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Humanists Debate Alternative Views on Iraq War

For Immediate Release - Contact Fred Edwords at (301) 233-0351 fedwords@americanhumanist.org - www.americanhumanist.org

(Washington, D.C., March 18, 2008) In recognition of the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, and in a spirit of the free exploration of ideas, the American Humanist Association is publicizing alternative humanist views on U.S. military involvement in Iraq.

Articles pro and con appeared in the January/February 2008 issue of the Humanist magazine. And today the organization posted a debate on its Humanist Online Web site.

"Even when most humanists are on one side of a question, as they are on this one, respect for dissenting views remains a staple of humanist thought," said Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association. "That's why we are letting two views battle it out today."

The first article posted, "Fighting for Iraq: a Case for Liberation," is by Jende Huang, who argues, "The justification for [liberating Iraq] can be drawn from Enlightenment values as well as common human decency. The dignity of the individual, the power of the life of the mind, and the creative potential of all of humanity are values that can and should be extended to all peoples. . . . The reluctance to extend such basic considerations as universal human rights to those living on foreign soil is disturbing. The tragedy of the Left is in its newfound unwillingness and inability to apply the idea of 'justice for all,' to, well, all."

T. F. Kelley offers a counter argument in a web extra article titled "A Case of Invasion" in which he writes, "Sadly, Iraq has not been liberated; it has been conquered, occupied, and decimated by any definition. . . . What happened after Baghdad fell were not missteps, they were disastrous blunders with enormous consequences. I feel no obligation as a progressive to follow a fool's path to obvious disaster, nor would I expect any humanist or anyone else to do so."

You can read Huang and Kelley's articles on the Humanist website (www.thehumanist.org). Read Huang's article at http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/Huang.html and Kelley's article at http://www.thehumanist.org/humanist/Kelley-extra.html. You may also read an extension of the debate on the Humanist blog, Rant and Reason, at blog.thehumanist.com.

Though individual humanists may differ, however, the American Humanist Association as an organization, informed by this longstanding debate, takes a clear position. The AHA was opposed to Congress authorizing the original use of troops (http://www.americanhumanist.org/press/iraq.htm), opposed to Bush's decision to start a unilateral war (http://www.americanhumanist.org/press/Iraq031703.html), and supported efforts to bring the troops home (http://www.americanhumanist.org/press/decofpeace.php).

"We stand firm with those who say five years is too long," Speckhardt concluded, "and call for decisive action to end a conflict that continues to make matters worse."

 

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The American Humanist Association (www.americanhumanist.org) advocates for the rights and viewpoints of humanists. Founded in 1941 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., its work is extended through more than 100 local chapters and affiliates across America.

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism, affirms our responsibility to lead ethical lives of value to self and humanity.

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