Congress debates troop withdrawal from Iraq July 10 (Bill 2956)

I study the Middle East. Everything that has to do with that part of the world is interesting to me. I love the language, history, culture, and politics.

I deferred from BYU last semester to go to Irbid, Jordan, live with a host family, and study Arabic at Yarmouk University. This was a unique opportunity to be exposed to the language, history, culture, and...politics.

I am grateful for the opportunity I had to broaden my exposure to opinions. The people I met, conversations I had, articles I read, and understanding I gained caused me to form my own political opinions.

A precipitous withdrawal from Iraq will be a disaster. I do not support a bill that enacts a withdrawal of all American troops by April 2008. However, I cannot support allocating 80% of our forces in Iraq with the excuse that we are battling Al-Qaeda while our terrible enemy builds its strongholds in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I agree with the Democrats - we must change our strategy. I agree with the Republicans - we cannot pull out all of our troops, at least not yet.

My new apartment has C-SPAN. It's the first time in my life that watching this channel has been so interesting. I actually stood up and started screaming in frustration when Indiana's Republican Congressman Dan Burton stood up and argued against the New York Congressman's "our-troops-can't-build-or-sustain-a-democratic-Iraqi-government-
should-not-waste-American-lives-on-a-war-we -can't-win" statement with, "Well, if George Washington could see what we were doing, he would understand because Congress almost gave up on HIM and HIS wars...if we gave up in World War II, there would be thousands of Holocaust victims who would have died."

PATHETIC REBUTTAL. Absolutely lame. The other Republican Congressmen had facts, not incoherent/irrelevant references to 'history'. The truth is, the person whose argument I most agreed with was the Republican Congressman from Indiana, Mike Pence. He doesn't support a withdrawal from Iraq until we can have information about what is actually going on, yet he agreed that keeping our troops there is not the ultimate solution. Pro withdrawal, but not pro precipitous withdrawal. He admitted if we fail in Iraq, we will fail in the entire Middle East, which I think is extremely true. We CAN'T risk that.

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