Under secretary of defense will speak on war, terrorism

By Joel Lanceta

Douglas Feith, under secretary of defense for policy, will speak this Wednesday about the current U.S. involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. His speech, to be held at the Max Palevsky Theater in Ida Noyes Hall, is part of a forum titled “The Future of the War on Terrorism,” hosted by the University of Chicago Political Union.

As under secretary of defense for policy, one of the Pentagon’s four senior posts, Feith was a major architect of the war on terror. His responsibilities in the current Bush administration include the formulation of defense planning guidance and forces policy, Department of Defense relations with foreign countries, and shaping the department’s role in U.S. inter-agency policymaking.

Feith also served under Reagan as a member of the White House National Security Staff and in the Department of Defense as deputy assistant secretary of defense for negotiations policy. Before being appointed by President Bush in 2001, Feith was an attorney with the Washington firm of Feith and Zell.

Gregory Pesce, a first-year in the College and the new chair of the Political Union, said the group sent an open invitation to Feith to speak on campus this year. Fortunately, Feith was planning to visit colleges in the area with his son, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense was willing to coordinate a forum for Feith to speak on campus.

Robert Pape, associate professor of political science, believes that whether or not students agree with Feith’s views, it is important that they come and listen to him speak.

“Feith is one of the central figures in the Bush administration,” Pape said. “In particular, he has played a key role in expanding the Bush administration’s war on terrorism to include the conquest of Iraq and could well continue to play an important role in a second Bush administration. Whether you agree with his views or not, there is no question that he represents an important voice in American national security policy, and it is of great benefit to the University community hear his views firsthand.”

The event is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. A UCID is required for admittance.