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Micah Sifry, the assistant editor of The Nation, addressed an audience of about 150 people on campus Monday, stating that the American public is largely uninformed about the crisis in the Persian Gulf. Sifry cited a study that said only a small percentage of the people now supporting the war knew much about the state of U.S.-Iraqi relations prior to the August invasion of Kuwait. "The more TV people watched, the more ignorant they were," Sifry said. "Those supporting the war were two times as likely to believe that there is a democracy in Iraq." Sifry said that borders in the area are either "irrelevant" or in constant dispute, causing frequent conflicts. He said that discrepancies in wealth among Middle Eastern countries also contribute to the crises. The editor said that the U.S.'s close relationship with Israel played a part in its decision to enter the conflict with Iraq. "[The U.S.'s] sincere desire to support Israel makes us schizophrenic," said Sifry. "We stop thinking." He discounted President Bush's claim that the U.S. got involved to create a "new world order." He said that our involvement was a democratic movement and an act to prevent Hussein from gaining control of our oil supply. Sifry said that The Nation is interested in preserving human rights in a chemical-free and nuclear-free environment. He also said that it is important to protect the rights of small countries such as Kuwait. He added that the U.S. should try to end the war quickly, because a short war would save American lives. "We can't stop it," said Sifry. "Bush is on his own and he doesn't want any peaceful resolutions." Audience members said they found the speech informative. "He reflected excellent research into the nation," said Joanna Rotte, from Villanova University. "It was worthwhile," said Harry Lore, a lawyer from Philadelphia. "His analysis was vital and accurate." The subject of the speech, which was held to celebrate the 125th anniversary of The Nation, was set in August, before the war had begun. "We figured it would be topical," said Naomi Miller, the organizer of the speech. "We didn't think it would be quite this topical." Miller explained that both The Nation, "a leftish, progressive paper," and the Philadelphia Democratic Socialists of America planned the gathering hoping to increase the number of subscribers to The Nation.

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