Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

A New Day, A New War: Students question military action

A sticker on the door to room 402 in Monroe Hall reads, “It will be a great day when our schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

“Sanctions kill! 1,000,000 dead. Let Iraq live,” another sticker reads.

The office door belongs to Tom Nagy, a professor at the School of Business and Public Management. A self-labeled pacifist, Nagy does not agree with the campaign against Afghanistan.

Nagy spent the first five years of his life as a refugee in Hungary. He was born during a World War II air raid in 1944 and then moved to the United States with his family.

He said that he does not see how a war in Afghanistan can relieve terrorism around the world, since it is only causing more people to suffer.

Afghanistan was already devastated nation, Nagy said, adding that the nation has endured 23 years of continuous war and three years of severe draught. Seventeen percent of Afghans are disabled, 84 percent have no access to safe drinking water and 25 percent of children born die before the age of five, Nagy said, citing United Nation number.

“Children must be protected,” Nagy said. “It is shameful that they are affected by the conflict of adults.”

He said what scares him the most about the war is that he feels there is no debate and he only sees the narrowest spectrum of opinion around campus and in the media. He said the University and its professors should compel students to debate about the different viewpoints of the war and alternate solutions.

“We have an obligation as intellectuals to think critically and speak out,” Nagy said.

Junior John Mayer is part of D.C. chapter of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, national organization putting together a grassroots movement to abolish the death penalty. There are 12 chapters of the CEDP nationwide.

Aside from his view that war is wrong, he believes the fighting will not bring any solutions that will work – short or long term – and will only create more terrorists.

“Killing thousands of people will not bring back the victims,” he said.

Mayer said he hopes U.S. leaders search for more solutions than war. The key, he said, is to look at the effect U.S. foreign policy has on the rest of to world.

Mayer said it is sad that censorship has muted the voice of dissent. People who look deeply at the situation and disagree with the war are labeled terrorists or unpatriotic. The point of education is to question and criticize, he said.

“I have a right as a citizen of the world to criticize anyone for violence,” Mayer said.

Junior Eleiza Braun, national field organizer for Student Peace Action Network, does not condone the war in Afghanistan. SPAN is a national organization created in 1995 to facilitate communication between student activists interested in the progression of the peace movement. SPAN is sponsored by the Peace Action Education Fund, a national grassroots peace and justice organization.

Braun said it is absurd that she has to defend herself as an American because does not agree with the war.

“No one deserves what happened on Sept. 11,” she said. “But we have to make sure it doesn’t happen again and take a look at what might have contributed to it. We should act out of morality rather than anger.”

To solve the problem of terrorism, Braun said, you must fight poverty and illiteracy and to stop the funding and training of terrorists. She said she does not see how fighting violence with violence brings any solutions.

“War is terrorism,” she said. “It is killing for a specific purpose and not caring that innocent people will die in the process.”

Braun said she is worried most about domestic policy and civil liberties. She said she does not agree with many of the provisions in the USA Patriot Act, which has expanded law enforcement powers, and does not think that many people agree with infringing on civil rights.

Braun said she hopes the ongoing movement for peace will grow and slowly change people’s minds. She spoke in support of the movement at the Sept. 29 peace march, which aired on C-SPAN. After the march she received death threats and was called unpatriotic for pushing the movement.

“This country’s ideology is based on peace, justice and freedom,” Braun said. “There is nothing more patriotic than the work I do.”

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