With War, Questions Remain
Ideals, motivations, at heart of Iraq issue
November 26, 2003 11:57 AM
Frustrated students who support and condemn the war in Iraq debated whether the United States should remain in Iraq Wednesday evening, Nov. 19.
About 75 students listened to the Students Against War and the College Republicans groups when representatives of both student organizations debated on the topics of justification (of the United States’ presence in Iraq), economy and human rights issues concerning the war. Both groups debated the three topics against each other, leaving students in the audience the opportunity to question them afterwards.
Defending the nation’s presence in the war, the student College Republicans felt it was the United States’ responsibility to the international community to maintain troops in Iraq.
“It sounds like colonialism,” said Cassandra Kellaris, a Student Against War member, in response to the College Republicans’ justification for the nation’s interests in the war. “We owe them reparations, we don’t owe them military tanks.”
After loud sighs and bickering among the audience, students who support the war challenged the motives of those opposing the war.
“How many people are going to die before this ends,” responded Justine Prada, Students Against War member and cinema student.
Students who challenged the motives behind the war felt the monetray costs of the war are draining the United States economy.
“Eighty-seven-million dollars is going to the occupation of Iraq,” said Kellaris. “With that money, every state’s deficit would be relieved”.
“We should look at the $87 million as an investment,” rebutted Zepeda.
The debate ended with both groups acknowledging the need for a quick resolution.
“I hope one day all justifications I gave today will be proved correct--I’m sure that our president will do everything in his power to provide what was demonstrated here today, democracy,” said Zepeda.
“What we do in life echoes in eternity,” Zepeda continued, quoting Secretary of State Colin Powell.
Responding to the large number of students who attended the debate, the Students Against War group plans to organize future campus anti-war campaigns.
“The turnout shows how many people are interested,” said Jeff Boyette, Students Against War member and cinema student. “People are indifferent or apathetic looking somewhere to plug in their thoughts, frustrations and anger.”
Some of the students in the audience openly supported the war, but the fear of being verbally attacked was evident.
“Tonight, I was afraid to come because I thought I’d be the only College Republican here,” said Danielle Elizondo, a College Republican and special education student who was in the audience. “I think we should have more of these (debates) on campus because everyone listened to what each side had to say”.
“We hope to use this as an organizing event, to show that we are organizing against the war,” urged Boyette. “People still feel isolated. There are other people who feel the same way, and they’re not alone, not isolated.”
A student from the audience stood up and said that people need to focus on resolutions, not on what’s going on.
“I think we’re all very polarized because of our own ideals or lack of it,” said Jared Thompson, a chemistry student. “All of us have been denied of what’s really going on because we get our info from a biased media.”
The Students Against War group is planning a week of action, where they will encourage students to wear black armbands to display their resistance to the war in Iraq.
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