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Published: Thursday, 10/6/2005

Columnist, war historian dissects evils and evolution of war

BY KARAMAGI RUJUMBA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BLUFFTON, Ohio - Gwynne Dyer, a military historian, author, syndicated columnist, and noted opponent of the Iraq War, was as resolute in speech here last night as he is in his writing about the evils of war.

During a lecture at Bluffton University, part of the Weekly Forum Series, Mr. Dyer gave an hour-long speech on "The Fate of War," and what he described as its evolution in contemporary political terms.

Speaking before a crowd of students, teachers, and area residents who filled the bleachers of Founders Hall, the school's gymnasium, Mr. Dyer said that "current American foreign policy and the invasion of Iraq is a philosophical dispute about the nature of good and evil."

A native Canadian with a hint of a British accent, Mr. Dyer set forth his thesis noting that "most people would argue that war is an artifact of civilization but we didn't invent war in the last 5,000 years, we inherited it."

Mr. Dyer, a freelance journalist whose syndicated columns appear in a dozen languages in nearly 200 countries has a column on international affairs that appears in The Blade.

Speaking without notes, the London-based author started by describing the concept of war as it originated among ancient hunter-gatherer societies and primate chimpanzees to argue that war has always existed and generations of people have been killed but not on the same scale as in today's wars.

"Ninety percent of the civilizations that ever existed have all been destroyed by war. The system of war doesn't change, but the weapons have gotten better and suddenly the machines for killing are much more efficient," said the author of five books who has taught at universities in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Mr. Dyer's book, War: the Lethal Custom, which won him international acclaim, was revised recently and is being republished. He said that the war in Iraq "was not about oil or terrorism."

Mr. Dyer will lecture at 7 tonight in West Hall at Bowling Green State University.

He will be the featured guest on The Editors at 9 p.m. Oct. 14 on WGTE-TV, Channel 30, and at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 16 on WBGU-TV, Channel 27.

Contact Karamagi Rujumba at:

krujumba@theblade.com

or 419-724-6064.



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