Nothing to run away from

Matthew White

Democratic primary voters in Connecticut saw fit to swap a lion of a candidate for a house cat in the August 8 election.

Joe Lieberman, an 18-year veteran of the United States Senate, was replaced on the Democratic ticket by Ned Lamont, a single-issue candidate.

Lamont’s issue: An immediate pull-out of American troops serving in Iraq.

Beyond some immediate concern with choosing a candidate based upon one issue, is the very real threat presented with the philosophy that advocates immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Joe Lieberman understood that the United States faces a complex situation in Iraq. Geographic factors, such as neighboring Syria and Iran (which is undergoing nuclear deterrent talks and is believed to be financing the Hezzbollah terrorist organization), and economic factors, such as the distribution of oil profits among the populace, make any knee-jerk response inappropriate.

A vote for an anti-war candidate, simply because he or she is anti-war, is an emotional response to a situation that can only be solved through logical thinking. In essence, it is the equivalent of shoving a circular peg through a square hole, simply because the square hole elicits negative emotions. Ultimately, no matter how that hole makes you feel, the circular peg just won’t fit.

Mistakes have been made in Iraq; for instance, “shock and awe” was anything but. The Bush administration now admits that more troops were needed during the initial invasion. And the aircraft carrier speech, which was meant to bolster morale and improve approval ratings while acknowledging challenges ahead, has proved to be misleading. But the sum total of our actions in Iraq should not, and must not, be thought of something to run away from.

Brave men and women have proved to be an incredible force for freedom and prosperity in Iraq. Our soldiers have rebuilt hospitals, schools, community centers, newsrooms, and other integral parts of a modern society. Many of these things are being built for the first time because the former Iraqi strongman was uninterested in the health and lives of his people.

The free election of leaders in Iraq has dispersed political power, once concentrated in the hands of a tyrannical leader and his sons. Iraqis now join the police and military forces in large numbers, hoping to defend their nation against domestic murderers and foreign invaders.

Civilian rights, such as political participation and ownership of property, have been brought to Iraqi women and minorities. These are things that we have recognized as being inalienable of the human condition in America, and it would be hypocritical to believe otherwise of humans in Iraq.

We must approach the current deployment of troops in Iraqi with a perspective that acknowledges what has been done, both good and bad, through our involvement in that nation, with the intention of minimizing future mistakes. Pulling out now, which would be abandoning the Iraqi people, our soldiers’ noble work and the democratic ideas attempting to grow to fruition in Iraq, would be more mistake than progress, and more regressive than forward-looking.

Matthew White is a senior magazine journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].