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Think Out Loud

Is The U.S. At War?

Q: “Is America At War?” Audience members inside the Old World Deli in Corvallis answer Think Out Loud’s question of the hour.

Editor’s note: This show was recorded in front of an audience at the Old World Deli in Corvallis on Monday, February 16.

Last week, President Obama asked Congress to pass an authorization of the use of military force (AUMF) against the Islamic State. In his letter to Congress, he avoided the use of the word “war,” and in his public remarks on it, he repeatedly claimed the AUMF wouldn’t authorize “another ground war” like Afghanistan or Iraq.

The president’s efforts to avoid the perception that the country is at war has deep roots. Despite the U.S.’s involvement in military campaigns in Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, and Korea (to name the most prominent examples), the last time the country officially declared war was in World War II after the Pearl Harbor attacks.

So if an official declaration doesn’t seem necessary for the U.S. to be at war, what is war these days? What does it mean on a battlefield? What does it mean at home?

Join us for a conversation co-produced with Oregon State University where we try to answer these and many more questions about war and conflict today.

Think Out Loud Live At The Old World Deli in Corvallis.


  • Christopher McKnight Nichols: Assistant professor of history, directing the Citizenship and Crisis program at Oregon State University
  • Ron Tammen: Professor of political science and director of the Mark O. Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University
  • Kevin Fuller: Active duty officer in the U.S. Navy, currently serving as instructor at the Naval ROTC unit at Oregon State University
  • Linda Richards: Instructor at Oregon State University and member of several peace and nuclear disarmament groups

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