon-made bomb anywhere in the world virtually undetected.

The vendetta that students at this University have against Raytheon is illogical. Raytheon is not even the largest defense contractor that this nation uses, and it receives many military contracts for products that are defensive in nature, such as radar systems, air traffic control systems, satellite systems, the list goes on. Raytheon is not evil. They build systems that the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen on the frontlines need to accomplish their mission.

Whether or not you agree with the foreign policy of our nation, it is largely the U.S. military’s warfighting capability that allows that foreign policy to exist. If the problem you have is with the methods by which our military wages war, your concerns should not be directed at the University allowing companies to recruit its students, but at the U.S. government. The University cannot tell the D.O.D. whether or not they can buy weapons from Raytheon.

If the D.O.D. feels that it needs certain weapons to accomplish the objectives outlined by the foreign policy of this nation, a foreign policy put in place by the lawfully elected civilian officials of this country, then it is going to acquire those weapons from Raytheon. If Raytheon were to stop producing its weapons for the U.S. military and its allies because they could no longer recruit any engineers, two things would happen: Raytheon would go out of business, costing many people their jobs, and the weapons it made would then simply be made by another defense contractor.

Raytheon, just like every defense contractor, needs intelligent and moral people with a good education to work for them. Notre Dame offers some of the best, brightest and morally sound students that this nation has to offer, which is why so many defense contractors recruit here. Raytheon is no different than other defense contractors, and therefore has the same right to recruit engineers and students from this University as any other corporation. At the very least, don’t start a movement that could cost some of your classmates future job opportunities with a very reputable company.

David Schaller


Alumni Hall

Feb. 2