Among many factors to consider during the 2008 presidential election is the Iraq war, which carries considerable weight in shaping the University of La Verne’s support of presidential candidates.
As the 2008 election general election approaches, students and faculty at ULV are voicing their often divergent concerns about the war.
“We become what we claim we were after,” Professor of English Bill Cook said. “People are led by forces, forces of concepts.”
“Through this war, we have stood up and brought down a tyrant, as well as sent the message that humankind will not stand for terrorism, but the spread of ideas and peace,” Stephen Roybal, a senior business administration major said.
When it comes to the U.S. presence in Iraq, the leading candidates of the Republican and Democratic parties stand divided on its current state.
Republican candidate John McCain acknowledges declining morale in support of the war, yet he firmly believes long-term success in Iraq is essential to provide a secure future for the American people.
Supporting his belief, McCain is calling for a greater military commitment in Iraq and no deadline for withdrawal.
He believes the strategy implemented for most of the war only secured small areas of Iraq, and he supports the new counterinsurgency campaign underway.
What this translates into is the idea of Iraqi and American forces continue their hold of cleared areas.
They hope to create strongholds that make it difficult for hostile environments for insurgents to operate in.
By focusing on safety of local Iraqi communities, he believes political and economic growth may occur.
On the other side of the political spectrum, the leading Democratic candidates, Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, are calling for a swift end to the war.
Clinton calls for an end to the war with her “three-step plan.”
She urges for “phased redeployment” within the first few days she is in office, if she is elected.
She calls for a practical plan to bring the troops home from Iraq in what Clinton believes is a civilian war.
This also includes work on stabilizing the region by focusing U.S. aid on helping Iraqis.
Lastly, replacing the military force with a new diplomatic approach would engage other nations to ensure Iraq’s security, rather than resting all responsibility with the United States.
Obama believes Iraq’s political leaders have made little progress in solving the political differences at the heart of their civil war.
If elected, Obama wants to remove one or two combat brigades each month in hopes of having all brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.
Furthermore, Obama wants Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future and believes the best way to push for this is to make it clear that the U.S. is leaving.
All three candidates advocate for the moral and security responsibility to be addressed with refugees outside and within Iraq’s border.
Students and faculty also stand aware of the war and its effects on the nation’s youth and their families.
“I’m bothered by it. The war is illegal in that it breaks our own foreign policies amongst many other international policies,” freshman Thomas Vickers said.
“I feel that people are dying for no reason whatsoever. Not to mention the economic downfall which is substantially due to the war.”
Some professors had a few thoughts in regards to political awareness on campus.
“I think that youth, particularly ULV students, need to educate themselves about the many complex issues that lead up to war, and how economics and resources play into the scenario,” Carole Mora, adjunct professor of writing, said. “And begin to think more critically about the role of media in shaping perceptions about war and other domestic and foreign issues.”
Cook shared some of his concerns about students.
“There is hardly any political awareness,” Cook said.
Cook attributes this to the growing rate of students who take on work outside of academia, which leads to little time to think about these effects.
“Intellectually, Americans are in debt. It’s someone else’s cause as long as there is no draft,” Cook said.
Tiffany Vlaanderen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.