University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs to Host Conference on 'The Politics of Troop Withdrawal' on June 5-6

June 3, 2008 — On June 5  and 6, the Presidential Recordings Program at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs will host "The Politics of Troop Withdrawal," a conference analyzing the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Vietnam and assessing its relevance to the current war in Iraq. The conference (schedule below) will be held at the center, located at 2201 Old Ivy Rd. in Charlottesville.

Topics scheduled to be discussed include:

•    the role of presidential decision-making;
•    the executive-legislative struggle over policy;
•    the military rationale of troop withdrawal;
•    the domestic political context;
•    the impact of the media and public opinion;
•    the historical legacy of the withdrawal experience;
•    the projected and actual process of troop withdrawal;
•    and the impact of withdrawal on host governments.

The conference will conclude with a roundtable discussion on the war in Iraq and will include veteran journalist, media critic and author Bernard Kalb, Washington Post associate editor Robert G. Kaiser and New York Times White House correspondent Steven Lee Myers.

"The Vietnam analogy has been so much a part of the conversation about Iraq that we thought it worthwhile to take a closer look at how discussions about troop withdrawal actually played out during that earlier conflict," said Marc Selverstone, assistant professor at the Miller Center. "Through this conference, we hope to arrive at a better understanding of the political dynamics of that earlier episode and to see whether the questions and answers about the withdrawal process from Vietnam are applicable to Iraq."

The conference will take place at the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia. It is free and open to the public. Alumni participating in U.Va.'s Reunions Weekend are encouraged to attend any or all sessions.

The program will be webcast live and archived at www.millercenter.org.

 
THE POLITICS OF TROOP WITHDRAWAL

Thursday, June 5

9 a.m. — Welcome
• Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, director, Miller Center of Public Affairs
• Marc Selverstone, assistant professor, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center

9:15-10:15 a.m. — Keynote Address
• Robert McMahon, Ralph D. Mershon Distinguished Professor of History, Ohio State University
• Comment: George Herring, University of Kentucky
• Moderator: Sid Milkis, White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics at U.Va. and assistant director for academic programs, Miller Center

10:30 a.m.-12– noon — Phased Withdrawals and Decent Intervals: Presidential Decision-Making
• Marc Selverstone, assistant professor, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center
• Ken Hughes, Miller Center Scholar, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center
• Comment: Fredrik Logevall, professor of history, Cornell University
• Moderator: David Coleman, assistant professor and chairman of the Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center

12:15-1:30 p.m. — Lunch Address (for participants only)
• Robert Jervis, Adlai E. Stevenson Professor of International Affairs, Columbia University
• Comment: Philip Zelikow, White Burkett Miller Professor of History, U.Va.
• Moderator: Jeff Legro, Compton Professor of World Politics and chairman of the Politics Department at U.Va., co-chairman of the Governing America in a Global Era program, Miller Center

1:45-3:15 p.m. — The Constitutional Struggle: Executive-Legislative Issues
• Joseph Fry, Distinguished Professor of History, University of Nevada-Las Vegas
• Julian Zelizer, professor of history and public affairs, Princeton University
• Comment: Randall Woods, John A. Cooper Distinguished Professor of History, University of Arkansas
• Moderator: Russell Riley, associate professor and chairman of the Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center

3:30-5 p.m. — A Thousand People in the Street: The Media, Public Opinion, and Troop Withdrawal
• Chester Pach, associate professor of history, Ohio University
• Melvin Small, Distinguished Professor of History, Wayne State University
• Comment: Ralph Levering, Vail Professor of History, Davidson College
• Moderator: Paul Martin, assistant professor, Presidential Oral History Program, Miller Center                            

Friday, June 6

9-10:30 a.m. — The Legacy Of Withdrawal
• Jeffrey Kimball, professor emeritus, Miami University
• Mark Atwood Lawrence, associate professor of history, University of Texas-Austin
• Comment: Robert Schulzinger, professor of history and director of the International Affairs Program, University of Colorado-Boulder                                        
• Moderator: Guian McKee, assistant professor, Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center

10:45-11:45 a.m. — Reasoning From Analogy: Using History to Get Out of War
• Jeffrey Record, Professor of Strategy and Leadership, Air War College
• Comment: Brig. Gen. Charles F. Brower, U.S. Army (ret.), deputy superintendent for academics and dean of faculty, Virginia Military Institute
• Moderator: Brian Balogh, associate professor of history at U.Va. and co-chairman of the Governing America in a Global Era program, Miller Center

1:15-2:30 p.m. — The Case of Iraq: A Roundtable
• Bernard Kalb, veteran journalist, media critic, and author
• Robert G. Kaiser, associate editor, Washington Post
• Steven Lee Myers, White House correspondent, New York Times
• Moderator: George Gilliam, assistant director of public programs and forums program chair, Miller Center

About the Miller Center of Public Affairs

Founded in 1975, the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs is a leading nonpartisan public policy institution that aims to fulfill Jefferson's public service mission by serving as a national meeting place for engaged citizens, scholars, students, media representatives and government officials to research, reflect and report on issues of national importance to the governance of the United States, with special attention to the central role and history of the presidency.