Last Monday, Mar. 19, marked the fourth anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. Obviously, opinions have changed toward the war since its beginning. When we first invaded, support ran high for the president, as most believed that we would be able to take over and withdraw in a matter of weeks. As the years have gone by, the president’s support has plummeted to a record low. We now know that Iraq never had weapons of mass destruction and the idea of a peaceful democratic government in Iraq seems nearly impossible.
p. President George W. Bush’s speech on the war’s anniversary displayed a clear change in tone and expectations toward the war. In past years, Bush has made declarations of success and military victory for the troops. No such declarations were made this year. There was no mention of democracy or great victory. There was simply a plea for patience. As Bush continues to ask for more funding and troops, it seems his only plan is to continue what we have been doing and hope it works this time. He has offered little apology for the failures of the past and has proposed no plan to withdraw in the future.
p. In response to Bush’s latest bill, which asks for $100 million more for the war, Democrats attached an amendment that creates a timetable for the withdrawal of the troops. With mass public support, the Democrats are clearly no longer afraid to criticize the war or the president. However, Bush has made it perfectly clear that he will veto such a bill if it is passed, calling the bill “unconscionable.”
p. The Bush administration has also made it clear that we can no longer win this war. Instead, it argues that if we leave now, all of the past efforts and sacrifices of our troops will be wasted. That argument has absolutely no merit. The idea that we have to lose more lives in order to honor the lives we have already lost is completely ridiculous. In fact, it is wrong and offensive. What gives Bush or anyone else the right to use the memory of soldiers who gave up their lives to manipulate those who are still alive to fight for a cause that doesn’t exist?
p. In his speech, Bush warned Americans that if troops were to withdraw now, Iraq could become the central planning ground for future terrorist attacks. But is the fear of what might happen enough reason to stay? Bush demands that we have faith that things will get better, but when everything shows that it won’t, why should we?
p. Throughout his administration, Bush has never earned the right to our respect or trust. He has only provided lies and false promises. I understand that in leaving now we may be leaving Iraq far more dangerous and vulnerable than when we invaded four years ago. The question we now have to ask is: where do we draw the line? At what point is it no longer worth it to “honor” the sacrifices we have already made? If the only results this war produces are more dead American soldiers and innocent Iraqis, it seems that withdrawing is our only option.
p. __Rachael Siemon-Carome, a freshman at the College, is a Staff Columnist. Her columns appear on Fridays.__