Pre-Horowitz-Kirstein Debate Press Coverage Calls Me “Strident Pacifist”

Article calls me "Strident Pacifist." Iraq war debate slated for Wednesday at Saint Xavier Tuesday, March 28, 2006 Daily Southtown By Courtney Greve Staff writer —————————————————————

Just five weeks after "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan's contentious appearance at Saint Xavier University, two nationally known activists with opposing viewpoints on the Iraq war will face off at the Catholic school in Chicago's Mount Greenwood community.

Conservative author David Horowitz will debate Peter Kirstein, a Saint Xavier history professor who was listed in Horowitz's new book profiling "dangerous" academics across the country. Horowitz, who supports the war, and Kirstein, a strident pacifist, will discuss their opinions of the conflict and whether politics should be taken out of the classroom. "A university has to be a place where controversial ideas can be discussed in an open exchange," Kirstein said in a phone interview. Kirstein added he wants to organize future debates about abortion, capital punishment and stem cell research.

Horowitz could not be reached for comment. His book, "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," claims left-wing radical professors at public and private colleges indoctrinate students when they "spew violent anti-Americanism." Kirstein is on the list primarily because of a highly publicized 2002 e-mail he wrote angrily denouncing the "baby-killing tactics" of the Air Force and calling the academy cadet to whom he was writing a "disgrace" to his country.

On his blog, Kirstein said the book "is an example of war's impact on our democratic freedoms." "War may be rhetorically intended to spread democracy abroad, but it usually eviscerates it at home during the conflict," he wrote. "Mr. Horowitz is trying to vilify and marginalize academicians who do not subscribe to his worldview." Despite being targeted in Horowitz's book, Kirstein said he and Horowitz agree that academic freedom and open debate are essential to society. "Dissent is good for America, and without it, the nation would have even fewer restraints on its imperial overstretch than it does now," Kirstein wrote on his blog.

Kirstein said he began organizing the debate last summer, long before the book was published and Sheehan's talk was scheduled. Several Saint Xavier departments — history and political science; sociology, anthropology and criminal science; and women and gender studies — paid for most of Horowitz's speaking fee, Kirstein said. A few anonymous and outside sponsors, including the Young America's Foundation, also gave contributions, he said.

Courtney Greve may be reached at or (708) 633-5983.

If you go

What: Iraq War debate featuring David Horowitz and Peter Kirstein

When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Saint Xavier University's McGuire Hall, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago

"Strident Pacifist's" Comment: Perhaps a little stridency can go a long way in mitigating and reversing the foreign policy excesses of the United States. Yes war is a "disgrace." Those who bomb and target innocent civilians is "disgraceful." Death and murder are not concepts that I will ignore. I never met the reporter so she is hardly in a position to characterise my approach to external affairs but that is typical of on-the-phone reportage.

A reporter needs to get out of the editing room and interview directly at least some of the persons in her story. Gives it greater credibility and less anecdotal nonsense. However this reporter does accurately quote me; she selected appropriate and relevant quotations from this blog; she resisted on the phone but did ultimately allow me to take-back a comment that was not off the record. So she did a pretty good job with the above cheap shot noted. Hey if the press can evaluate us, we can evaluate them. Generally speaking, the Daily Southtown, does adhere to objective journalism. Why they cover me so much is anyone's guess. Maybe there are not enough bank robbers or Bingo tournaments!!

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