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Panelists to ask again, "Iraq: What Now?"

Author: Arts and Letters


In November 2004, 20 months after the United States overthrew Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, three University of Notre Dame experts with differing viewpoints met to address the question: “Should the U.S. withdraw, stay the course, or engage more deeply in Iraq?”Now, another 15 months later, the panelists will meet again, at 4:15p.m. Jan. 31 (Tuesday), to ponder the question: “Iraq: What now?” The discussion in the auditorium of the Hesburgh Center for International Studies is free and open to the public.

The panelists will be Lt. Col. Kelly Jordan, commanding officer of Notre Dame’s Army ROTC;Dan Lindley, assistant professor of political science; and George Lopez, senior fellow of the Joan B. Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies.

Lindley, who previously argued that the U.S. should engage more deeply in Iraq, will note that his perspective has changed.

“Last year, I recommended that we treat Iraq like the emergency it is and ramp up forces considerably as security is an essential pre-condition for political and economic development,” he said. “This year, that course is politically impossible, and the range of U.S. options is greatly constrained.”

Lopez suggested in 2004 that the U.S. should begin a staged withdrawal that would allow for the Iraqi government to get on its feet. Now, he’s skeptical that American troops can accomplish anything.

“The only difference the U.S. makes is that it protects some Iraqis in the green zone from being attacked,” he said. “Other than that, our presence provides a good target, a rallyingrationale to bind together varied violent groups, and creates little incentive for Iraqi political forces or the army to take control of their future.”

Jordan will provide the Defense Department position of “staying the course” in Iraq. He replaces the previous ROTC panelist, assistant professor of military science Gary Masapollo, who has been assigned to the naval station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he serves on a tribunal reviewing cases of detainees.

The event is sponsored by the Kroc Institute, the ROTC Command, and the Center for Social Concerns.

Contact: Julie Titone, director of communications, Kroc Institute, 574-631-8819,

Originally published by Julie Titone &Dennis Brown at on January 23, 2006.