Teach-in to allow discussion, debate of war in Iraq

By Gus Bode

Forum is third in a serious to continue into next semester

Four war veterans from four different wars will speak tonight about how their experiences on the battlefield have impacted their perception of war.

The veterans fought in World War II, Vietnam, Korea and Kosovo and will be the lead speakers at a teach-in to inform and raise discussion about the possibility of war in Iraq at 7:30 in Lawson Hall 171.


Anyone is welcome to attend the forum, which is the third in a series that have and will continue to discuss issues pertaining to war, particularly in the Persian Gulf.

“We wanted to give the people who have been in conflict a chance to reflect on what it all meant to them,” said Hugh Muldoon, co-coordinator of the teach-in. “Their reflections are important because most of us have not been there and we want to hear from people who were.”

Muldoon said most of the views expressed at past forums have been from people with anti-war sentiments, and he expects that trend to continue tonight. However, he hopes those with differentiating views will also attend to spark more heated discussions.

Questions from those who “think attacking Iraq is a sane and reasonable thing to do” have come up, and Muldoon said it adds to the education and awareness they hope the forums will instill on those who participate.

“Through previous teach-ins, I think some eyes have been opened to the fact that we’re not getting the information we demand from our government,” Muldoon said. “Such as, ‘Why do we want or need to attack Saddam?'”

Though the teach-ins tend to be anti-war, Deidre Hughes, a teaching assistant in History and the event moderator, said anti-war should not be associated with anti-veteran; and the forum should not portray that image.

Hughes said most people, including herself, know someone who has fought in a war, or is currently enlisted in the armed forces. But that does not mean they are bad people or that fighting in war was the wrong thing to do.


“One reason we want to do the teach-in this way is because these are their experiences and they’re valid and important,” Hughes said. “And often times in the mainstream media, their opinion is not portrayed.”

The next forum is scheduled for Dec. 2, but Hughes said a time and location have not been decided on. The teach-ins will continue into next semester and other possible topics may include the effect and role of religion and women in war.

Hughes hopes the forums will encourage people to become involved and take action when it comes to their feelings on war. She encourages people to contact their congressman or join an activist group where they can participate in protests for or against the war.

“These questions have to be addressed, and how else are you going to do it?” Muldoon asked. “You can’t avoid these questions because this is one of the most serious things facing the world today.”

Reporter Brian Peach can be reached at [email protected]