Bestselling author to speak on 'The Real War' in Iraq
By Meghan Dwyer
Monday, November 17, 2003

New York Times and internationally best-selling author William Rivers Pitt will speak at 7 p.m. tonight on "The Real War" in Iraq in the Grand Hall of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.
Following Pitt's Sunday night student discussion on dissent and activism, he will offer a critique of the Bush administration and what he calls the "real reasons for the war in Iraq ... what the boys in the White House don't want you to know."

Pitt is also a political analyst for the Institute for Public Accuracy and a managing editor for truthout.org.

Cindy Hoffman, a member of the Progressive Faculty Coalition that helped bring Pitt to campus, said she believes dissent is patriotic. "Speaking out against policies that you believe harm people is a civil responsibility, just as is voting," Hoffman said.

IU College Republicans President Angel Rivera said he does not believe Pitt is qualified enough to speak about the war.

" You will get more facts from reading The Onion than from learning through this man," Rivera said sarcastically.

Pitt will address what he deems the "lies" surrounding the war in Iraq and the effect they are having on "the blood of" U.S. troops.

Pitt said the most disturbing revelation he's encountered is "the fact that this administration is deliberately hiding the soldiers that are coming home dead from this war."

" No media is allowed on the planes and Bush administrators refuse to attend soldier funerals in order to further this shushing of these embarrassing dead people," Pitt said.

Rivera disagreed.

" If you read the paper, you know that soldiers are dying," he said. "If you need to see them, then go to their funerals."

Pitt also said it is no longer proper to use the term "body bags" when referring to the transport of the deceased. The Bush administration, Pitt said, prefers "transfer tubes."

As a notorious critic of the Bush administration, Pitt will question the U.S. government in his address this evening. But his frustrations aren't enough for the writer to bail on his country, he said.

" It's my country. I live here," Pitt added. "If everyone who believes as I believe, cut and run because it got too hard, in a sense we'd be leaving it to the bastards."

As a former high school teacher, Pitt said he remembers part of his political inspiration derived from the discouragement he had in the classroom, looking at the faces of the future, while simultaneously understanding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks were being used to "voice a lot of really ruinous policies."

But Pitt admits the real driving force behind his activism for First Amendment rights is what he deems the "nauseating farce of an election" in 2000.

Pitt's three books, "War on Iraq -- What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know," The Greatest Sedition is Silence" and "Our Flag, Too -- The Paradox of Patriotism," will all be available for purchase at tonight's lecture.

As for the future, Pitt said he believes anybody is better than Bush in 2004."From what I've seen it looks like were going to end up with Clark, Kerry or Dean, and I'd be more than happy to vote for any of them," he said.

Senior Cody Williams, president of IU Students for Howard Dean, welcomes the anti-war sentiments to campus.

" Dean was the only guy who stood up to the war," Williams said. "That's the main reason I started supporting Howard Dean."


As for Pitt, who just recently turned 32, running for office isn't feasible for a few more birthdays. But he said it's on his "to-do list."


-- Contact staff writer Meghan Dwyer at madwyer@indiana.edu.
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This ad appeared in the online version of the Indiana Daily Student for the week preceding the event.