The war in Iraq may be over militarily, but the anti-war movement here at home is far from finished.
Those who participated in a faculty-led teach-in at UCLA on Friday afternoon argued the war in Iraq is only beginning. They discussed U.S. policy on foreign and domestic fronts, and sought to give students a view they feel is not represented in mainstream society.
"The issue has never been the military outcome of the war," said Gabriel Piterberg, a history professor and one of the event speakers.
"(The issues are) what will happen in Iraq, how much more damage the Americans will do there ... whether they will invade Syria or anyone else in the Middle East," he said.
The teach-in was also the inaugural event for the Student Anti-War Committee, a new student group formed at the end of winter quarter as a forum for anti-war students.
"Ultimately, we're going to be presenting another view than what you normally get on your TV screen," said Ben Yuminsky, a second-year history student and member of the Student Anti-War Committee.
The event, attended by a largely anti-war crowd of about 130 students and members of the L.A. community, featured four speakers, musical performances and several open discussion sessions.
Piterberg, who lectured on the history of Iraq, warned the Iraqi people could be severely alienated by the war.
"One shouldn't be surprised if the potential progressive elements in these societies are suspicious of the U.S. foreign policy," he said.
Piterberg also said the Iraqi people might actually have preferred a dictatorial regime to a democratic government, but he later scaled his statement back and said the Iraqi people enjoyed stability and predictability.
"They actually prefer the authoritative regimes that are easier to strike a deal with," he said.
Sonali Kolhatkar, a self-described media activist from public radio station KPFK, discussed what she felt was bias in the corporate media and war coverage she labeled as "gory" and "obsessive."
"Public relations are a very important psychological tool in this war. It's not just the bombs," she said.
Discussion was not limited to the war in Iraq. Paul Von Blum, a communications studies professor at UCLA and an anti-war activist since the Vietnam War, spoke on the USA PATRIOT Act, a policy he feels is reminiscent of the regime of "the old Soviet Union."
"I see the PATRIOT Act as a major intrusion on our tradition of civil liberties. We need to mobilize politically to prevent an Orwellian nightmare," he said.
Though the audience was very receptive to the speakers and their messages, some seemed disappointed at the turnout and were uncertain as to what direction the anti-war movement should take now.
Nitaña Sanchez, a third-year world arts and cultures student, said some people in the anti-war movement feel "discouraged" that their protests did not prevent President Bush from going to war.
"I think people just don't know what to do anymore," she said.
David Levy, a history graduate student, said he was disappointed by the lack of on-campus debate in general and that he would like to see more people discussing the issue.
"I genuinely think all opinions on this issue are relevant and these things should be discussed," he said. "I just can't tolerate indifference."