Recently, a new student group has formed and has quickly become a galvanizing force on campus. The initiative took hold during Henry Kissinger's visit while the College of Computing's hosted three days of festivites in late February. The group, MIT Students Against War (SAW), has been continuing to organize events and raise the conscienceness of MIT students and the wider community. Below, an excerpt from a recent email sent by one of group's leaders, Alonso Espinosa-Domínguez, spells out the ethical implications of MIT's reliance on military funding and research and its questionable relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This was a direct response to the MIT Career Fair which hosted Raytheon, the NSA, the CIA, Navy research labs, Lincoln Labs and the RAND corporation.
The UN has labeled the war in Yemen to be the worst humanitarian catastrophe of our time. Over 100,000 children have already died from starvation, at least 85,000 civilians have been murdered as “collateral damage” from Saudi-UAE coalition bombing raids, and some 14 million Yemenis are on the verge of famine and starvation.
Meanwhile, MIT continues its relationships with the Saudi government and its affiliates such as Saudi Aramco, as well as weapons manufactures like Raytheon and many more. Given the atrocities in Yemen, and Raytheon’s and Saudi Arabia’s shared criminal role in these atrocities, it is unconscionable that MIT is peddling Raytheon and Aramco jobs at its career fairs, and it is unconscionable that MIT continues its relationship with the Saudi monarchy. This is one important reason why we are protesting at the career fair.
But the protest is about much more than Yemen. Raytheon, along with the NSA, the CIA, the Navy and its research labs, Lincoln Labs, and the RAND corporation, all of whom will be recruiting at the fair, are an integral part of the US’s war machine, whose role is to preserve American hegemony at the cost of countless lives. Hence, the task of de-weaponizing our institute and its research is a vital one for the millions of victims of this “American-lead political and economic order” (to use MIT’s own terminology) which MIT faithfully serves. The task is also an extremely difficult one. We can, however, start by at least demanding that the Institute not actively encourage its student body to seek out jobs for the war-making industry that violently sustains US hegemony. Our education can be put to much better use.