The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Three years later, Iraq war still arouses debate

Three years after the invasion of Iraq by the United States and its allies, debate over the war continues at CSUN.

For two CSUN students from Kuwait, who call themselves “Shoog” and “D-pak,” deposing Saddam Hussein was necessary for the benefit of the people of Iraq.

Shoog, a Kuwaiti native, preferred to remain anonymous because she said she feared retribution.

“Going to war was the only way to get rid of (Saddam Hussein),” Shoog said. “Saddam would never have left (his country).”

Shoog said several Iraqis are grateful for what the United States did, but the Americans cannot stay in the country long, because it is so dangerous.

D-pak said she questions the motives of the U.S. invasion and the government’s handling of the Iraq war. “(The government) should pull out (the troops) and let them deal with their own issues,” said D-pak, a design major. D-pak also asked that her real name not be revealed because of fear of retribution.

Oil is one reason that some believe the United States still is in Iraq, she said.

“I think they are there to take advantage of the country’s oil,” D-Pak said. “They don’t have a real reason to stay.”

D-Pak and Shoog are only two of the many CSUN students who have reflected, debated and disagreed on the war in Iraq.

Zeshan Aqeel, senior biochemistry major, supported the war at first. However, she began to question the motives of the U.S. government.

“When the war started, I was all for it,” Aqeel said. “I wanted to see what weapons of mass destruction Saddam had. But they didn’t find anything, so why are they still there?”

The United States went to war with the stated hopes of ousting Hussein and finding weapons of mass destruction on March 20, 2003. The capture of Saddam on Dec. 13, 2003 was deemed a success for U.S. armed forces. The war has nevertheless raged on.

As of March 17, 2006, the number of U.S. deaths in Iraq is 2,310, according to the Department of Defense.

The total number of Iraqi casualties is unknown, but a project that has been gathering news reports and trying to record the number of Iraqi dead since the war began. The Iraq Body Count Project states that a minimum of 33,368 and a maximum of 37,754 reported civilian deaths have occurred in Iraq. There have been other estimates of Iraqi casualties, but no official count has ever been determined.

Most Americans were in favor of going to war with Iraq, according to a USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken the day the war began. The poll indicated 76 percent of Americans approved of the war, while 20 percent disapproved. The margin of the poll was plus or minus 4.

Support for the war has dropped over the years.

The increasing number of U.S. casualties has affected President Bush’s image and popularity, according to the most recent USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll. The President’s approval rating currently stands at 36 percent, and 57 percent of Americans said it was a mistake to send troops to Iraq. The margin of error in the poll is plus or minus five.

The U.S. government has stated it supports rebuilding Iraq, but it is a difficult task due the strength of the insurgency and the possible start of a civil war looming between Sunni and Shiite factions.

Iraq is a nation with three cultural and religious groups – Sunnis, Shiites and the Kurds. Hostility between the different groups has been growing because each has a different vision for Iraq’s future, said Rachel Howes, CSUN professor of Middle Eastern history.

Professor Kazem Alamdari, a CSUN sociology professor originally from Iran, said though he does not support the war, he believes that it would be a mistake for the United States to leave Iraq now.

He said the United States has created a terrible situation in Iraq and are responsible for much of the unrest there and need to stay until the situation is resolved.

“I suggest they stay there until the situation is safe,” Alamdari said. “There will be more chaos if the U.S. is not there. It would definitely be much worse.”

Robert Chianese, CSUN English professor and member of Citizens for Peaceful Resolution, said he finds it hard to believe that a civil war will not happen in Iraq when different groups of Iraqis attack each other.

“Of course it’s a civil war,” Chianese said. “They’re blowing up each other’s mosques.”

A breakout of civil war would hurt the troops, the rebuilding process and democratization of the nation, he said.

“Democracy does not happen fast,” Chianese said. “We had our civil war. You can’t stop somebody from civil war. If you’re in the middle of it, then you’re going to be a target.”

The possibility of a civil war has Americans protesting to bring the troops back home, Chianese said.

“I don’t see any students leading any anti-war education rallies,” Chianese said.

There are a variety of reasons students are not active in taking a stand about the war, Chianese said.

Students have more responsibilities these days, and their morale has been affected by the war, he said.

“The younger generation is out of touch with its government,” he said. “They expect immediate results after trying once and believe there is nothing that can be done about the war.”.

“They don’t understand how long term you have to commit to protesting,” Chianese said. “Changes do not happen overnight.”

Student protesting was popular during the Vietnam War; however, due to the entirely different nature of the Iraq War, the response has changed, Chianese said.

“Students protested because there was a draft,” he said. “If there was a draft, then students would be more active.”

Oscar Areliz can be reached at

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