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Candidates must discuss real issues

Katie Palmitier | Wednesday, October 4, 2006

I love this time of year. The leaves change, the weather cools down and political commercials heat up. With elections just around the corner, the American people will decide which candidate deserves his or her vote, and both parties are doing their best to snag the most voters. And this year, for the Republicans, desperate times call for desperate measures. As a result, Americans are left in the dark about key issues as our nation continues on a downward spiral to disaster.

The United States has soldiers dying everyday in Iraq and all some candidates can talk about is gay marriage, abortion and flag burning. While these issues are important, they affect only a small number of people in our country. The war in Iraq, however, is affecting not only the United States, but also the whole world. Yet the Republicans are not talking about it. As the New York Times editorial board explained this last Sunday, “Politicians running for election want to deliver good news, and there is nothing about Iraq – including withdrawal scenarios – that is anything but ominous”. Controversial issues, such as gay marriage and abortion, are merely a ploy by conservatives to capture the conservative to moderate vote on life, moral and religious issues, and to make people temporarily forget about the war. I am sure thousands of people voted for President Bush in the last two presidential races because of his platform on abortion and being Pro-Life. Yet after four years of Republicans controlling the House, Senate, and the presidency, abortion has yet to be banned. These one-issue voters need to think twice about what being Pro-Life means before they vote. Countless American soldiers and Iraqi civilians are losing their lives everyday in an unjust war; a war the government chose to start. IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices), one of the main weapons used in this war, stop a beating heart just like abortion. This sounds to me like a Pro-Choice administration; someone else choosing the life worth of a human being.

For a long time we all fell for the politicians’ tricks, focusing on our faith and morals rather than on our country and well-being. Some citizens often felt shamed and damned by their respective religions if they did not conform to religious teaching on political matters. But now, thankfully, we are all beginning to ask questions. The supposed “War on Terror” is becoming a main focal point, as it should, in this upcoming election, and it is time for our questions to be answered.

While we now know the reason for which we entered the war was wrong (WMD’s anyone?), questions are now surrounding the current Iraqi conditions and the President’s war evacuation plan. As the New York Times explained, “Growing violence, not growing democracy, is the dominant feature of Iraqi life. Every Iraqi knows this. Americans need to know it too.” The U.S. government entered the war without the approval of the United Nations, trying to control the Iraqi government, and supposedly entered due to “national security” issues. But what does the government do now? Conditions are horrendous in Iraq, civilians and U.S. soldiers are dying everyday, and as Heathrow Airport will tell you, the world is still affected by terrorists. The Bush Administration should not question one’s patriotism if he or she questions the war, saying that we all need to support our troops. I support the troops strongly enough to not want to waste their lives by procrastinating with an evacuation plan. It seems the Bush administration was not supporting the troops by sending them abroad without a clear exit strategy. Our national security now seems to be at an even higher risk since we have begun this “War on Terror.” Lives are in danger at home and abroad. However, if the government could get its act together, start answering questions and admitting their mistakes, my American pride and sense of safety, and that of many others, could be restored.

The window of opportunity to leave Iraq in a somewhat civil manner is rapidly closing. An exit plan needs to be produced and the American people need to be told the truth; the truth about 9/11, the non-existent WMD’s and the current Iraqi situation. The sooner this happens, the sooner our country becomes more secure and our allies strengthened. Americans need to turn off Rush and read Washington Post editor Bob Woodward’s new book. I’ve watched “All the President’s Men”, where Woodward uncovered the lies and deceptions of the Nixon Administration. And now we are seeing history repeat itself. Bob Woodward is once again revealing scandals, this time about 9/11 and the Iraq war. This election, instead of voting strictly for religious or selfish reasons, the American voter needs to vote for the candidate or party that will strive to look out for the well-being of all Americans, as well as the world in which we interact.

Katie Palmitier is a sophomore political science major. She can be contacted at kpalmiti@nd.edu

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.