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Prof. Brett O'Bannon Discusses Iraq War Live on Radio Program

March 19, 2004

March 19, 2004, Greencastle, Ind. - On the one year anniversary of the U.S.-Iraq war. Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "O'Bannon on the War" 317KB] "We're seeing some progress in some areas and regress in others," Brett O'Bannon, instructor of political science at DePauw University, said today on Bloomington, Indiana-based NPR affilate WFIU's Noon Edition. "The headlines of this last week -- more than 200 civilians killed in Baghdad, and a dozen Americans -- suggest that things are not going well, but unfortunately, I think it's as many anticipated."

O'Bannon, who was joined on the program by Jaineb Istrabadi, associate director of the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Program at Indiana University in Bloomington, noted, Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Removing Saddam" 611KB] "This is, at least at some level, about removing a very bad guy and that's an unarguably good thing. The problem is that in doing so you create new kinds of problems. Are the methods that we employ suitable or appropriate to the task, and can the larger objectives as stated by the administration about building a stable, multi-party democracy be realized in this way? And that really does ask people to grapple with the fact that Saddam Hussein is a very bad guy, and that he's now in custody and can no longer terrorize is in fact a good thing. But that isn't the end of the story."

In particular, O'Bannon is concerned that creating a democracy in Iraq will be an enormous task. Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "Building a New Iraq" 1300KB] "For 30 years, scholars have been lEAST COLLEGE TOWERooking at the question of democratic transitions... largely self-driven efforts to achieve some form of stable democracy... and the reality is that most of these don't go so well." The professor adds, "Some of the questions that we look at are: what kind of domestic situation do you need -- how strong does the middle class have to be, what are the historical factors that are supportive to the emergence of democracy -- the global conditions. And the reality is that very little of that seems to be present, few of the positive indicators seem to be present here. And none of these successes look anything like what we're doing, which is to come in and essentially decapitate a regime and impose that which is really, really complicated. An appreciation of this work is really absent in the current administration. There seemed to be little sense of how complicated this was going to be." [BONUS CLIP: Audio Link[DOWNLOAD AUDIO: "O'Bannon on Opportunity Cost of the War" 969KB]]

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Source: WFIU (Bloomington, Ind.)

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