Look to Treaty For Cause of War

Bob Kinney ’79 states in his letter to the editor (Colby spring 2013), “Like so many young men, he [Professor Cal Mackenzie] went to fight a war he did not support, against a people he did not hate, for a ‘cause’ that was not fully explained, if it was explained at all.”

In 1954, in Manila, Philippines, the United States signed a treaty with other nations as an international treaty to provide for the defense of Southeast Asia, creating SEATO. The purpose was to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia. In 1961, President Kennedy, who was a strong believer in containing communism and a strong believer in the domino theory, sent a thousand advisors to the south to help train the South Vietnam Army, in accordance with the SEATO treaty. And it went from there. This would be an historical explanation of the “cause”
of our involvement.

Obviously there is still much division among people as to the whys and wherefores of this decision and this war. However, if we, as a nation, sign on to a treaty, we have an obligation to honor that commitment. Perhaps we should look to the Monroe Doctrine and stop making unnecessary and binding treaties that will demand we commit to fighting other nations’ involvements regardless of our own country’s personal interests.

Carole Betterley Buchanan ’67
Darnestown, Md.

Wonderful Surprises Await Visitors to Art Museum 

A nice article on the Lunder Collection (“For Lunder Collection, A New Home,” Colby spring 2013). I think many readers (and visitors to the Colby College Museum of Art) are familiar with the 19th-century paintings and sculpture from the Lunder Collection that have graced the galleries over the past several years. But, what surprises await when one enters the new Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion and the renovated galleries!

One pleasant surprise was to read in the article about another subset of the Lunders’ amazing collection: the art of the American Southwest and artwork of American Indians. It is always interesting to see how art “lives” in collector’s homes as art in that time in America was made for personal enjoyment—not just for churches, cathedrals, and rarely for museums.

To see the artists of the Taos School reflect not only a certain place but a “place in time” that was disappearing, and to further see how the George Catlin, Carl Wimar, Alfred J. Miller, and Charles Bird King portraits and historical paintings are integrated into the museum galleries is a learning lesson and experience for us today just as the mid-19th-century works were to the American public in their own day—and to the public in London and Paris that came to see real American Indians in traveling shows.

I hope Colby will offer more in-depth insights into the other focal points of the Lunder Collection, but also to the other excellent collections in the museum. 

Duncan R. Gibson ’83
Cummaquid, Mass.