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Professors discuss justifications for war

March 21, 2003

By Andrew Clancy

Three professors spoke about the current war of the United States and Iraq Thursday night in a forum in the Meadows Recital Hall.

Dr. William Mitchell, a professor of political science and retired Air Force colonel, spoke briefly about the war and opened the forum by asking the audience to pray for the safety of the United States military. Mitchell said that the United States is at war and that American citizens should not make statements that would harm the military or the president.

He said that Saddam Hussein is guilty of ordering torture and random murders of Iraqi citizens. He reminded the audience that Hussein used 'mustard and nerve gas' on his own people.

'Saddam Hussein caused his country to lose its middle class,' Mitchell said.

Dr. Norton Mesvinsky, a professor of history at Central Connecticut State University, led his speech with a series of criticisms of the present administration's war on terrorism.

'The allegation that Iraq has the capability of developing nuclear weapons is without foundation,' Mesvinsky said. 'Massive public opinion in the world oppose military action against Iraq.'

Mesvinsky also said that the establishment of a democracy in Iraq would be viewed by the world as 'U.S. imperialism and colonialism.'

Mesvinsky suggested that the Bush administration rejects the idea of 'containment' of Saddam. He said that John F. Kennedy contained Cuba during the missile crisis in the early 1960. Likewise, Ronald Reagan chose to contain the leader of Libya during the 1980s, according to Mesvinsky.

'The current administration does not seem to be bothered by the ill will they have created,' Mesvinsky said, referring to general disapproval of the war on Iraq by several nations.

Christopher Marsh, associate professor of political science and director of the Asian studies program, spoke about the current Iraqi situation.

'If we did nothing about the current situation in Iraq, than the casualties would be far greater than they will be now,' Marsh said.

Like Mitchell, he said that Hussein used chemical agents on his citizens.

'Being the world's superpower, we had tremendous security before 9-11,' Marsh said. He said that when the United States defeated Iraq, the U.S.-led coalition left the United Nations to deal with Saddam.

While Marsh supports current military action in Iraq, he is worried about the future regime change in Iraq.

'The [idea of] regime change didn't work in Vietnam,' Marsh said. 'Leaders in the United States stood by while certain Vietnamese leaders were assassinated.' Marsh also said that the countries of Germany and Japan had a semi-democratic government before they began to invade other countries, unlike Iraq, which has no such history.

When asked about the religious faith of President Bush, Mitchell said that Bush was a devout Christian and believed in 'protecting the lives of Americans.' Mesvinsky said that Bush was motivated mainly by his religious faith in the current war on terrorism.

Brandon Pechacek, a Plano sophmore, said that he received good insight from the mention of Bush's faith. 'I enjoyed the fact that our president uses his faith in decision-making processes,' Pechacek said.