Thursday, January 29, 2009

Conference update, 3

Today I was taught and I was the teacher...
  • A philosopher from a neighbor state presented a paper that revealed how much he didn't know about the American military. During the cocktail hour, we discussed his paper and I was able to show him that he was simply wrong about a few things... by the end of the discussion he was agreeing with me.
  • I got excellent feedback and suggestions for improvement on my paper. I take it as a compliment that the philosophers came to hear the paper -- and gave useful feedback.
  • The first after dinner speaker was a general in the Iraqi army. Wow -- I was blown away. To have someone with his level of experience say things like "thank you for your efforts in my country" -- amazing. Also, he made the same point I made earlier in my paper -- namely that seeking input from local folks in post-conflict situations is necessary. He also articulated my assessment that the US military was prepared to fight the war, but not to handle what happened after the 21 days of formal conflict. That reinforced a large point in my dissertation argument, namely that each stage of just war ethics necessitates planning for the coming steps.
Yea -- it was a good day. Tomorrow, more of the same --- I hope.

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