Strong opinions created a room full of discussion at an open forum asking:
“War, what is it good for?” Tuesday evening.
A group of about 50 people, led by the CSU student group Action Awareness,
Gathered in a Lory Student Center room to voice beliefs and hear others views pertaining to the possible war with Iraq.
Joe Ramagli, a member of Action Awareness, directed the discussion by advising the group of students and other community members to raise hands to speak, to respect others’ opinions and to refrain from becoming emotional.
Another member of Action Awareness served as the “vibe watcher,” whose duty was to regulate any negative emotions if they got out of hand.
Forum participants voiced both anti-war and pro-war views, but most of those who spoke expressed opposition to the possibility that the United States may use military force against Iraq.
Ramagli said Action Awareness had a few goals in mind for hosting the open forum.
“We’re trying to open discussion of a complex topic with a diverse group of people, and to broaden peoples’ perspectives on this impending war with Iraq,” Ramagli said. “Thirdly, we want to be a model for what we hope world politics will become, which is large groups of people discussing complicated issues peacefully.”
Another Action Awareness member, Dan Milano, said he hoped the discussion would cause people to think about ways to solve problems without war.
After Ramagli prompted the group to begin discussion freely, many topics arose surrounding the issue of war with Iraq.
Some people, sitting in a circle of chairs, expressed frustration or disappointment with the way the U.S. government has been handling the conflict with Iraq.
Other topics that people discussed included the root causes of terrorism, war crimes allegedly committed by the U.S. in previous conflicts, whether or not Iraq is a direct threat and if so, what the U.S. government should do about that threat.
“Since (Action Awareness) organized this forum, I hope a lot of people who are pro-war come,” said Action Awareness member Jenna Glass, “so we can have conversations and maybe change their views so they realize war is wrong.”
Action Awareness held another forum earlier in the day on the LSC Plaza, where a smaller group of people had a similar discussion.
At least two students attended the evening forum to earn credit for a class,
S332: Minority/Majority Relations. One of these students, Juan Gonzales, said he had mixed views on the war.
“I don’t agree with a lot of the ways the government and Bush are going about this,” Gonzales, a senior criminal justice major, said. “But there are pro-war views I understand, too,”
Another student from the S332 class, Thurman Karan, said he had mixed feelings on the possible war as well.
“The dictatorship in Iraq is pretty corrupt,” Karan, a senior criminal justice major, began. “However, I don’t think we should wage a full-fledged war.”
Ramagli continued to regulate the discussion while several other participants in the discussion expressed opinions concerning this possible war with Iraq, previous wars and ethical opinions about war in general.