Politics

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Debating Iraq Troop Withdrawal

March 02, 2008 12:06 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Troop withdrawal is a key topic in this year's election. Political leaders, presidential candidates and the American public weigh in on the issue.

30-Second Summary

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Depending on who is talking, the departure of U.S. troops from Iraq spells either disaster for the war-torn country or the long-overdue end of an unpopular and costly war.

Conservative James Phillips and liberal Tel Galen Carpenter present their sides of the Iraq issue in a written debate published on the Council on Foreign Relations Web site.

The cost of removing U.S. troops would be great both to the Iraqi people and America’s security from terrorist threats, argues Phillips.

But Carpenter counters that war advocates must consider that “stubbornly staying in Iraq and continuing to be bled, both financially and literally, plays into the hands of Islamic radicals.”

The presidential candidates are arguing the same issues. Dennis Ross writes in The New Republic that none of their arguments provide a realistic solution to the problem. John McCain must explain why “staying the present course” will undoubtedly yield victory, and the Democratic candidates must present more than an inflexible withdrawal plan, Ross writes.

However, with the general election approaching, the candidates will undoubtedly find themselves catering to voter opinion.

A Gallup poll conducted last summer found that 58 percent of Americans say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who “only supports legislation on the war that includes a timetable for removing U.S. troops from Iraq.”

But political commentator and author Christopher Hitchens warns of upheaval in Iraq should the U.S. military withdraw. He argues in a television interview that the nation would violently splinter if America leaves too early.

Headline Links: The politics of withdrawal

Background: ‘Bush Upbeat on Iraq’

Opinions & Analysis: Candidates’ Iraq plans lack specifics

Related Topics: Public opinion, Obama vs. McCain and Turkey in Iraq

McCain vs. Obama

Reference: Guides to the candidates

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