18 March 2008

Are We a Nation of War or Peace?

The upcoming presidential election will hinge on a variety of issues, but with the Iraq war now entering its sixth year, this is a good moment to look at the positions of the remaining candidates regarding the war. The war is increasingly unpopular with the general public, as noted by USA TODAY:
In the USA TODAY poll, six in 10 Americans said the United States should set a timetable for withdrawal and stick to it no matter what. Just 35% said U.S. troops should remain until the situation in Iraq gets better, a number as low as it's ever been.
Barack Obama, although not serving in the US Senate when the war began, has opposed it from the very beginning:
"A war that should have never been authorized, a war that should have never been waged. I've been against it 2002, 2003, 2004, 5, 6, 7, 8. And I will bring this war to an end in 2009."
Hilary Clinton voted for the Authorization for Use of Military Force, but has defended that vote by saying that President Bush was claiming to need the authorization as a negotiating tool. She now is clear about her intentions to end the war if elected:
Clinton said that if elected she would begin bringing troops home within 60 days of taking office. She said she would push for legislation reducing the length of troops' overseas deployments.

"No more talk of permanent occupation, no more policing a civil war, no more doing for the Iraqis what they need to be doing for themselves," she said.
John McCain, on the other hand, says that staying in Iraq for 100 years would be fine with him:

With the war now costing our country $12 billion a month and with our economy now in a recession that, according to Alan Greenspan, is "the most wrenching since the end of the second world war", the war position of the new President will have a huge impact on the economy over the next several decades. From an economic view alone, our country simply cannot afford a McCain presidency.

Of course, from a moral standpoint, the US already has lost significant stature in the world as a result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. With hundreds of thousands of Iraqis dead and millions displaced from their homes, Iraq faces a staggering job of recovery. With the US nearing its 4000th death in Iraq, its costs are much more than economic, as well.

Finally, in case anyone thinks that John McCain would be a good choice to lead us out of the quagmire that is Iraq, we should never forget that he also has chosen our next war for us:

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