No free speech for Iraq war play in Bush’s USA

Bush and Vietnam and Iraq wars, cartoonBy Nick Rodriguez and Clare Hurley:

No free speech for “Voices in Conflict”:

US: High school play about Iraq war cancelled

10 April 2007

A high school play about the Iraq war, “Voices in Conflict,” was abruptly cancelled by the school administration in Wilton, Connecticut last month when a student whose brother was serving in Iraq circulated drafts of the play to parents and others in the community in order to get it shut down.

After having supported the project of the advanced drama class for almost two months, the school’s principal, Timothy Canty, deemed the play “unbalanced” and potentially inflammatory for its presentation of the war in Iraq through the voices of US soldiers, as well as Iraqi youth who have experienced the war firsthand.

Wilton High drama teacher Bonnie Dickinson, who developed the play with the group of 15 students, described the objective of the play in an interview with the New York Times, saying it was meant to show “people close to the same age as the students who were experiencing very different things in their daily lives and to stand in the shoes of those people and then present them by speaking their words exactly in front of an audience.”

The play was compiled of direct quotes from the books In Conflict: Iraq War Veterans Speak Out on Duty, Loss and the Fight to Stay Alive and Baghdad Burning; a documentary film, The Ground Truth; plus various web logs and other sources.

However, to bring the Iraq war home with such vividness was not acceptable to some in the politically conservative Wilton community.

In his press release supporting the decision of Principal Canty, Wilton Superintendent of Schools Gary Richards objected, “Book, film and web site sources are cut and pasted together in a way that does not give them attribution or cite the viewpoint of the authors.

Students directly act soldiers’ parts rather than read the sources, an approach that sensationalizes the material.”

By such standards, all dramatic theater would prove unacceptable.

Vietnam and Iraq wars: here.

Bush and Iraq casualties, cartoon

17 thoughts on “No free speech for Iraq war play in Bush’s USA

  1. Ask your Senators to support step toward end of Iraq war
    Posted by: “Corey” cpmondello
    Mon Apr 9, 2007 7:20 pm (PST)
    Ask your Senators to support step toward end of Iraq war

    I just sent a letter to my senators asking them to support stronger legislation for a withdrawal from Iraq within a year. Legislation endorsed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Russ Feingold would end funding for the war after March 31, 2008.

    Can you write your senators and ask them to support it?




  3. Hi Mr “Talbert”, aka “Orange County Department of Education SBCIS-020802-114830 (NET-209-232-144-0-1) –”, in spite of your English language errors, I’ll leave your comment here as an example of the level of civilization of Bush supporters. Talking about taxing and spending: any idea how many trillions of dollars Bush’s wars are costing?


  4. Mr. Administrator, I appreciate the fact that you have hosted a discussion on such a controversial issue. However, despite our foul mouthed Mr Talbert’s crude attempt at self-expression, I would have to say that your argument is hardly an educated one given that it fails to adequately address both sides of the issue. And also, your visual arguments are something of a straw man, distracting for topic at hand. I’m afraid their is a glimmer of truth in what Mr. Talbert so horribly failed to intimate. It does seem that you are using unrelated arguments to slander the President. I personally prefer more founded and educated arguments, I find that even though I may not agree with the conclusion that the topic is not lost in bias rhetoric and visual arguments. Your argument would be greatly strengthened by focusing more on the specific reasons that the play was not permitted and using direct quotes with citation, this will make you much more credible and worth listening to.


  5. Mr. Administrator, the President’s behavior is hardly the issue in question here. The issue in question is the credibility of your argument. Just because the opposing argument may or may not be weak does not make yours strong. The focus has again been taken from the article in question. You have blamed the President for the actions of a school administrator without having established any connection between the two. The article still fails to make any accommodations to the opposition. The article is still not credible.

    Oh, and as to your interjection of “George W. Bush does not need to be ‘slandered’; as he already does it to himself,” the last time I heard such an argument it came from my 7 year old nephew saying “I know you are, but what am I?”


  6. Hi Mikey, George W. Bush slanders himself by starting wars (also in Somalia (over a million refugees by now) etc., but let’s focus on Iraq for the moment) based on lies of so called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Lies about so called links between secularist Saddam Hussein and extremely religious Al Qaeda. Lies about supposedly bringing democracy to Iraq. While civil rights, torture, women’s rights, gay rights, etc. are worse than ever in Iraq. Iraqi children and many other Iraqi civilians have been, and are, tortured sexually in Abu Ghraib and elsewhere. And no, the “bad apple” excuse about Private Lynndie England won’t help you. US General Taquba has established that the real “bad apples” are Donald Rumsfeld and others of the Bush administration.

    While over one million people have been killed in Iraq since Bush invaded in 2003; including a number of US soldiers, now approaching 4,000. A war from which more and more veterans come back to the USA, wounded and then in squalid hospitals like Walter Reed. With a big chance of becoming homeless. Over four million Iraqis, a fifth of the people, became homeless since Bush invaded.

    This war is opposed by the majority of people in the USA. Still, Bush wants to continue it, helped by his undermining of civil liberties through measures like the so called ‘Patriot Act’. It is in this spirit of George W. Bush that Bush’s supporters (or are you denying that those people in Connecticut are Bush supporters?) are banning this theatre play based on US soldiers’ letters.


  7. Mr. Administrator, I was very encouraged by your last comment. You actually managed to mention the article in question this time. Now since you actually started a discussion about the banning of the play I’d be delighted to continue it, and I don’t easily get sidetracked. I’ll happily discuss all sorts of things from Iraq and the alleged atrocities there to many different issues, I conclude by now the only issues in which you’re interested are discussions concerning George W. Bush.

    However, at the moment we are discussing the ban of the play and I suppose by now that the only manner in which you’re interested in discussing the ban is how it relates to President Bush. I suggest then for this discussion to be productive that we have a clearer connection between the ban and President Bush than that the ban took place in Connecticut and that some of “those people in Connecticut are Bush supporters”. You haven’t really been pointing finger without doing your homework have you? Are you even sure that the school administrator supports President Bush? Circumstantially it would seem that way, but that’s rather shaky grounds to accuse anybody.


  8. Dear Mikey, about the authorities of that school in Connecticut:

    If Wilton High School sounds familiar, it should. That is the school that gained publicity for calling Gay-Straight Alliance posters a safety hazard …

    Source: here.

    So, bigotry against gay people. Very much in line with Bush policies, not exactly with Democrat or even moderate Republican policies.

    Ira Levin, the author of “The Stepford Wives,” wrote the paper [New York Times] a letter: “Wilton, Conn., where I lived in the 1960s, was the inspiration for Stepford, the fictional town I later wrote about in ‘The Stepford Wives.’ I’m not surprised … that Wilton High School has a Stepford principal. Not all the Wilton High students have been Stepfordized. The ones who created and rehearsed the banished play ‘Voices in Conflict’ are obviously thoughtful young people with minds of their own.”

    Source: here.

    See also here. And here.


  9. Mr. Administrator, here again you have provided no solid evidence to support your claims. As I said in my last comment that it appears highly circumstantial. I may have misread the given “sources” but I don’t believe that I read “Bush” anywhere in those articles. Perhaps I wasn’t reading between the same lines as you were.

    Back to our “discussion”, you have again failed to make any direct connection between the school district and the President. Until such time as you can provide said evidence, then consider our discussion on this matter terminated.

    Concluding statement: No connection beyond circumstantial evidence has been provided. You have continued to make insinuations about the President of the United States that are unrelated to our discussion. This is the main motive for the which I am terminating this discussion. I have maintained a neutral attitude toward all political parties during our discussion, I would have responded much the same way were you to have used such logic against any other politician.

    P.S. The text errors that occur when you submit comment are most likely due to a feign language configuration, I had much the same problem when I was living OUTSIDE the USA, as I suspect you are, or perhaps Hawaii.



  10. Dear Mikey, you are defending a president, “elected” under let us say extremely dubious circumstances, who subsequently started a war based on lies, etc. (see comment #7 here). That is NOT really “maintaining a neutral attitude toward all political parties” as you claim. Unless, of course, you have also gone to the blogs of Rightists like Michelle Malkin, Rush Limbaugh, or Ann Coulter, to criticize them … which … er … presumably, you have not, unless proven otherwise. Have you defended Saddam Hussein (not overall, but specifically:) against charges of having weapons of mass destruction during the 21st century (not in earlier times, when he was a pal of Rumsfeld and did have and use chemical weapons), for example? As an example of your “against any other politician”?

    As for the connection between Bush and the censorship of this play against Bush’s war in Iraq, please read the original post before starting a song and dance based on misinterpretation. All I did was saying that this happened “in Bush’s USA”; which, of course, remains true as long as Bush is in the White House and/or Connecticut does not secede from the Union. Nowhere, contrary to what you say, did I suggest that Bush himself phoned the school authorities in Wilton, calling for a ban of the play. However, being Bush supporters, those authorities certainly acted in the spirit of Bush; the spirit of the “Patriot Act” and other measures undermining civil liberties; pro peace demonstrations confined to “protest pens”; so called Town Hall meetings with Bush where critics of the war are not admitted or are thrown out; softball questions by pseudo journalists like Republican gay prostitute and gay basher “Jeff Gannon” at Presidential press confences; etc.


  11. dude(“Mr. Administrator”), mikey wasn’t defending anybody as far as i can tell. You failed to make any direct connection between the school district and the President and thats what he was arguing. I feel our civil liberties are under attack as well; I am against the war; and like most people I don’t like being lied to by the media/government. But the argument was about the school district. Whether or not it was shut down by “bush supporters” is only an inference on your part, therefore everything you said past that point lost its credibility.


  12. Hi “jabba the hun”, obviously you did not read comment #4, in which “Mikey” talks about “slander the President.” That certainly is *defending* George W. Bush; if only because it is a bit doubtful whether Bush can legitimately call himself president, because of election fraud by his little brother in Florida etc.


  13. Pingback: US workers against the Iraq war | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  14. Pingback: Iraqi refugee’s play against Iraq occupation | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  15. Pingback: Bush and his ‘Defense’ Department win censorship prizes | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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