Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Stay in Iraq

In today's Diamondback, I take on the former VP of the College Democrats in a debate over whether the the war in Iraq is still worth fighting.

I say, yes we should stay! Sample grab below:
A premature U.S. departure from Iraq risks the possibility of a failed state developing in the Middle East. It would be a dire threat to regional stability and a major security risk for the U.S. and its allies. Recall, for example, that when the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan at the end of the Cold War, the ensuing vacuum was filled by the Taliban and Osama bin Laden.

...Although our endeavor is expensive and requires the sacrifice of a great many courageous Americans (and Iraqis), the potential for a modernized, democratic, pro-Western Muslim state in the Middle East means that this is a necessary fight.

Click here to read the entire column.

I'm no apologist for how the Bush administration's initial approach in Iraq. You may recall that back in August 2005 I said we needed to "change the course" and "put more of our guys on the ground". In December 2006, I said that "significantly more troops should be sent to Iraq temporarily to help with security". Now, with "the surge" underway, I am cautiously optimistic and want to see it produce a successful result for the long term.

Also check out what my opponent in today's print edition had to say. Honestly, I thought his column was pretty weak. The Iraq war is a complex and divisive issue, and there are several compelling arguments as to why we should withdraw. Mr. Hiller offers none of these in his column, instead spouting some hokey pablum about the influence of "corporations".

Even though I believe we should stay in Iraq, I respect those who argue against the war on legitimate grounds, including the following:
a) the cost in human lives
b) we don't know when it will end
c) the strain it has put on the Army might make us less flexible to respond to a future threat
d) the money spent on the war could instead go to domestic programs or the war in Afghanistan.

These points are highly effective arguments against continuation of the war, and on which I think there should be vigorous debate.

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