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Expert talks about antiwar protests

An increase in the number of antiwar protests can be expected as the threat of war moves closer. A Purdue University expert in protests and social movements can talk about the effectiveness of antiwar protests, as well as how the Internet plays a role in mobilization.

"Americans can't vote on whether they want war," says Rachel Einwohner, sociology professor in the School of Liberal Arts. "Protesting war is some Americans' way to communicate to Congress their feelings about going to war."

Einwohner also can offer a historical perspective of protesting in America.

Contact: Einwohner (765) 494-4696,

Will war rally public opinion?

As more American troops are committed, the conventional expectation is there will be a large spike in approval for a war and for President Bush. However, a Purdue University political science professor says a war in Iraq may not have such a "rallying effect."

"There are several aspects to this conflict that make it distinctive in comparison to past wars," said James McCann, who is on leave this year at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. "All of this could moderate the rally effect as the war progresses. That said, any rally effect could strengthen the president's hand in domestic policy-making and set him up well for the 2004 election."

The continued debate over the moral justification for war, as well as protests against war and the general shakiness of the domestic economy are reasons any rallying effects may not be sustained for long, McCann said.

McCann, who has been closely following pubic opinion on war in Iraq, also can talk about his observations of the ambivalent attitude Americans have toward the potential war.

Contact: McCann, (202) 797-6060,