Southtown Star to Cover Kirstein Speech before the Progressive Forum

The Southtown Star carried this item announcing my upcoming address:

December 16, 2007

Iraq war topic for talk

Peter N. Kirstein, professor of history at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, will speak on “Towards a New Past: The Meaning of the Iraq War” from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at Empire Buffet, 4601 Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30), Matteson. An optional dinner will precede the program from 6 to 7 p.m.

Kirstein is nationally known for his anti-war advocacy and defense of academic freedom. He was suspended for an anti-war e-mail to an Air Force Academy cadet in 2002 that was the subject of a national controversy over academic freedom and free speech. Kirstein was profiled in David Horowitz’s “The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America” and debated the conservative author on the Iraq war and academic freedom. Kirstein was the recipient of his university’s Teaching Excellence Award and recently was elected vice president of the American Association of University Professors-Illinois Conference. He is a veteran of the Army Reserve. 

Here is an excerpt of my planned remarks. Since most of the talk will be on current events, I will excerpt a brief historical portion on the issue of apology and historical memory. Many nations have apologised for past crimes: Japan has in some areas; Germany has as well; Russia as long ago as Nikita Khrushchev’s accession to power acknowledged some of Josef Stalin’s transgressions. The U.S. rarely does so due to its hyperpower hauteur yet President Reagan did apologise for the ten racist, Nazi-style concentration camps that were built in seven states to “intern” Americans of Japanese ancestry. While there were not massive deaths, some died and only racism accounted for their “internment” and vicious removal from civilian society.

“The U.S. should apologise for the use of atomic weapons against civilian populations in Japan at the end of World War II in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the genocidal war in Vietnam in which approximately two million Vietnamese were exterminated by American military power.”

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