Professor discusses American involvement in foreign affairs

Seth Woehrle

Much of the country is swathed in red, white and blue, and patriotism is uniting rank-and-file Americans behind their government following last week’s attacks.

But during a “teach-in” on the West Bank on Thursday afternoon, professors and students warned blind trust in government can be dangerous.

Political science professor August Nimtz gave a speech titled “Terrorism: Myth and Reality” to a crowd of more than 100 students in 230 Anderson Hall.

Nimtz chronicled American involvement in foreign affairs from the 1960s to the present, running down a laundry list of the nation’s history of “victimization” in countries like Cuba, Panama, Iran and Iraq.

“These policies make the world dangerous, not only for people abroad but dangerous for us,” he said, adding that CIA and military involvement in foreign countries creates bitter victims unable to distinguish between the U.S. government and the U.S. people.

He claimed the operatives the CIA funded in the past “become terrorists after Washington doesn’t have any use for them.”

Nimtz accused the Bush administration of taking advantage of the attacks to begin a “war drive,” asserting that war was inherent in a capitalist economic system.

The second part of his speech focused on the nation’s domestic working people – a class he said would be expected to bear the worst of the war effort.

In a patriotic, pro-war climate, he said, laborers would be unable to exercise their civil liberties – evidenced, he said, by the recent decision by state workers to delay a planned strike.

After a question and answer period, the audience was urged to write letters to Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., who sits on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Another teach-in is scheduled for Friday from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. at 230 Anderson, featuring Ragui Assaad, an associate professor in the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.

After the teach-in, organizers will walk to Wellstone’s office and deliver the letters.

Teach-ins are scheduled for next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, but the topics are not yet known.

The Anti-War Committee, a Minneapolis-based organization, has planned a Tuesday protest in front of the Minneapolis federal building.

Seth Woehrle welcomes comments at [email protected]