Scottsdale CC plans 2nd Iraq 'teach-in' Public forum aims to shed light on current events

Elias C. Arnold The Arizona Republic Dec. 6, 2005 12:00 AM

SCOTTSDALE COMMUNITY COLLEGE - More than two years after the start of the Iraq war, a group of professors is planning a "teach-in" to help students better understand the state of the war and the challenges that lie ahead.

"We've been there (two) years now. Let's take a look at things," said Mark Klobas, a history instructor who is organizing the event.

The decision to hold Scottsdale Community College's second Iraq war teach-in comes as some members of Congress have called for a plan to bring U.S. troops home.

It also follows the recent benchmark of 2,000 U.S. military personnel killed in a war that more often is being compared by some with Vietnam, which spawned dozens of teach-ins at campuses throughout the nation in the '60s and '70s.

SCC held its first Iraq war teach-in in April 2003, a month after the start of the war.

Revisiting the teach-in had more to do with how much time has passed since the first teach-in than with recent events, Klobas said.

Vietnam War teach-ins, which mostly gave voice to an anti-war perspective, were a way to teach people about what was going on in an era before cable TV and the Internet.

The goal of the SCC teach-ins, which will be in either February or March, is to shed light on current events and extend learning outside the classroom, Klobas said.

Leonard O'Brian, a philosophy professor who participated in the first teach-in, said bringing questions about the war out into a public forum exposes both panelists and students to ideas they might not have considered otherwise.

O'Brian said his hope is that talking with people about these issues will get students thinking about what's happening elsewhere in the world.

Up until now, he said, Americans have largely been passive about the war, with the burden falling almost entirely on those who have lost family members.

"It's easy to drive around in our luxury cars imagining that the rest of the world is so blessed," O'Brian said. "We've got to struggle with this thing. We've got to bring our heads out of the sand."

Brandon Pullen, an undeclared sophomore, said the calls for a pullout and the casualties haven't changed his opinion about the war.

"I still stand behind our troops just because I think there's a lot going on over there that the public doesn't understand," he said.

Victor Carona, a computer-engineering freshman, said he now agrees with the calls for a pullout.

"I thought it was a good idea to get rid of all the bad guys, but now it's too much," he said. "We're kind of taking over the country."

Reach the reporter at or (602) 444-2219.

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