Almost every day this past year, I have had the displeasure, as a U.S. citizen, to read about the abundance of chaos and aggression that abounds in Iraq because of this country’s stance on terrorism and the spreading of democracy.
In the upcoming presidential election of 2008, there are many issues that most people can relate to such as abortion, social security, health care and immigration. These are all issues that I care about as a citizen on an individual level, because I know these issues will affect me personally in one way or another in the immediate future. But right now, my main concern is the issue of Iraq. This is due to the reality that this issue has affected many people on a personal level, but also this war as a whole and the effects it has had on our national goals and ambitions that has altered this country more than any other.
I question our future in Iraq and how this will develop in the upcoming months regarding the election of a new president and new presidential cabinet.
On a national level, this war has continued to not only define this nation, but it has become an indictment on U.S. global polices and purpose in that region of the world. The best way to deal with this “war” as individual citizens in a democracy is to make sure we vote for a candidate or party that will almost certainly change the current path we are stuck on. I look to the 2008 presidential candidates for answers. So who to vote for?
For the Democratic candidates, the issue of the war is an obvious one. All of the major Democratic candidates, such as Sen. Barack Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and John Edwards, supported the passage of a war spending bill that would have withdrawn most U.S. troops by March 2008 and also greatly opposed President Bush’s plan to send additional solders to Iraq.
For the republican candidates, such as Rudy Gulliani, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Mitt Romney, the issue of war in Iraq is an issue best left to the President and his current stance on foreign policy. McCain, Romney and Huckabee all showed overwhelming support for Bush’s veto of the war spending bill that would have lead to substantial troop withdrawal by March of 2008.
The major position taken by most republicans is a faded one. The support for President Bush and his polices are harmful to the global reputation of this country. The war in Iraq has been called by most critics, a stalemate, a war we can neither win nor lose. By voting for a Republican candidate, it can almost be assumed that we will stay in Iraq.
On the other hand, a vote for a democrat could be a vote for vague hesitation. Most of the Democratic candidates say that they support troop withdrawal and are opposed to policies supported by President Bush, but don’t give an exact answer on support of the war itself. If a democrat is voted into the presidency and we pull out of the war too hastily, we might make Iraq worse than it was before the war.
Iraq can’t be overlooked and ignored for too long. We must take responsibility, as a country, for what has developed in Iraq. Our democracy or lack there of, has allowed this war to perpetuate itself. It is our democracy and responsibility because it is was our votes that elected the representative penholders.
We are at a crossroads in this country regarding foreign policy issues. As citizens of a democratic nation, we have the right and the responsibility to ensure what is best for our country first and foremost. As a superpower we should care about the world, we should try to stop terrorism in the divine sense, if it really exists, and we should try to make the world a safer place for democracy. But before we do that, we should fix the problems we have on our home front before we go traipsing around the world spreading democracy one third-world country at a time.
The damage has been done to the country of Iraq and a vote for either party or candidate won’t change that. Instead of picking the scabs of war and voting for any of the Republican candidates that will most likely extend the war four more years, we could set limits and sacrifice face in the eyes of the world.
I say the better of the two evils isn’t a particular candidate, but rather a particular party merely due to issue unanimity. As far as the war is concerned, we should vote for a democrat, get out of the hole we have dug for ourselves and bring our soldiers back home.