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Purdue experts can discuss war in Iraq

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS: Below is a list of Purdue University experts who can discuss the impact of the war in Iraq.

Gender reactions to war differ

How will people react to the war in Iraq? A Purdue University interpersonal communication expert says people should look past a person's gender when offering support.

"As we head into war, people will experience many different types of emotions," says Erina MacGeorge, a professor of communication in the School of Liberal Arts. "Different people may experience anger or sadness or fear, depending on their individual perspectives and personalities.

This spectrum of emotions can make it challenging for friends and relatives, as well as professionals, to know how to provide support, MacGeorge says.

Gender differences can play a role in emotional expression.

"Because of cultural norms, men may not feel free to express sadness or grief over fighting in a war, even though those are emotions they feel most strongly," MacGeorge says. "For women, it may not be socially acceptable to express anger. It's important for those who lend support to look past a person's gender."

Contact: MacGeorge, (765) 494-3329,

Expert says media not substitute for friends during war

A Purdue University communication expert says finding your friends is a better strategy for coping with war than being consumed by media coverage.

"These are worrisome times in America," says Glenn Sparks.

Sparks says he expects to see people turn to media for non-stop coverage or hide from all news. But he cautions that what people really need are close social support systems.

Sparks can talk about strategies that people can use to cope with war, particularly strategies that involve media use, as well as what steps people can take to develop close, interpersonal relationships.

CONTACT: Sparks, (765) 494-3316,

Child expert talks about going to war

Children will be bombarded with media coverage, heightened security and even conversations among their peers as the war with Iraq begins, says a Purdue University expert in child development.

Judith Myers-Walls can explain how parents can to talk their children about what war means, as well as the security threat in America.

"Elementary-age children are likely to be confused about events and may mix historical, fantasy and imagined events in their current understanding," Myers-Walls says. "Some of them may feel vulnerable, so it may be helpful to talk with them about what parents and others are doing to keep them safe and to help them find coping strategies when they are afraid."

She also adds that preteens and teenagers need to be included in the discussions.

"Preteens may have more difficulty than younger kids with understanding why adults are choosing to go to war when those adults have told them war and violence are bad," Myers-Walls says. "Parents should let teenagers take the lead when discussing going to war. Parents may want to open the subject, but expect the conversation to be spread out over several settings and times."

Myers-Walls also has her own Web site that deals with terrorism- and war-related topics for children. The Web site logged more than 40,000 hits last year.

CONTACT: Myers-Walls, (765) 494-2959,

Expert says war means loss of American allies

The long-term consequences of war with Iraq may be profoundly destabilizing for international relations, says a Purdue political scientist.

Harry Targ says President Bush's action in Iraq signify that the U. S. is prepared to act despite overwhelming opposition in the United Nations and world public opinion.

"The Bush declaration of war threatens to create permanent and deep conflicts with traditional European allies, virtually every country in the Middle East and most countries in the Persian Gulf region, and most countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America," Targ says.

Targ says another matter of concern is that the most vocal opponents - China, Russia, India, France and Germany - represent one-third of the population of the globe.

"By acting in a preemptive fashion, attacking another nation that has not attacked the United States, the U.S. is violating Article 51 of the United Nations charter," Targ says. "Violating this article constitutes a rejection of international law, U.S. treaty obligations, and the precept of the U.S. Constitution, which recognizes treaties as part of the law of the land."

Targ also can talk about how going to war will affect spending on domestic programs.

CONTACT: Targ, (765) 494-4169 or (765) 743-0416,

Expert says strike against Iraq legal

A Purdue political science expert says America's action in Iraq does 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,

Economist: Iraq war is no big economic threat

War with Iraq, far from dragging down the U.S. economy, could actually have a stimulative effect, says an economist from Purdue University's Krannert School of Management.

"There is excess industrial capacity that will come into use that will help the economy," says George Horwich, emeritus professor of economics. "This excess capacity can create jobs because it does not take away from other sectors of the economy."

Horwich is worried neither about the cost of the conflict in Iraq nor the consequences on the world oil market.

"No one knows what the cost of the war will be because we don't know what kind of war it will be," Horwich says. "But $200 billion is very little in a $10.5 trillion economy."

Oil, he says, is largely "irrelevant" as a factor in the United States going to war.

However, Horwich says oil revenues could make rebuilding postwar Iraq "self-financing." "Oil is a money-producing machine that can defray the costs we incur in rebuilding the country."

Horwich conservatively calculates that Iraqi oil revenues could generate $20 billion per year that could be put into rebuilding the country.

CONTACT: Horwich, (765) 494-4443,

War talk has impact on pop culture

The waiting game and guessing whether the United States will wage war in Iraq has had an impact on pop culture, says Purdue professor Randy Roberts.

"As history is being made, it's important to think about how the threat of war and/or going to war will have on daily lives," says Roberts, an American history professor who specializes in pop culture and sports.

Roberts, who co-authored "John Wayne: American," can speak about war in films, as well as how war affects American sports.

CONTACT: Roberts, (765) 429-9870 or (765) 423-7711,

Communication prof.: Media should seek balance

As the media continue coverage of war with Iraq, they should strive for balance and not just reiterate the administration's message, says a Purdue expert.

"The media needs to balance their reports by including diverse perspectives and in-depth analysis of the implications of the war rather than mainly relying on government and military sources or serving as megaphones for the administration's agenda," says Yahya Kamalipour, professor and head of the Department of Communication and Creative Arts at Purdue's Calumet campus. "The media have to provide reliable and thoughtful news and information to the public."

Kamalipour is one of a handful of researchers who studies mass media in the Middle East. He is the author of half a dozen books including "Global Communication" and "The U.S. Media and the Middle East: Image and Perception." His next book "Globalization, Media Hegemony and Social Class" will be published next year. He also is editor of Global Media Journal.

CONTACT: Kamalipour,, (219)989-2880.

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 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 could 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,

Expert talks about antiwar protests

A Purdue 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 American troops head into action, the conventional expectation is there will be a large spike in approval for a war and for President Bush. However, a Purdue political science professor says 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 war.

Contact: McCann, (202) 797-6060,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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