Political figures and national heroes challenged GW students to question their values in a society changed by terrorism at Wednesday’s Kalb Report.
The report, “Facing the Future: Press, Politics in an Age of Terrorism,” at the National Press Club drew a crowd of more than 200 students and faculty members.
Political commentator Marvin Kalb led a panel discussion with former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, foreign policy expert Susan Eisenhower, Washington D.C. Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and Nobel prize-winning author Elie Wiesel.
The event was broadcast over CSPAN and GWTV, where students gathered in the School of Media and Public Affairs to watch.
Kalb started the evening calling September 11 the “defining moment” in the current generation’s future, and then turned the dialogue to God and religion’s role in the conflict.
“Where was God on September11?” Kalb asked panelists.
McCarrick answered immediately, urging the audience to keep faith.
“God was right there,” McCarrick said. “He cannot force us to be saintly.”
But Wiesel took a different spin on the question. A Holocaust survivor, he said terrorists were blasphemous to kill in the name of God.
“Don’t they realize when they do that, they turn God into a murderer?” he asked. “(The terrorists) simply chose death as their language. No words.”
He also noted that “hate has power,” and the terrorists who operated on September 11 weren’t martyrs.
“A martyr is not someone who kills, but someone who dies,” he said
Albright said Americans should take further terror threats seriously, and not be “paralyzed” by them.
Noting Iraq, she said a pre-emptive attack is a dangerous policy change that must be “defined” more closely.
“We have a new world, and we have to deal with it,” Albright said.