June 5th, 2006 12:11 EST
Student Views - Sarah Huffman - Matthew Kent - S. Renee Greene
What is your view point on the war in Iraq as well as the United States policies toward the Middle East?
University of Iowa
I worry everyday that he’s going to walk in the room and tell me he has to go back over. It’s in the back of my mind all of the time. I don’t know what I’d do without him for a year or more. My boyfriend, Chancey Stufflebeam, is an Army Reservist with the 389th Engineer Battalion, Charlie Company, based out of Middletown, IA. He served in Iraq from May of 2003 to May of 2004. There’s a chance he’ll have to go back.
His best friend, Travis, is there right now, with the 224th, searching the roads for IED’s, or improvised explosive devices. He has one of the most dangerous jobs in the military. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t worry about him. He’s due home in a month and a half and I pray for him every day. Before I started dating Chancey, I didn’t know much about the war besides what I heard on television. I didn’t know any soldiers or anyone who had personally been affected. This war has taken so many away from their loved ones, and continues to each and every day. Even now, I don’t understand the reason we are there. I understand now that we are trying to establish a democracy, but it’s hard to see improvements when all I see on the news is another bombing in Baghdad and more soldiers dying. Travis’ fiancée, Cassie Pickering, says she tries not to watch the news. “It helps me not to worry so much,” she said. She hears from Travis at least four times a week unless he is on a mission.
My hopes are lifted each time I read a story about the possibility of pulling out troops by next year. Then the next day, the government is saying there’s no way troops will be pulled. That it’s going to take at least 10 more years to get Iraq where it needs to be.
I’m hoping, not only for me, not only for my boyfriend and for Travis, but for all those other soldiers there right now, that this war ends soon and everyone can come back home. And that no one else has to leave their loved ones behind.
Southern Illinois University-CarbondaleIt's been called a milestone, a grim reminder of the true cost of war. Since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, over 2,000 U.S. troops have died in combat. But the marker has sparked war protests across the country. I write this to clarify my stance regarding the Iraq war. Whether my friends, family or people reading this may agree or disagree, criticism is expected. However, no sole opinion can be considered correct. After all, this is a democratic society. Slowly, Iraq is shifting itself towards a self-governing democracy.
Until World War II, the United States followed a policy of non-interference with the rest of the world. As the world saw on Sept. 11, 2001, America's resilience has taken the country to make significant changes in foreign policy and despite ongoing problems within the Bush administration, most recent being the indictment of senior aide staff I. Lewis Libby last Friday, we must note the improvements being made in Iraq. Much of the U.S. is wondering when, if any, a timetable will be set.
First, the U.S. has managed to rid the world of one of the worst dictators in history: Saddam Hussein. We no longer have any totalitarian threats, no more terrorist backing, and no more dependence on a power-crazed dictator for oil.
Secondly, we have seen the steps the citizens of Iraq have taken in forming a democracy, despite ongoing terrorist attacks. The Iraqi people will be voting on a new parliamentary government on Dec. 15, so this should be noted as a significant step in the future of Iraq. Iraq's crucial vote in December will accelerate freedom already stirring in countries such as Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Syria.
The struggle is, and always will be, about terrorism and terrorist support. The Bush administration hasn't botched the campaign in Iraq, therefore leaving those opposed to the war with something to complain about. In a perfect world, everyone would be financially equal and everyone would be entitled to the same. It's a humanitarian concept in writing and it is called communism.
President Bush has called on America's moral obligation to protect freedom and fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. For the sake of America and its allies such as Israel, Russia and Britain--leaders of fighting terrorism worldwide--we have managed to confront our enemies face-to-face. It is the duty of our government to protect its citizens from threats at home and abroad. Sept. 11 taught us that there is no threat too small and no scenario too wild to merit consideration. President Bush told the American people the war on terror would take on many shapes and move to and from many places.
Despite not finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, we have managed to rebuild the country by training Iraqi forces, sending children to school for the first time and have allowed women to gain freedoms never granted before. Civilian causalities are a harsh reality of war, but there is no moral equivalence between terrorism and unintended civilian casualties. Hussein's regime was a credible threat to the United States and to our values.
A student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Elizabeth Hughes, says she disagrees with the Bush administration's stance on Iraq. Though she thinks the media focuses on the number dead, she says there's a face behind every number.
"As heartbreaking as the number is hearing about every news report of someone being killed, it's very depressing," Hughes said, noting troops stationed overseas in Iraq should leave now. "The country is in terrible shape-worse than when we started."
In late October, she was one of approximately 60 participants gathered at the Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale, Ill. urging the government to bring troops home and divert war dollars to hurricane relief.
President Bush's legacy will be noted for his conduct of foreign, not domestic, policy. For whatever the future in Iraq may hold will likely be the tipping point of whether the Arab region moves away from suppression. If Iraq triggers positive momentum in the Middle East, the president should be given credit for a significant role. But until then, speculation of ongoing problems that face President Bush at home will continue, at least for the time being. His new nominee to the Supreme Court, Samuel Alito, faces an uphill battle in getting confirmation, as well as achieving any victories on issues such as Social Security and tax reform.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that if the simple-minded idealistic people protesting the Iraq war had any political education, they would appreciate the relentless responsibility the U.S. is undertaking in order to balance world peace. Yes, it's going to take time to fix Iraq, but I think it's absolutely worth it in the long term. Soldier casualties are very sad and depressing, but there's no way around that.
Eventually, Iraq will be at peace and the Iraqi government will be stabilized. All of the critical people against the war will then be left without argument.
S. Renee Greene
Columbus State UniversityIt is sad to say, but ever since George Bush was s-elected and re-s-elected President of the United States, it feels like the country is being run by Bodinian politics. Jethro Bodine (Max Baer Jr.), as some may remember, was Jed Clampett’s (the late Buddy Ebsen) nephew on the 1962 runaway television hit, The Beverly Hillbillies. No matter the hankering for possum stew or the braggadocio about a sixth-grade education, nor his constant reliance on “Uncle Jed” for all the answers … what matters is Bush’s insistence on continuing the war on Iraq without a proper leader in place to see it through.
I’ve often wondered, now that we have Saddam Hussein locked away and being tried for crimes against humanity, when is the war on terrorism going to start? With 2,000 soldiers dead and bodies piling up daily, there is still no strategy in place for fighting terrorism -- or, for ending the crimes against humanity that are happening in Iraq even as we speak. What we do have right now are doubled gas and oil prices; which, I’m certain, does the Texas “Clampetts” just fine. But what about the rest of us? What about the people who lost their loved ones on 9-11 who won’t be vindicated? Maybe vindication was never a consideration and this whole “war on terrorism” thing was just a façade for sheltering the real reason(s) (truth?) behind it.
If President Bush had been on deck when Apollo 13 nearly skipped off into oblivion in 1970, the astronauts likely would never made it back here to tell that story. Where is Gene Kranz when we need him, people? Failure should never have been an option.