Peanut Butter & Jelly

Peanut Butter & Jelly: If only life were that simple

Monday, March 20, 2006

End the Occupation

I am a high school student in Omaha, Nebraska (we’re not all pig farmers and corn growers out here, ya know!). I am currently enrolled in a debate class where we had to come up with a debatable topic before a deadline. It would be between me and a partner (pro) and two other people (con). My speech and follow-up questions are as followed [with some revisions]:

I remember a quote by Ludwig von Mises that stated that "War is harmful, not only to the conquered but to the conqueror." I believe this is entirely true in explanation to the Iraq war.

There comes a time within this occupation in which we must ask ourselves a few questions: what is the main agenda?; when do we plan on leaving?; could any progress be made by staying in Iraq?; why, after all this time, money, and loss of life, and the overall opposition that reaches far beyond the Iraqi people and into the people of the United States, are we still there?

We started the war in Iraq on March 19, 2003, now three years ago. Since the war began, 2,298 U.S. troops have died in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have died. The human cost of this war is unacceptable, and the entire global community agrees with this.

President George W. Bush ordered our country to invade Iraq on March 19, 2003. At the time, the American public was convinced that the war would only last a few months or so. Well, three years have past, and little progress has been made. And Bush’s approval ratings have reflected this belief. [Most recently, Bush’s approval ratings dropped to an all-time low, standing at 33%; this is the lowest it has ever been since he was sworn in as our president in 2000. Many poll results indicate that this is a direct result of the way the war in Iraq has turned out.]

Governmental services have been cut left and right to help pay for Iraq, which is expected to cost the United States around 2.6 trillion dollars. Is it really necessary to spend this much money on a country that doesn’t want us there, and neither does the rest of the world, and the majority of Americans? It is obvious that the Iraqis do not want us in their country, because of the protests, suicide bombings, and continuous casualties that come out of Iraq daily.

The war in Iraq cannot be won, that is a definite fact. Many have compared it to Vietnam. The first similarity is that the administration led the country to believe the war was justified when it wasn’t; second, the administration lied to the public on several occasions to "stay the course" in both situations; third, both wars cost us millions [and billions] of dollars. When it comes to size, Vietnam was much larger than Iraq. In the nine-year period that we were in Vietnam, 58,000 people died. And only 2,000 people died in the three years we’ve been in Iraq. Six years into Vietnam, 58,000 people died. And only 2,000 people have died in the three years we’ve had military occupation stationed in Iraq. Six years into Vietnam, more than 53% of America believed that the war was a major mistake. These two wars are completely different when it comes to time, but the similarities are endless. War protests have occurred in both wars. Songs have been written for the sole purpose of waging war against war.

There are two general outcomes in the war in Iraq: One, we leave, leaving the Iraqi people what they want; Two, we stay in Iraq for 10+ years, and, finally, turn Iraq into a democracy; but, within a few years, it turns back into the country it was before the war.

What we’re looking at is decades in this country with almost nothing to show for it. We’re also seeing 40-50 people coming home from Iraq in body bags. Do we really want to spend billions of dollars, cost this country thousands [or more] lives, and still not know whether or not it was worth it all along, just because the administration wants to "stay the course?" Of course not!

After 2,000 deaths, billions of dollars spent, the fact that we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction, and opposition to the war at an all-time high in the United States and the rest of the world, when do we come to a point when we must accept the fact that we are not winning this war and should pull out as soon as we can? When should we leave?

I think the time has come when we need to force the administration into making an exit strategy. It must be done for the betterment of this country, if nothing else. Please consider my opinion, and thank you for your time.

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