Protests, Insults Disrupt Kristol 9/11 Speech
10-04-2006, 04:27 PM
Protests, Insults Disrupt Kristol 9/11 Speech
Protests, insults disrupt Kristol 9/11 speech
Cara Henis / The Daily Texan | October 4 2006
Note: The protestor is Infowars' Aaron Dykes
A speech by William Kristol, former chief of staff for former vice president Dan Quayle and editor of The Weekly Standard magazine, turned hostile Tuesday when students began hurling insults at Kristol, alleging his and the U.S. government's complicity in the Sept. 11 attacks.
"9/11 is your Pearl Harbor," said one student protestor, referring to a pre-Sept. 11 statement released by the Project for a New American Century, a conservative think tank Kristol chairs.
In a Sept. 2000 report titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses, " the group wrote, "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor."
Some of the student protestors are members of the new UT student organization, Project for the New American Citizen, but the group did not officially organize the protest, said founder Matt Dayton. The nonpartisan, anti-imperialism group encourages people to seek out truthful information regarding the U.S. government's policies and actions, said Dayton, an art studio and radio-television-film junior. The group's name is a counter to Kristol's neoconservative think tank.
Dayton said students from his organization protested Kristol because he refuses to address what was said in the Sept. 2000 report.
"They openly needed a new Pearl Harbor in order to enact their new foreign policy," Dayton said. "It's either use it or lose it with your freedom of speech," he said.
Kristol's speech, which focused on the state of U.S. politics, the condition of the media and the significance of Sept. 11, drew about 200 students, staff and citizens to the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs Tuesday.
Radio-television-film graduate Aaron Dykes, who works for liberal-leaning radio host Alex Jones, was escorted from the building by police after repeatedly interrupting Kristol.
"We're trying to expose the truth about 9/11," Dykes said.
Similar but more vehement protests disrupted another conservative speaker, author Ann Coulter, when she spoke on campus in May 2005. Lewd comments and gestures interrupted Coulter's speech, resulting in one student's arrest.Police charged him with disorderly conduct.
"I came here to learn, and I feel it disintegrated," said business graduate student Ted Egner. "It's kind of embarrassing to the school."
Regarding the current political climate, Kristol said the U.S. government is approaching a period of monumental change with the 2008 presidential elections. However, he said he is unsure how power may shift between the political parties.
Kristol also said the media has become more "democratized" than in the past, because citizens now have access to more independent sources of information, such as the Internet, rather than having to rely on mainstream news sources.
Although Kristol said he did not initially believe the Sept. 11 attacks would have a lasting impact on American society, he now recognizes the extent to which the attacks have changed politics and society in general.
"It's an interesting time to be thinking about policy," Kristol said. "The world can be dangerous without American intervention. The risk in the future is we will do too little, not too much."
Though he is known as a neoconservative, Kristol said he doesn't find the term derogatory. He said neoconservatism is useful, because he thinks it corrects some mistakes of classical liberalism and conservatism.
"If it implies hawkish foreign policy, skeptical to government programs, but not hostile towards them, and a moderately conservative attitude to social aspects, it is fine with me," Kristol said. Kristol has worked for several conservative think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute.
Kristol said speaking in Austin was important to him, because he likes to promote diversity in a campus he described as a liberal "blue dot" in a conservative "red state." However, he said his goal was not to spread the conservative agenda.
"I figured Austin deserved a conservative voice," he said.
The event was cosponsored by the schools of journalism and public affairs. James Steinberg, LBJ School dean, said the schools asked Kristol to speak because he is a prevalent figure in both politics and the media.
"We are friends and have been colleagues for a long time," Steinberg said. "He has had experience in practice and has taught public policy, so he was a particularly good choice."
Additional reporting by Kathy Adams and Zachary Warmbrodt
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