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The war in Iraq is over…if you want it

Sugar in Your Gas Tank

Tiffany Oliver

Issue date: 9/10/10 Section: Opinion
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Despite Obama's lofty campaign promises, two years ago, he's only nowaddressing the war in Iraq - and not in a good way either. By leaving troopsthere, neither Americans nor Iraqis can be happy.
Despite Obama's lofty campaign promises, two years ago, he's only nowaddressing the war in Iraq - and not in a good way either. By leaving troopsthere, neither Americans nor Iraqis can be happy.
[Click to enlarge]
I must say, when I heard President Obama was giving a speech on the combat situation in Iraq, I hoped that the situation would change. I hoped the man portrayed as the knight in shining armor would vanquish all evil and lead us to the end of an unsuccessful, undeclared, and illegal war in Iraq.

The man who built his campaign on his disapproval of the Iraq invasion (I can't recall how many times he said he never supported the invasion) was finally going to keep one of his many campaign promises and actually take a stand.

Instead, he made another sleazy, politically influenced move in an attempt to help fellow Democrats up for reelection.

As much as I disagree with President Obama's policies (with the exception to assassinate the Somali pirates, of course), my patriotism gave me some faith that he was not just another manipulative politician clinging to a slogan to solicit votes, and that maybe, just maybe, he would do the right thing. Or take a stand on "the issues" without caving to party pressures. Instead, his presidency has been a joke. He has not been the fearless leader or the man above Washington. It has taken him nearly two years to seriously address the Iraq issue, even though his political career was built on his Iraq position.

Instead, President Obama's speech on Iraq was another disappointment. "Ending combat" is political talk of trying to please two sides at once. By maintaining troop presence, he appeases the neo-cons in Congress, and by "ending combat" he pleases his liberal constituency and some moderate voters who hold Iraq as a key election issue. The end of Operation Iraqi Freedom sounds as promising as Bush's "Mission Accomplished" slogan.

The issue I have with the Iraq situation is the belief that we can run Iraq better than the Iraqis. A continuing presence is a continuation of this neo-con, Bush-era belief. No matter what, staying in Iraq is going to cause strained relations in the Middle East and beyond. President Obama cites that our combat mission in Iraq (even though "combat" is supposedly over, there were 12 deaths after a battle between American soldiers and insurgents in Baghdad on Sept. 4) is to fix broken relationships, namely abroad. I think his logic is flawed, or he does not understand why many countries resent our interventionist policies.

I think the issue with how other countries view us is that we tend to think the American way is synonymous with the best way. Staying in Iraq supports that view. We may not be "fighting," but we are going to "advise" the government. I wonder what type of philosophy we are going to force on Iraqi leaders, because I doubt we respect the cultural differences between us. Maybe I am cynical, but I doubt that our advice is going to be what is best for the Iraqis. If President Obama cannot see the problems our meddling has caused over the past seven and a half years, he is not the intellectual Ivy League grad we thought he was.

Iraqis has made it clear that they want us out. Trying to have it both ways - staying without fighting, and calling it the end of combat, is another example of President Obama injecting party politics into American policy. Where is the change that was promised?

Tiffany Oliver is a third-year history and political science major with a public policy minor. She is a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta women's fraternity.
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