BY CLINTON DICK
With the likelihood of a war with Iraq increasing, and with the Bush administration drawing a line in the sand dividing those who oppose war from those who favor militarily toppling Hussein’s regime, a group of Harvard Law students have weighed in on the matter by launching a new organization to build support for the immediate disarmament of Iraq and the war against terrorism.
Calling themselves Students for Protecting America, the students launched their campaign on February 24, and, according to the organization’s president, 1L Brett Joshpe, they will ask for official recognition from the Law School sometime this week.
“We were prompted to start this organization by the anti-war protests of recent months and weeks,” Joshpe told The RECORD. “We want to show people that these protestors do not speak for everyone and that there is a high level of support for disarming Iraq, even on college campuses and at HLS.”
Avigael Cymrot, a 1L who is the organization’s vice president, stated that the “anti-war protestors are supporting the continuation of a regime that gasses its ethnic minorities, sanctions the use of rape as a means of political enforcement. . . and has the potential to share weapons of mass destruction with terrorists.”
According to the organization’s press release, the group links the war against Iraq with the war against terrorism, stating they support “the Bush Administration’s efforts to fight terrorism and defend America,” and that “Iraq poses a dire threat that should be disarmed immediately.” The organization laid out an eight-point statement on Iraq, claiming that the war is moral and beneficial to the Iraqi people, that Hussein’s continued defiance emphasizes the failure of economic sanctions and that the “Bush administration has acted deliberately and cautiously by presenting numerous occasions for Iraq to disarm, which it has failed to do.”
The organization also criticized recent moves by France, Germany and other members of the international community to block U.S. military action while trumpeting continued weapons inspections. Saying these countries “have irresponsibly obstructed our efforts to disarm Iraq” and “have seriously undermined the integrity of their alliances with the U.S.,” Students for Protecting America called on the Bush administration to continue military operations without their support.
One-L Anthony Gaughan, one of the group’s cofounders, asked, “whether the international community will live up to its cornerstone ideals of democracy and human rights, or whether its ideals are merely rhetorical flourishes.”
Joshpe said the organization already has 50 members at HLS and is represented by individuals with differing political ideologies. Additionally, many people from across the country have expressed a desire to stay connected to the organization and possibly start similar programs in their areas.
While the focus at this moment is on Iraq, Joshpe said the organization would not disband if the U.S. invades Iraq and removes Hussein from power. “Hussein’s demise will represent a major victory in the war against terrorism,” he said, “but not the final victory. This war will require years of vigilance on the part of the United States and our allies.”
Students interested in the organization can visit its website at: www.StudentsProtectingAmerica.com.