Miller Center to Host National Debate on Future of U.S. Troops in Iraq on Sept. 18

Sept. 14 — On Sept. 18 at 7 p.m., the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia, in partnership with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, will launch the inaugural event of its National Discussion and Debate Series. Four participants will argue the proposed resolution: “Keeping troops in Iraq is vital for America’s national interests in the Middle East” in a debate moderated by Margaret Warner, senior correspondent for PBS’s "The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

Frederick W. Kagan, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and an architect of the “surge” plan, and Reuel Marc Gerecht, an American Enterprise Institute resident fellow, will argue in favor of the resolution. Jessica Tuchman Mathews, president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and Chas Freeman, former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and president of the Middle East Policy Council, will argue against it.  More information, including research, news, audio and video, is available online at

The debate, the first in a series of five set to take place during the 2007–08 academic year, will take place in the historic Dome Room of the University of Virginia’s Rotunda. It will be webcast live and archived on the Miller Center’s Web site.  PBS affiliates throughout Virginia and stations carrying the PBS World digital channel will carry the events live and in delayed format. The conversation has already started online via interactive group pages on YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, Google and Yahoo.

The Miller Center has also partnered with the University’s Arts & Sciences Council to host a viewing party for students and the general public in the Newcomb Ballroom, beginning with a live debate screening at 7 p.m., followed by a Q&A discussion with two debaters afterward. From 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m., there will be an open forum on U.S. policy in Iraq.

The Miller Center’s newest initiative, the National Discussion and Debate Series will address major issues facing the United States, including privacy in the Information Age, health care, immigration and the changing nature of “family” in America. Its aim is to examine these issues in depth, and to contribute to the national conversation with a genuine, thoughtful give-and-take that will both enlighten people and provoke dialogue.

The debate will air on these Virginia PBS stations:

•    WCVW 57 Richmond will carry the debate live at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18.  (
•    WCVE-23 Richmond will air it on Sept. 20 at 10 p.m.   (
•    WHTJ-41 Charlottesville will air the debate on Sept. 20 at 10 p.m., and repeat it Oc.t 7 at 8:30 a.m.  (
•    WHRO-15 Norfolk will air the debate Sept. 18 at 8 p.m. (
•    WBRA 15 Roanoke/WMSY 52 Marion/WSBN 47 Norton will carry the debate live at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18.  (
•    WVPT—Virginia’s Public Television, 51 Staunton/WVPY 42 Front Royal, will air the debate live at 7 p.m. on Sept. 18, and repeat it Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. (

The debate will also be broadcast on WVTF Public Radio and Radio IQ, a partnership between Virginia Tech and Ferrum College. WVTF will air the debate live at 7 p.m . on Sept. 18, and Radio IQ will rebroadcast it as part of its Evening Edition programming at 7 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 22. WVTF/Radio IQ’s coverage area includes most of Central and Western Virginia (

For interested broadcast outlets, debate footage will be available via satellite. Coordinates: Echostar: AMC-2, transponder K-7, Slot A – Feed Time: 18:00 – 20:00 Tuesday, September 18, 2007  - TEST 18:00-19:00, AIR 19:00-20:00 w/ 00:15 approx. Confirmation # 213690. Uplink frequency 14126.5, horizontal. Downlink frequency 11826.5, vertical.

The second debate, set to take place on Nov. 13 in Washington, will focus on the resolution: “In the light of technological advances and the war on terror, Americans should lower their expectations for privacy.”