Arnove, Gustafson and Ryabov Debate Occupation of Iraq Brooklyn, April 6, 2005 "... if there were any genuine justice for the people of Iraq, not only would war criminals like Rumsfeld and Bush and Wolfowitz face prosecution for their crimes, the U.S. government would be forced to pay them reparations." – from Anthony Arnove’s prepared remarks Anthony Arnove, Erik Gustafson (EPIC), and Alex Ryabov (, with audience participation, debated the continued US occupation of Iraq on April 6, 2005 at St. Francis College in Brooklyn Heights, NY. Carolyn Eisenberg of sponsor Brooklyn Parents for Peace moderated. This debate comes at a critical time. It brought together proponents of immediate withdrawal – Arnove and Ryabov, with Gustafson of the Education for Peace in Iraq Center, who supports continued US occupation. EPIC has joined with Veterans for Common Sense in supporting continued US occupation, a rationale being that the US needs to stay to help Iraq. 40% of VCS members reportedly object to this stance and support immediate withdrawal. Audio of both the presentations and rebuttals, and the audience comments and questions, are available for download at Traprock Peace Center’s website. Both MP3 and RealAudio versions are available. See also photos from the event. Arnove and Ryabov called for immediate withdrawal. Ryabov described his experience in Iraq – one that led him to oppose the war and occupation. Arnove, author of the definitive treatment of US sanctions against Iraq - "Iraq Under Siege: The Deadly Impact of Sanctions and War" - considered US intentions behind the war and occupation, and rebutted the argument that the US needs to stay in Iraq due to its obligation to the Iraqi people. "Does the U.S. government does have an obligation to the Iraq people? Absolutely. An obligation for the crimes Washington supported for years when Saddam Hussein was an ally. For arming and supporting both sides in the brutal Iran-Iraq war. For the devastation of the 1991 Gulf War. For the use of depleted uranium munitions, cluster bombs, and bunker busters. For the devastating sanctions. For the invasion of 2003, and the humiliation and destruction and deaths that caused. But the only way to begin to meet this obligation is to withdraw immediately — not six months or six years from now, but today. Malcolm X once said, “If you stick a knife nine inches into my back and pull it out three inches, that is not progress.†The U.S. first of all has to pull out the knife." Traprock has posted Arnove’s prepared comments and hopes to post a transcript of the debate (presentations followed by audience responses and Q and A) this weekend. This event was billed as a forum, but a debate ensued. Please judge for yourself by listening to the presentations, rebuttals and audience reactions through its comments, questions and reactions. Audio may be downloaded for private and non-profit use, including radio airplay, with attribution to the panelists, Brooklyn Parents for Peace for organizing the event and to Traprock Peace Center for creating the audio recordings. Photos are copyright 2005 Charles Jenks; please contact him for permission to reuse. Charles Jenks Traprock Peace Center