sealPurdue News

February 19, 2003

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Below are several Purdue University experts that can discuss a variety of topics related to a possible war with Iraq.

Expert says strike against Iraq legal

A Purdue political science expert says if America were to act against Iraq it would not violate international law.

"America has the right to use force in Iraq under international law," says Louis Rene Beres, expert in international law and relations. "The right to use force is limited to self-defense, humanitarian intervention and collective security. No state must wait until it has first become a victim before resorting to force."

Beres, who has published extensively on the threat of nuclear terrorism and regional nuclear war, also can talk about how international law handles countries that use civilian populations as part of their military strategy to deter attack.

CONTACT: Beres, (765) 494-4189,

War plans account for military families

A Purdue family expert says planning for war also involves considering the needs of military families.

"In addition to planning the logistics of going to war, there also is discussion in the Pentagon about the quality of life for military families," says Shelley MacDermid, co-director of the Military Family Research Institute and director for the Center for Families at Purdue.

The military has its own quality of life programs and policies to support the psychological well-being of military members and their families, as well as services for child care, fitness centers and health care, MacDermid says. Attention also is focused on transitional support for families whose loved ones are deployed.

"As more reservists are called, they must quickly adjust to the military lifestyle," MacDermid says. "In some cases, the reservist and his or her family may not know how to access military programs, and the adjustment can be a struggle for some."

MacDermid also can speak about how military families cope with the threat of war.

CONTACT: MacDermid, (765) 494-6026 or (765) 423-7766,

Freedom of speech, civil rights affected by war

Just as 9/11 affected Americans' civil liberties, a Purdue political science professor says war in Iraq would impact the freedom of speech and assembly.

"During times of peace, our rights and liberties evolve and flourish," says William McLauchlan, professor of political science. "We build up our freedoms in the court system and fight to preserve them, only to see some of those rights dissipate with war or conflict."

McLauchlan says American history is dotted with times when free speech and civil liberties were jeopardized, such as during World War I and II.

McLauchlan also can talk about what homeland security means for free speech, and how terrorism related legislation impacts civil liberties.

CONTACT: McLauchlan, (765) 494-4171,