United we stand, divided we vote



Barrett, Tom

After General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker’s testimony in Congress last week, it is painstakingly clear that this country is still at a complete loss as to what to do in Iraq. Somewhere along the way in this constant back-and-forth bickering between the right and the left, one vital fact somehow has been buried and forgotten: we are all Americans.

Instead of remembering who we are, the two sides have been demonizing each other in order to push their own agendas across. For instance, many Democrats would have you believe that most Republicans are a bunch of oil-thirsty, greenhouse gas-loving, baby seal-clubbing fascists who are unwilling to admit defeat even when it seems to be kicking them right in the backside. A lot of Republicans would tell you that those tree-hugging, cowardly, socialist Democrats will essentially allow the collapse of the region because they want to pull out of Iraq quicker than a quarterback on prom night.

That is not to say that Hillary Clinton is going to get behind the podium and start literally calling George Bush a “seal clubber.” Rather, these stereotypes are vomited on street corners all over the nation, which begs the question, “What good is any of that going to do?” Now is hardly the time for name calling.

Before we can make progress, a few facts must be accepted. It is true that, looking back, we are in a war that we more than likely should not have entered in the first place. The fact of the matter remains that we did enter it, and the situation has proven far more difficult than most anticipated. Withdrawing now, however, would exacerbate the situation significantly. We would essentially be saying, “Sorry Iraqis, but good luck with your civil war!”

Next, our government officials spearheading this war must grasp the fact that they cannot impose a system of government that is supposed to be based on individual liberty by shoving it down Iraq’s throat, especially when they do not understand the Iraqi culture or religion at all. So maybe it’s time they switch gears a bit and exercise more diplomatic means of quelling the insurgency. Nevertheless, our presence in Iraqi remains crucial for the time being.

Thirdly, our politicians have to come clean with us. We need to stop getting rhetoric-packed sound bites manufactured to appease the American public. There can be no more promises of a quick end to this war, because that is simply not possible. We, as the American public, also need to accept this fact and trust that we do have the capabilities to make this conflict end well.

Lastly, we must realize that while nobody wants to be in this war, this situation is infinitely more complex than most people want to admit. Settling this problem in Iraq will require this nation to unite under one common goal.

Let’s not forget that we are, in fact, all Americans in this country and that we all want peace to be restored. Let’s not be afraid to admit that no individual has all of the right answers, but, working together, we can definitely come up with some good ones. This war does not have to end in its current disastrous state. United we stand, and divided we fall.


Tom Barrett is a junior philosophy major from Colonia, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected].