Obama’s strategy offers third option on war in Iraq

To the Daily:

It is clear that Rajiv Prabhakar’s support of President Bush’s surge plan (In defense of the surge, 02/02/07) comes from a genuine desire to better the situation in Iraq and improve America’s standing throughout the world. While I think the surge is misguided, I am glad to see debate in this country return to reason and the rhetoric of hate and smear be replaced by forward-thinking proposals. However, Rajiv mistakenly implies that America has only two options in Iraq: surge and withdrawal.

There is a third way – Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) plan for phased redeployment. On Jan. 30, Obama introduced the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007. It is quite literally the only plan that allows America to leave Iraq both responsibly and with dignity. If passed, the act would cap the number of troops serving in Iraq, begin a phased redeployment of U.S. forces by May 1, set benchmarks for each phase of redeployment and remove all U.S. combat forces from Iraq by March 31, 2008. In addition, if conditions on the ground do not meet the benchmarks set by the Iraq Study Group, then Obama’s bill gives Congress the power to temporarily postpone any phase of redeployment.

As Obama said on the Senate floor during the debate on the act last Tuesday: “It is time to fundamentally change our policy. It is time to give Iraqis their country back. And it is time to refocus America’s efforts on the challenges we face at home and the wider struggle against terror yet to be won.”

Obama’s plan is smart, courageous and responsible. And it’s exactly what our country needs.

Chad Rochkind
The letter writer is an LSA senior and co-chair of the University’s chapter of Students for Obama

Reconsidering an artful metaphor for Iraq

To the Daily:

Peter Shapiro was a bit off in his letter to the editor Monday (Pottery Barn analogy does not apply to Iraq conflict, 02/05/07). Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” was not met with critical acclaim because of his credentials, as Shapiro falsely asserted. The piece was originally submitted under a pseudonym, and it was years later that Duchamp took credit for it. “Fountain” was originally rejected outright as a work of art, and it took years to be considered as such. It shocked, stimulated controversy and created debate.

Perhaps a better use of this work as an analogy for the war in Iraq is that it should make us think and rethink deeply about the situation and our government’s place in the world – on both sides of the argument.

Jon Cameron
LSA senior

Hussein regime didn’t protect Chaldeans in Iraq

To the Daily:

While LSA junior Fadi Dawood is correct about Arab religious and ethnic persecution of Iraq’s Chaldean population (Iraqi ties, 02/05/07), he is incorrect in his claims that the Saddam Hussein regime provided protection.

Hussein tolerated Chaldeans on the basis that we give up our language and Arabize our culture. He was unwilling to accept our status as a distinct people and did not respect our presence in the region. He drafted us in disproportionate numbers during the slaughter that was the Iran-Iraq War. He wanted us to either reject our ancient culture and become Arabs or leave. Chaldeans – like former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Tariq Aziz – who denied their culture and language and sold out their own families, were the only ones able to get ahead.

The Chaldean people have lived in the region for thousands of years. Under Hussein, our people came under the threat of pan-Arabic theories, which attacked minority rights and culture. Today our homeland is threatened by religious extremists who target us because we are Christian. The Hussein regime poisoned the Chaldean homeland and transformed it into an unfriendly, intolerant and violent place. If America had not opened its doors to my family, we would have remained in Iraq, and my knowledge of my history, language and culture would undoubtedly not be so strong.

It is important that we learn from the faults of the Hussein regime and his pan-Arabism so we can develop new political ideas that accept minority rights and tolerate all people – regardless of their religion, ethnicity or beliefs.

Johnnie Kashat
LSA sophomore

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