Editor-in-chief speaks of forbidden topic
by Shelby Chapman, photo courtesy Steve Honley
He approaches the podium to the beat of a full, applauding room. Glasses taut to his face, tie properly knotted. The speaker of this Distinguished Lecture Series, held by the College of Mass Communications, was ready.
He asked, “Was the war in Iraq worth fighting? In a single word no.”
Steven Alan Honley is the editor-in-chief of the Foreign Service Journal. “As we mark the ninth anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I believe it is vital to reflect on our experience there,” Honley said. He questioned the silent audience, “What led us to want to go to war?” and “What lessons can we take away from our time in Iraq?” Though Honley made it clear his question was not about the execution of the United States’ strategy. He said he understands why many Americans support the war.
Honley was stationed in Mexico, New Zealand, and Washington, D.C., during his 12-year-diplomatic career. Born in 1960, he childhood was spent in Shreveport, La.
He recalled the day the World Trade Centers were attacked. “I supported the Bush Administration’s initial response to this attack,” Honley said. “But like many of the Americans, like many of you I should say, I look forward to the day we can give the leadership back over to the Afghans.”
He said he was in dismay at how quickly the Republicans began using the attacks as a way to bash the Democrats in the election.
In September 1997 Honley left the foreign Service to pursue a full-time creative career encompassing music and writing. “The more fearful Americans became in the months following 9/11,” Honley said, “the more willing they were to believe even the most outlandish claims.” He believes this is what helped gain support of the war on terror. “Despite the many set backs, I still support our troops in Iraq,” Honley said. mc
Shelby Chapman is a senior broadcast journalism major from Austin, Texas.