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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 113| April 5, 2009|


  
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   Photo Feature
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Spotlight

Photos by:
Ishtiaque Bin Quashem & Rajiv Ashrafi

Star Campus, since its inception has hosted different interactive events, aptly titled Adda in both The Daily Star office as well as different other venues outside. As Chief Guests, it has brought in eminent personalities like Professor Kabir Chowdhury (renowned academic, Dhaka University), Professor Nazrul Islam (Chairman, University Grants Commission, Bangladesh), Professor Syed Munir Khasru (Institute of Business Administration, Dhaka University), Professor Shaheen Kabir and Asrar Chowdhury (Jahangirnagar University), Syed Badrul Ahsan (Editor, Current Affairs, The Daily Star) and many others.

Campus Adda is back again this year and from now on, we'll have regular events bringing in celebrities from different walks of life, sports, music and the literary world as well as academics. This month's event was jointly organized by Star Campus, Coffee World and Pizza Corner.

To participate in these lively discussions, send an email to starcampus@gmail.com and get invited!

We look forward to seeing YOU in our Addas.
Mahdin Mahboob
Star Campus Desk

 

Tanzina Rahman

With incessant exams and heavy load of assignments, one may find very little time to accommodate intellectual discussions in their busy schedules, particularly if it is based on a literary piece. Keeping this in mind, Star Campus took the initiative once again to engage students from various private and public universities in such discussions. The ongoing 'Literary Adda' which created quite a buzz among the students last year, is back with a fresh look. This month the discussion was held at Coffee World in Banani where Professor Shahidul Alam, Chairperson of the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism of Independent University, Bangladesh talked about Bob Woodward's book 'Plan of Attack'. The adda began after the usual introduction part was over. The enthusiastic bunch from the Institute of Business Administration and International Relations of the University of Dhaka; North South University, BRAC University and Daffodil University gathered around the table as the discussion began in full rave.

“It's an account of what happened since the attack on the Twin Towers and a then a run up to the day of attack. There was a detailed report of why and how President George W. Bush, his secretaries, advisers and allies decided to launch a war on Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein...” Dr. Alam began.

“I actually read it in two sittings since the book was absolutely engrossing,” Dr. Alam expressed.

He familiarized the author to students before approaching towards the insight of the book. Bob Woodward, one of America's eminent investigative reporters and non-fiction author, has worked for the Washington Post and came to limelight with his reports on the Watergate scandal. After his last book 'Bush at War', he decided to engage in another Bush saga, which was named 'Plan of Attack'.

“The deception points and the flawless military planning were the most remarkable aspects of the book,” Dr. Alam said. “The Iraq war was actually a channel to retain political stand. The story of Bush's decisions leading up to the Iraq War was an account of continued dilemmas, since the president was pursuing two simultaneous policies. He was planning for war and he was conducting diplomacy aiming to avoid war.

It was planned for months before it was disclosed in front of the media next year.”

Although some of the students did not get a chance to read Plan of Attack, they were very much aware of what went on during the Iraq war and the controversial issues concerning it. Thus, the participating students were keen to question from what they read in newspaper articles and internet about the Bush administration's plan. Most of them knew about Bush as the mastermind of Iraq war, but they were not conversant with others who actually masterminded the war.

Author: Bob Woodward
Country: United States
Language: English
Subject: Political science, United States,
Iraq, George W. Bush
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication: April 19, 2004

“Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld, General Tommy Franks, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State Collin Powell, Prime Minister of United Kingdom Tony Blair and Vice President Dick Cheney were among the few who actually masterminded this whole plan for the Iraq attack. General Tommy Franks and Collin Powell were portrayed in the book as rather sceptical about the Iraq war plan. On the other hand, Donald Rumsfeld strongly believed that the west were going to be attacked by the al Qaeda and other such organizations. Dick Cheney, whose obsession after 9/11 was to eradicate all links with Saddam and Osama bin Laden, brought this issue to the table that Saddam would jeopardize America's security. For Cheney, taking care of Saddam was a high priority.

“Cheney is like your nightmare teacher,” Dr. Alam joked with the students. “He is very intelligent and a brilliant war strategist but at times he acts like a schizophrenic. He pushed the general to the edge and relentlessly called the war front to find out about the updates of the war.”

Students asked about the war strategies and how the authorities monitored the war. Surprisingly, they were left in awe when Dr. Alam mentioned one of the pictures in the book which showed politicians were finding out on what was happening in the war by watching television news reports, just as we do. They were not present during the war, and were observing by means of technologies like internet, telephone and television. Nevertheless, the war plan was meticulously followed.

The discussion also brought a secret insight that the students were unaware of. Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Saudi politician and ambassador to US had endured controversy over allegations in Plan of Attack that President Bush informed him of the decision to invade Iraq ahead of Secretary of State Colin Powell. Bandar wanted Saddam Hossain to be removed as soon as possible.

Invading Iraq had several advantages that the Bush administration acknowledged. Firstly, it had the massive oil revenue and secondly it was also a strategic area to launch offensive on other enemy countries in future.

The discussion changed its direction when Dr. Alam spoke about Tommy Franks. “General Tommy Franks was invited by President Bush to attend a luncheon with his family. Surprisingly, Franks passed up the invitation since he had work!”

“Wasn't he court-martialed because of it?” asked one of the students.

“Thinking from a sub-continental view point, he would have been court-martialed, but he wasn't. In the States, it is quite common to speak the truth on your face. The thing that you all should take note of is that the General was devoted to his work. He placed his duty ahead of the invitation,” Dr. Alam explained.

Star Campus Literary Adda ended with an eager interest among the students to look forward towards the next adda session.

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