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Reflections on the ongoing conflict in Iraq

Over 1,335 days. More than 2,865 American soldiers killed. On average, more than two American lives are lost daily.

Those are the facts concerning the war in Iraq. On Nov. 7, 2006, America voted for change, and that change comes in the form of the newly appointed Democratic House and Senate.

Currently, Iraq is the site of brutal insurgent battles, as well as heinous kidnappings. United States forces continue to battle the Sunni and Shiite forces daily, and there are no signs that point to an end of the war. More importantly for Americans, there are no signs of troops returning home anytime soon.

According to the exit polls, American’s main concern in this election was the war in Iraq.

“The Democrats won because Americans want change in Iraq. They don’t feel as though President Bush is fulfilling his promises,” sophomore and Republican Dan Madanat said.

Looking towards the future, a future with Republican President Bush working with a Democratic Congress, one must question how the new Democratic influence in Washington will affect the war in Iraq. Senior and SGA President Jared Bass shared his feelings about this shift of power.

“National and Republican support slowly wane as more lives are lost, more soldiers are injured and more factors come into play. I am a self-proclaiming Democrat, but I don’t know if the Democrats are ready. It is a matter of seeing what comprehensive and coherent plan they can formulate,” he said.

As for President Bush, he wasted no time in meeting with the incoming Democratic majority in order to develop common objectives. On November 13, Bush met with the Iraq Study Group.

One of the biggest issues and debates has been over discussion of a timetable for the troops returning home.

The Democrats agree that troops should leave Iraq sooner rather than later, but are unsure of specifics.

Democratic Senator Carl Levin of Michigan called for some troops to come home right away, while Democratic Congressman John Murtha of Pennsylvania supports an immediate troop withdrawal.

There are both positive and negative aspects involving the Democrats wanting to remove troops. Bass said he is uncertain if the best move would be the withdrawal of United States troops.

“If we pull out the troops, we are out of the war, but what does it mean for the country’s infrastructure?” Bass said. “As of right now, we have done more harm than good, as we have messed up their infrastructure, and haven’t fixed it yet.”

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina recently stated that Iraq was in near chaos and demanded accountability.

During the Iraq Study Group, Graham held onto his position that what would be best for Iraq is not a reduction of troops, but more troops in order to settle the violence. Madanat agreed with this position.

“I believe that the United States forces are understaffed. If the Democrats want to make a quick withdrawal of troops, they need to increase the troops. From here, we can train the Iraqi forces, so they can take care of their country, and then we can leave,” Madanat said.

Regardless of the specific decisions pertaining to the withdrawal of troops, the Democrats have the stage, and ultimately, they have the hand of influence in Washington.

Americans voted for change, and how the Democrats handle this new power and influence has yet to be seen.

“The war in Iraq seems like it is America versus one terrorist state. We are in quicksand, and the more we keep on fighting, the faster we sink,” Bass said.

The main question is whether or not things could be handled better in Iraq. [For the past three years], the Democrats have criticized Iraq and foreign policy. Now they have to step up to the plate.”

News sources:

www.cnn.com, www.aol.com

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