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As I announced last week, I have been invited to a panel discussion at Macalester College in Saint Paul this evening on the Iraq war. The debate is sponsored by Democracy for America, which has invited three other speakers to debate the war. The speakers include Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Univ. of St. Thomas Peace and Justice Studies professor; Phil Steger, Friends for a Nonviolent World director; and Lou Ellingson, Swift Boat retired Navy captain and small business owner. It's my understanding that all three will speak in opposition to the war.
I felt that I owed some effort to defend the positions I've taken in a public forum, even one that has the potential to be as hostile as this might be. The people at DFA have been great, very encouraging and very polite, and I'm working from the assumption that the evening will feature sharp but polite disagreement on policy and refrain from personal attacks; I know I won't indulge them, and I think CQ readers know that from my writings here. If we're going to change minds, we have to talk to people who disagree with us, even if it seems unlikely to have the effect we want.
In a larger sense, this seems the perfect way to honor our loss on 9/11. America is the home of honest and free political debate, and if we want to prevail against fascism secular or religious, we have to retain the courage to speak out even in potentially hostile climates.
If any CQ readers want to lend some support, the panel discussion will take place at Macalester College's Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, at 1600 Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, at 7 pm. Click here for a map to the campus. It's open to the public free of charge, but given the timing, turnout may be somewhat low. I'd be glad to meet CQ readers at the event.Sphere It View blog reactions
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