‘War’ symposium to discuss justifications of Iraq war

Members of the staff will discuss the legitimacy of the war in Iraq today at the second Searchlight Symposium. The symposium, titled “What is a Just War? Are We in One?”, will be conducted by a panel of professors including Mark Gilderhus, Eric Cox and Nadia Lahutsky.

All three have said they agree the war needs to be addressed at TCU.

“Kids are dying,” said Gilderhus, chair of the history department. “This issue concerns every person on campus, students and faculty, Democrats and Republicans.”

Cox said he views the symposium as a prime opportunity to explore the morality of war and foreign policy. He taught a six-month course titled “Just War and Just Peace” at St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church.

Cox said he was struck by students’ willingness to discuss the sensitive subject.

Lahutsky said the notion of a “just war” is a recurring element in her area of expertise: Christian history. The concept emerged within the faith as early as the fourth century and has remained a subject of debate ever since, said Lahutsky, associate professor of religion.

Lahutsky also drew comparisons between the present situation in Iraq and the Vietnam War, noting a fundamental difference between the two.

She said the sacrifices of the Iraq war are not distributed evenly throughout society as they were during Vietnam.

“It is a very different setting now that we self-select for military service,” Lahutsky said. “We are not all bearing the burden as we were in Vietnam.”

Junior philosophy and English major John Wood organized the event in conjunction with Programming Council and the Student Government Association.

The symposium is structured to resemble a lecture session rather than a debate. Each staff member will speak for 20 minutes individually before answering audience questions collectively and engaging in open discussion.

“It is an opportunity for professors to get together and address a critical cultural issue from the perspective of their various departments,” Wood said.