Public opinion on the Iraqi war
During the last week of classes at James Madison University, I took an opinion survey of the students in my Global Politics classes, with 62 total responses. (There should have been about 75 altogether; absentee rates seem to climb this time of year.) There was a distinct division of opinion regarding the U.S.-led war to root out terrorism in Iraq, but with a clear majority in support of it. Nevertheless, most students believed that the war will lead to MORE terrorism. They also reject the notions that the war is a hopeless quagmire or that the United States was in some way partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Finally, they do not believe that a halt to U.S. support for Israel would lead to diminished terrorist attacks against us, but they have a dim view of how well informed about the war the American people are. You can see the results at the War debate page of my JMU Web site, which also has a chronology and a lot of links to comments on the war, Iraqi blogs, etc. I avoid preaching to my classes and try hard to present a balanced perspective on controversial issues, so I'm fairly sure that the survey was accurate reflection of what students really think. Overall, the JMU students I've met are a very impressive bunch, and I'm sure many of those who are graduating will accomplish great things in their future careers.
Exhausted from work, I fell asleep before ABC's Nightline program last night, so I didn't see the controversial series of photographs of the American war dead. At first glance, the idea of using such images to commemorate the sacrifices made by our soldiers seemed perfectly appropriate. Indeed, I was thinking about displaying in class the pages occasionally published by the Washington Post showing the fallen soldier's faces, but wasn't sure if it would be received well. For ABC, home of the piously disdainful Peter Jennings, the problem is that Ted Koppel has a thinly veiled hidden agenda. I saw a piece from his recent interview of Richard Clarke, and the smug, self-congratulatory tone and presumptive comments made his anti-war bias perfectly clear.