Hordes of Cornell students and faculty members squeezed into McGraw 165 yesterday to organize and voice their opposition to military action in Iraq.
Roughly 200 attendees participated in the meeting planned by the Cornell Campaign to Stop the War, a campaign designed to coordinate Cornell’s opposition to preemptive military activity with other antiwar organizations and efforts taking place in the Ithaca community.
The campaign was established last week when 10 to 20 students and faculty members met to organize an effort to foster Cornell’s antiwar discourse and promote University antiwar activity.
The meeting began by introducing popular oppositions to U.S.-initiated war efforts in Iraq. Amy Levine grad articulated a series of antiwar arguments including domestic, international and economic concerns. In addition, she expressed skepticism regarding the danger posed by Iraq.
“There is a lack of evidence showing that Iraq is a nuclear threat,” she said.
Levine also questioned the Bush administration’s motives for waging war in the Middle East.
“The Republican strategy is to [use this war] to gain congressional seats,” she said, implying that Bush seeks to promote the Republican Party and impact upcoming elections by waging war with Iraq.
Following the introduction, Katrina Becker ’03 presented the goals of the campaign.
“We want this effort to democratically represent the way that people feel [about war with Iraq] at Cornell,” she said.
Campaign organizers seek to foster antiwar activity on campus and throughout the Ithaca community and are waiting to hear other antiwar sentiments before creating a list of specific campaign goals.
“This meeting was [planned] to establish contact with the Cornell community,” said Becker. “Our mission is clearly to stop the war in Iraq. We haven’t expanded on that [yet].”
Prof. Terry Turner, anthropology, introduced the campaign’s educational component which, organizers hope, will include teach-in demonstrations and guest speakers. Other components of the campaign introduced during the meeting include direct action, publicity and administrative efforts.
Meeting attendees also had the opportunity to voice their antiwar positions. Among those expressing their position was Chaplain Philip Fiadino of Cornell United Religious Work.
“The churches, the synagogues, the mosques and the people of faith are against this war,” he said, referring to the many religious groups opposed to preemptive warfare with Iraq. “Those [religious organizations] who oppose the war represent a broad coalition of both progressive and traditional elements of the religious communities.”
Campaign organizers emphasized their desire to participate in the array of antiwar activity already taking place in the Ithaca community. The Ithaca Common Council made national news last week by becoming the second city council in the country to pass an antiwar resolution.
“I think we should follow up [the city’s antiwar activity] and keep Ithaca on the map,” Turner said.
Committee organizers plan to participate in various antiwar events during the next few weeks, including a demonstration at Ithaca College and a march in Washington, D.C. at the end of the month.
Among the events already planned by the campaign is an antiwar protest on Nov. 2 entitled “What Would You Do With $200 Billion?”
Antiwar sentiments escalated Monday night as President George W. Bush addressed the nation in a televised address. His call for military action in the Middle East was referenced by numerous campaign organizers who dismissed many of his pro-war arguments.
The campaign’s first antiwar event will take place this weekend as University war protesters plan to join local protesters in a rally at the Farmer’s Market.
Archived article by Ellen Miller