- Forum participants debating the impending U.S. war with Iraq Thursday
evening took widely divergent views, with one panelist arguing it's
"time for action" and others urging a more "cooperative
and peaceful course."
of an old-fashioned, patriotic American citizen and I believe what
we're doing is right," said John Young of Picayune, a veteran
of three combat tours in Vietnam.
real world, this is a campaign for Iraq and not a campaign on Iraq,"
he argued. "This has been going on for 11 years now and if
the U.S. and the United Nations are to have any credibility at all,
the UN must stand behind Resolution 1441.
has no intention of complying," said Young, a regular participant
in Southern Miss' Vietnam Studies Program. "When are the diplomatic
solutions exhausted? It's time for action."
however, took opposing views.
Dr. Dan Capper,
a Southern Miss professor of philosophy and religion, maintained
the United States must seek greater international cooperation to
curb the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and counteract
widespread "resentment" by many countries of America "militarism,
unilateralism and paternalism."
Capper, a self-described
human rights activist and expert in religious studies, said Saddam
Hussein has inflicted terrible human rights abuses against his own
people but that a U.S. attack will only serve to kill thousands
more "innocent Iraq citizens...
must recognize that Iraq's noncompliance (with U.N. resolutions)
does not in and of itself justify war... We must take the most cooperative
and peaceful course," he stated.
Young and Capper
were among five panelists who participated in a debate sponsored
by the Southern Miss History Department and moderated by Dr. Brian
O'Neil, an associate professor of history. The debate was held before
a standing-room-only audience of about 300 students and visitors
at Stout Hall on the Southern Miss campus.
Dawsey of the Pearl River Community College History Department criticized
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking
DoD officials as a "group of hawks" who have taken over
U.S. foreign policy.
for Americans, this view has won over President Bush," said
Dawsey, who downplayed any link between Saddam Hussein's secular
government and the fundamentalist, international Al-Qaeda terrorist
movement led by Osama bin Laden. "President Bush is obsessed
with Iraq and his cabinet shares that obsession."
Dr. Andy Wiest, a Southern Miss professor and military history expert,
discussed the modern technological battlefield and America's potential
ability to win a quick and decisive victory. He cautioned, however,
it would be Iraq's goal to protract the war and inflict substantial
U.S. casualties, with hopes of weakening the resolve of the American
Dr. James Wolfe,
a longtime Southern Miss professor of political science and authority
on international law, said launching a war does not violate the
U.N. charter as long as the attacking nation is defending itself
against an act of aggression, all diplomatic and nonviolent remedies
have been exhausted, and that the military response is in proportion
to the actual threat.
of us must find his or her own answers to these questions,"