CHICAGO (CBS) – Those opposed to it say this: NATO brings nothing but war, death and misery.

Those in favor say NATO is needed to keep the peace.

Those conflicting views collided Thursday, just hours before the start of the NATO summit and a possibly tumultuous march against the organization over the weekend.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports.

It was a battle over the history of the international organization and its future as well. It unfolded tonight before an audience in — of all places — the Pritzker Military Library.

For days, the debate over NATO has raged in the streets with angry voices. Thursday, the arguments were measured and downright civil, if still contentious.

It was a debate sponsored by the National Strategy Forum.

“NATO is evolving – well, into what? I think it is a work in progress,” Loyola University Prof. John Allen said. “It is so useful that in my opinion, if it didn’t exist, we’d have to create it.”

“The presence of NATO has made it possible for stability, security to be enhanced for 60 years in western and now in all of Europe,” former ambassador J.D. Bindenagel said.

But opponents of the international force questioned NATO’s assistance in the U.S. war in Afghanistan and the NATO no-fly zone in Libya that brought death to innocent civilians.

“NATO does not need to be reformed,” Rick Rozoff of Stop NATO said. “Should have been dissolved as the Warsaw pact was dissolved 21 years ago, and it needs to be dissolved now.”

The debate settled nothing. Only one thing is certain. From here on out, on the streets of the city, the volume of this fight will be turned up once again.

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