HATTIESBURG - In
the war in Iraq, the United States has no stronger ally than Great
Britain. But on the issue of whether the invasion was justified,
our "cousins across the pond" went head-to-head Thursday
with their American counterparts in a debate held at The University
of Southern Mississippi.
Two members of the British Debate Team, Rob Marrs
of the University of Glasgow and Aneurin "Nie" Brewer
of Bristol University, argued successfully against the invasion
of Iraq, saying that it was unjustified and "broke international
law." Defending the invasion were Southern Miss debaters Amanda
Brown, 22, of Hattiesburg, Chris Lawrence, 35, of Biloxi, and Jill
Silcio, 22, of Slidell, La.
According to a vote from the audience following the
debate, the British debaters made quick work of their challengers,
walking off with a 102-16 victory. The stop at Southern Miss was
one in a string of dates on a 14-state tour that took the duo to
both coasts, including Miami, the site of the first presidential
Marrs said his team has argued many questions during
their tour, and they don't know what debate issue has been selected
or which side they'll be defending until they arrive on the host
campus. Marrs said that if his team had been required to defend
the Iraq invasion, he thinks the outcome would have been the same.
"You've got to be prepared to win on either side,"
said Marrs, 22. "Actually, Southern Miss was a very good team,
especially considering it was their first time to debate in front
of a live audience. In fact, they're probably one of the best teams
we've faced in the States."
Fashioned after British debates, which are often spirited
and boisterous, the contest allowed teams to challenge each other
during their presentations. This led to some of the debate's lighter
moments, bringing laughter to the packed house.
Lawrence pointed out that the debate was not a "planned
policy debate," but a "values debate."
"Values debates are more spirited and emotional
than planned policy debates. You use a more cutting style,"
Lawrence said. "I think we left a lot on the table, as far
as the issues go."
Harriet Hanson, an exchange student from England,
attended the debate and said afterwards that she thought her compatriots
"This was very informative because before today
I didn't know a lot about the war," Hanson. "I thought
it was lively and entertaining, and it was nice to hear some British
Stephen Snell, a junior political science major from
Jackson, voted for the British Debate Team, saying he agreed "with
all their major points."
"They disproved every point the U.S. team had.
There is no question they won," Snell said.
The event was sponsored by the Department of Speech
Communication, the Honors College, and the British Studies Program.