Tensely awaiting the United Nations' midnight deadline, students and professors gathered to share thoughts on the Persian Gulf crisis and a possible draft, with the debate growing heated at times. Approximately 70 students assembled at Ware College House last night for the teach-in. Several University professors joined the students throughout the evening to discuss the constitutional, historical, and political issues involved in the crisis. After the professors finished, students remained past midnight, huddled around the television watching the network news and eating donuts. Assistant Political Science Professor William Harris and History Professors Michael Zuckerman and Beshara Doumani all spoke and then participated in discussion with the students. History Professor Alfred Rieber, who was scheduled to speak, was forced to cancel when he was called to Washington yesterday due to the Gulf crisis. In his speech, Harris said that several constitutional issues were at stake, such as the questioning of Americans of Iraqi descent by the FBI, the restriction of press coverage, and troops reportedly being innoculated with untested vaccines against their will. Responding to student questions, Harris affirmed the constitutionality of a draft. Harris called President Bush's original mobilization of force in the Gulf unconstitutional, but that "the President got away with it" because Congress did not move to cut off funding or bring the troops back. Harris also said that if war breaks out, the media would cover the war "like the Super Bowl." "George Bush is like the captain of the Yale football team about to 'kick the ass' of Saddam Hussein," Harris said. "This would be a Republican war fought by Democratic children and funded by Democratic taxes." None of the professors believed that a war, if started, would end quickly. Many students opposing the war were highly concerned with the casualties that would result and the possibility of conscription if a war were to begin. Wharton sophomore Joon Kim said that a war would be "a great tragedy . . . that nobody wants." Students in favor of military action stressed the consequences of pulling out of the Gulf. "Even though war is horrible, we still need to stop Hussein now," Engineering freshman Michelle Packles said. "If we don't, there's nothing to prevent him from taking over more countries." College sophomore Jessica Lind said that the United States no longer has a choice about using force. "With over 400,000 troops soon to be in the Middle East, the time to debate whether we should be in there is long past. It's nearly impossible for us to turn back now," Lind said. Ware Administrative Fellow Navneet Khera said that he helped organize the teach-in in the hopes of creating "a free intellectual debate to learn and interchange ideas."Comments powered by Disqus
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