Hamilton’s Visions for Iraq


David Schnall

Former Indiana Congressman and co-chair of the Iraq Study Group and 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, spoke at Campbell Hall on Sunday. While the lecture hall was not full, the crowd seemed to nod in agreement with every point Hamilton made, and stopped the Democratic House of Representatives member mid-sentence several times with applause. Hamilton’s lecture was entitled “Time for a Course Correction: American Foreign Policy After Iraq” and he principally argued that the United States adopt a more realistic foreign policy, rather than grandiose goals of stopping terrorism everywhere.

While Hamilton made several overarching claims about everything from putting more value in our allies abroad to increased unity rather than polarization in American politics, he spoke little about concrete examples and implementation of future foreign policy. However, Mr. Hamilton made good use of only an hour of lecturing, and pleased the audience with a few anecdotes from his 34 years in Congress. Hamilton’s most provoking comments stemmed from his belief that the United States Government should focus more on diplomacy than armed forces. He questioned, “I understand why the American people want the best military in the world, but I do not understand why we do not demand to have the best diplomacy” to nearly unanimous applause from the audience.

The lecture was sponsored by the Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion, and Public Life, which commemorates the life of the late Congressman Walter Capps, and husband to current Congresswoman, Lois Capps, who was in attendance.