Near the third anniversary of America’s invasion of Iraq, the Kent State Anti-War Committee and College Republicans held a public debate yesterday on the War on Terrorism.
Steven Hook, political science associate professor, moderated the debate, which was held in the Kiva. About 100 students attended the debate organized by KSAWC.
KSAWC members Kevin Heade and John Bradley Deane and College Republican President Matthew White and Vice President Elizabeth Eisaman were panelists in the debate.
White said Iraq could be considered the “most successful early democracy in the history of the world.”
He said only four provinces have violence, and 75 percent of the Iraqi population voted in the three national elections, which is a higher voter turn-out than in America.
“Iraq will be a friend to America, in a region of the world where America needs friends the most,” he said. “Iraq has unlimited potential and has made unprecedented progress.”
KSAWC member John Bradley Deane strongly disagreed and said Iraq is spiraling into civil war and Iraq’s infrastructure is deteriorating.
Deane said KSAWC is not against democracy in Iraq; they are against the occupation of Iraq and support immediate withdrawal of our troops.
“Democracy has no chance if we continue to occupy it,” Heade said. “Occupation breads violence.”
Eisaman said the immediate withdrawal of troops would be “deeply irresponsible and would send an incorrect message to the Iraqi people.”
She said the Iraqis support our government and do not want us to leave. If America were to withdraw troops, the deaths of those who fought for freedom would be in vain, she said.
“It’s not fair to families,” she said. “All the hard work would be destroyed.”
Another issue debated was the role al-Qaida plays in the War on Terrorism.
Eisaman said the Bush administration is dedicated to eradicating terrorism and continuing the battle against extremists.
Heade disagreed and said the Bush administration is inciting fear in the American people.
“The Bush administration is providing a more sinister threat than that provided by bin Laden,” Heade said.
Both student organizations came together to work out ground rules for the debate. The two sides had two minutes each to answer prepared questions and two minutes for rebuttal. They also had up to two thirty-second wild-card rebuttals and a one minute final statement.
The purpose of the debate was not to have a win-lose situation but spread awareness on issues.
Joshua King, sophomore international relations major, said he enjoyed the heated exchange of ideas.
“I didn’t know a lot about the Anti-War Committee,” he said. “It was refreshing to see a debate other than between Republicans and Democrats.”
Contact student politics reporter Breanne George at [email protected]