Associate Professor of Political Science Kevin Dunn organized protests on campus six years ago when the Iraq War began. Last week on the event of the anniversary of the war, the Daily Messenger wrote about some of the people who have expressed their opposition to the war to see what, if anything has changed in the past six years.
Dunn, who is on sabbatical in Scotland and e-mailed his response back to reporter Mike Maslanik, expressed concern that the war is “fading from the public consciousness.”
It quotes him as saying there is “an enormous potential” for American to think about “who we are and who we want to be.”
Dunn is quoted as saying he thinks Americans would rather forget about the war.
“Many Americans think that the war does not affect them,” he said, “even though ‘it impacts all of us, both directly and indirectly, and will for decades to come.'”
The full text appears below.
War protests: Six years later
Mike Maslanik • staff writer • March 22, 2009
Palmyra, N.Y. –
Every Wednesday for about the last three years, Sandy Fessler gathers with a handful of like-minded people downtown Palmyra to voice their support for the troops and their opposition to the Iraq War.
The group, called “Pro-Soldier, Pro-Peace,” was formed by Fessler and her husband, Bruce Pease, in part to remind people of the human cost of the war.
“We felt that there should be someone visible to show there is still a war going on, that there are still people being killed,” she said.
Over the years, passersby honked their horns in support of the vigil, some stopped to join in and a few have called the group “communists” and yelled at them to “get a job.”
“I always thought that was funny because we all have jobs,” Fessler said.
For Fessler, the years since the start of the Iraq war have only made her more of peace advocate.
While she’s glad Barack Obama is in the White House, she does not see much of a reason to be optimistic about an end to the war, which marked its sixth anniversary late last week.
“Nothing is etched in stone, if anything the violence seems to be worse in Iraq and Afghanistan,” she said.
Fessler is also worried that people are starting to forget about the war. A case in point, she said, is that Moveon.org, a prominent liberal political action group, has seemed to “move on” from the war as a primary issue. Nowadays, the group’s Web site is dominated by calls for action about the current economic crisis.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges professor Kevin Dunn, who organized campus protests at the start of the war, is also concerned that Iraq is fading from the public consciousness.
Dunn is struck, he said, by how little introspection there has been in the six years since the invasion and occupation.
E-mailing from Scotland, where he is traveling on sabbatical, he said there is “an enormous potential” for American to think about “who we are and who we want to be,” particularly after the “manipulation” of pre-war intelligence and the revelations of abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.
“But with the election of Obama, I suspect most Americans would prefer to just forget about the whole debacle, even though it continues to cost American lives and money,” Dunn said. “I don’t think this is just an effect of the economic dire straits we find ourselves in.”
Many Americans think that the war does not affect them, he said, even though “it impacts all of us, both directly and indirectly, and will for decades to come.”