WEB EXCLUSIVE: Senators discuss military action at GW ‘Crossfire’

Posted 11:30 a.m. Sept. 21 In times of war, unusual things happen. CNN’s “Crossfire,” which is broadcasting live from GW all week, was not immune to that phenomenon Wednesday night as hosts from the right and left and two senior senators put aside their differences and discussed a pending war with students.

Sens. Joseph Biden, Jr. (D-Del.) and Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) outlined bold steps the United States will take to defeat terrorism, two hours before President George W. Bush addressed a joint session of congress to rally support for what he said would be a long, and often secretive, war.

During the hour-long show, a group of four students sitting behind the senators on stage showed their opposition to U.S. military action by unfurling white sheets reading “NO WAR” from seats on the stage.

Two “Crossfire” stage hands and one University Police officer removed the students from the stage and allowed other students to take their seats. The students had tricked University Relations to get onto the stage by saying their specially marked tickets had been torn.

Hosts Tucker Carlson and Bill Press enthusiastically announced an encore return to GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium next week.

“The shows this week have been so good, the energy of the students here has been so intense, it has made for excellent programming,” Press said after the show.

Students voiced concerns about recent military deployments, how Americans will know if the United States has won the war against terrorism and what that effort will cost Americans in civil liberties and lives.

One student asked to Biden and Thompson if the war on terrorism will beget a war on privacy at home.

“We will not have a police state in this country,” said Thompson, a member of the Senate’s Select Committee on Intelligence. “We will not stand for that.”

Another student acknowledged the government’s position on covert military operations of keeping certain information from the press, and expressed a desire to know when we have “won.”

“Everything that is constitutional may not be wise,” Biden said, referring to the discretion and restraint media entities like CNN will have to exercise to protect the interests of the nation.

Thompson said this war would not have fireworks on television like in the 1991 Operation Desert Storm.

“Get back to your life but keep remembrance and resolve,” said Biden, Chairman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Judiciary Committee.

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