Potential war with Iraq topic of WFU public forum

United States policy towards Iraq and the questions raised by threatening to go to war with the Middle Eastern country are the focus of the public forum “Threatening War: A Forum on U.S. Policy Towards Iraq.” The free event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Feb 4 in Pugh Auditorium at Wake Forest University’s Benson University Center.

The forum, organized by several university faculty members who banded together in October to create the group “Faculty Raising Dialogue,” will call upon the expertise of three faculty members and one member of the Winston-Salem community. Members of the panel will each have seven to nine minutes to address three central issues including, under what conditions a war in Iraq would be justified, if those conditions exist, and if a war in Iraq would advance or hinder the fight against terrorism. Community members attending the forum will have time to ask questions after the presentations.

William Fleeson, associate professor of psychology and an organizer of the event, said he helped create the faculty group in October because he believed that students, faculty and staff were not getting enough information from the U.S. government. The forum is the first public event sponsored by the group.

“I think initiating a war is one of the most important events that a country can get into,” Fleeson said. “The U.S. Congress chose not to have a rigorous study into the war, so it is important for us to raise these questions.”

Charles “Hank” Kennedy, professor of political science and Pakistan expert, and Jonathan Marks, an adjunct professor in the political science department and expert on international law, will be panelists at the forum. The two are expected to argue against a war in Iraq, and Marks said he plans to propose that there are many countries that actually have nuclear weapons and present a greater threat to international peace and security than Iraq.

Bill Marcum, an assistant professor in the Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, and William Pfefferkorn, a local trial lawyer, will also participate as panelists. Marcum and Pfefferkorn are expected to argue in favor of the president’s stance on Iraq. Marcum said he tends to look at the issue as an economist and argues that going to war to protect the world’s oil supply is a legitimate concept.

“Saddam Hussein has proven to be a threat to his neighbors which are a source of oil for the United States,” Marcum said. “I am against telling Iraq or Kuwait how they use their natural resources, but I do believe that Saddam represents a threat to several oil markets. We have to debate these issues, and I hope this is a controversial discussion. I think the discussion should help increase people’s knowledge of what is going on in the world.”

Lisa Sternlieb, assistant professor of English and an organizer of the event, said she has been talking about the issue with her students and there seem to be some serious questions on their minds that are not getting answered.

“Many of my students have complained about the media coverage about Iraq,” Sternlieb said. “They know that they are not getting the full picture. Our forum aims to give them different perspectives. We encourage any and all students and members of the community to attend and ask questions.”

Categories: Commencement, Events, Speakers, University Announcement