Winter 2003
Volume 7 Number 2

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PTS Teach-In Says “No” to Attacking Iraq

by Mandy Iahn

On Wednesday evening, October 16, with PTS’s largest lecture hall filled to capacity, four PTS professors launched an attack against the possible United States invasion of Iraq. The teach-in—whose posters advertised, “Attack Iraq? NO!”—sought to encourage the Princeton community to question the Bush administration’s case for an offensive war and to hold its government accountable.

PTS professor Mark Taylor argues that waging war against Iraq is not the right decision.

Passions ran high as Professors George Hunsinger, Kathleen McVey, Luis Rivera-Pagán, and Mark Taylor all presented cases in opposition to the U.S. claim that Iraq is an imminent threat to America's safety. The panel questioned possible ulterior motives, such as seeking economic growth and world domination. Hunsinger posed the question, “Are weapons of mass destruction the pretense while oil is the prize?” To illustrate his point, he quoted various journalists and political figures whose views had not made it into the mainstream media. Jessica Bratt, a PTS junior, said, “The teach-in confirmed my suspicions that there is a significant difference between the truth and the media.”

Taylor said, “Christians must have a loyalty to the whole,” while Rivera-Pagán reminded the audience to consider the welfare of civilians in war-torn countries. PTS senior Tu Truong, of Vietnam, testified to Rivera-Pagán’s point when he recounted his own experience with the enduring effects of war in his homeland. “What you see in the movies is not war,” said Truong. “There is no hero in war. There is only human brokenness.”

The teach-in was not limited to discourse. Musical guests Kiran Young and Mary Beth LeCroy, both PTS middlers, led the audience in songs for peace, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.” PTS professor Deborah van Deusen Hunsinger prayed and read from Jeremiah 9.

In addition to the teach-in, some PTS students have participated with the Coalition for Peace Action, a local grassroots citizens’ organization opposing war that is gathering every Saturday afternoon on Nassau Street in Princeton to form a “wall of dissent.” The Friday evening following the teach-in, two informational videos were presented, one on the devastating effects of U.S bombing in Iraq and one offering a historical perspective on U.S./Iraq conflicts. Audience members were encouraged to take action and to attend the antiwar “March on Washington” on October 26, which several students and professors did.

“I am thankful for the information presented by the panel,” said PTS junior Lauren Moore. “It shed light on the true threat, or lack thereof, from Iraq.” A few in the lecture hall expressed their disagreement with the predominant antiwar sentiment by not participating in the night’s final song, during which the audience stood, joined hands, and sang, “Gonna lay down my sword and shield down by the riverside…I ain’t gonna study war no more.”

Mandy Iahn is a PTS junior.

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