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To the editors:
The anti-war teach-in held on Sunday night perpetuated the acceptability of discussing serious issues through fluffy rhetoric (News, “On Eve of Vote, Professors Question War”, March 17). The absence of a single anti-war voice who could address the complexities of the impending war in Iraq was astounding. Instead of discussing pivotal issues such as peaceful alternatives to disarmament, diplomatic strategies to initiate much-needed regime change in Iraq and the like, the professors who led the teach-in resorted to reading poetry, offering unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and kindergartenesque name-calling of the Bush administration. The result of such an event—unfortunately and quite contrary to its stated purpose—is a large group of students that does not know how to discuss these matters seriously. When I challenged the merits of the event and asked the audience if they truly believed that this war was simply about oil—merely about “one world leader’s material desires versus another’s”—those in attendance and the professors gave a resounding “of course.”
If these are the simplistic grounds on which students are being encouraged to discuss a complex issue such as Iraq, then the professors and student anti-war activists are failing in their intellectual and academic responsibilities; in effect, they are leading a bunch of village idiots.
Eric R. Trager ’05
March 18, 2003
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