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Debate sparks the Baker Peace Conference

April 20, 2005
By Kelly Durso

Participants of the 2005 Baker Peace Conference listened to notable speakers discuss everything from 9/11 and Iraq to intelligence and reform.

Click to watchThe Baker Peace Conference kicked off Thursday night with a keynote address by former CIA Director James Woolsey. Woolsey focused on America's role in spreading democracy and the reasons the United States is fighting a war on terror.

The conference continued on Friday with three panels of speakers. Notable speakers included David Kay, head of the Bush administration's weapons inspection team in Iraq in 2003-2004, to Michael Scheuer, chief of the CIA Counterterrorist Center's Osama bin Laden Unit from 1996-1999. Baker University Center Ballroom was packed with students and academicians listening to American foreign policy debates.

"It seemed like a great opportunity to hear expert opinions," says Don Emerick, a sophomore psychology major, who came with some friends. "It's been a great experience and I'm happy about the debate between the panelists."

The panelists were very responsive to the crowd and the environment of presenting and debating each other's views. At one point, author Michael Scheuer admitted "that's the good thing about America; everyone has the right to be wrong."

Photo by Rick FaticaMichael Scheuer, author of "Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terrorism," was a favorite among the audience as an articulate presenter.

"I was mostly interested in seeing Michael Scheuer," says David Carroll, a freshman theater major. "It's been a positive experience."

Around the room the audience was captivated by what each of the speakers had to say in regards to issues, such as intelligence, homeland security and terrorism. Most nodded in agreement or disagreement as the panelists presented their cases.

Things became lively when it came to the answer-and-question portion of the panels. Panelists were jokingly fighting over who would answer which questions. The liveliest session was the "Intelligence and Civil Liberties: The Patriot Act and Homeland Security" where audience members grilled the panel concerning the effects of the Patriot Act.

The Baker Peace Conference was a mix of lively debate and discussion over important issues that are occurring in today's society.

Kelly Durso is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.

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