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Four year anniversary of Iraq: Students torn
In the wake of the four-year anniversary of the American-led war in Iraq, Quinnipiac students have mixed reactions to the war.
Junior diagnostic imaging major Jiazi Li has first-hand experience with the harsh effects the war has exacted upon American soldiers.
“I’m seeing a lot of young kids that have gotten injured,” said Li, who works at the Yale Veterans Affairs Hospital. “I’ve seen a 20-year-old kid who has gotten back from Iraq with bullet fragments in his knee.”
Sophomore broadcast journalism major Tony Fay is optimistic about the United States’ fighting the war. Fay is involved in the QU Republicans.
“I feel that mistakes have been made but at the same time I feel like our troops are doing a really good job down there,” Fay said.
Fay emphasizes that difficulties encountered by the American-led coalition soldiers in Iraq pale in comparison to previous wars the United States has fought.
“Yes, the situation is bad but it’s certainly not a Vietnam situation,” Fay said.
Fay argued against setting a specific deadline for withdrawing coalition forces from Iraq, saying that such a deadline would effectively allow insurgents to wait for troops to leave.
Unlike past wars, American troops fighting in Iraq volunteered to serve in the military. Most did so after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, likely anticipating a combat tour. Many soldiers and Marines have served multiple tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
According to CNN, 3,491 Coalition troops have died in Iraq as of March 23, 2007. This figure includes 3,233 Americans. Additionally, 24,187 American soldiers have returned wounded. Estimates of Iraqi casualties vary, but are at least in the tens of thousands.
“Regardless of what the cause is, you have to support the troops,” sophomore broadcast journalism major Michael Feldstein said.
Nevertheless, many people at Quinnipiac are unhappy about the war. “The loss of human life for something like this isn’t worthwhile,” said Bruce Fox, a professor of history. “I’d like to see us work for the stability of the area.”
Junior Nikki Therrien, president of QU Democrats, opposes the war.
“I remember the day that we actually declared war there was a huge pit in my stomach,” Therrien said. “Obviously, I’m still against it now.”
Most people who were interviewed said the United States should keep fighting in Iraq.
“I think it’s our responsibility to get them back up on their feet again,” Therrien said. She wants American politicians to engage in diplomatic interaction with Iraqi leaders and to avoid the deployment of more American troops.
Freshman broadcast journalism major Scott Scheahen presented his own solution. “Pull the U.S. troops to the border to prevent other countries from getting involved and then phase out U.S. troops with U.N. troops,” he said.
Students have varying opinions as to how future generations of Americans will judge President George W. Bush’s policies on Iraq.
“We should wait about 20 to 25 years to look back on this war,” Feldstein said.
Fay agreed that it would take many years to judge Bush. He drew comparisons to President Harry S. Truman, whose popularity diminished after he involved the United States in the Korean War, but is remembered by many people as an effective president.
“I think history may look upon President Bush very favorably for the Iraq War and not necessarily in spite of it,” Fay said.
Fox emphasized that historians can look at common facts and draw very different conclusions, and that therefore future opinions of Bush among experts would likely differ from person to person.
Therrien was more definitive in her assessment of what people in the future will think of Bush. “I think he’s going to have a lot of critics for a long time,” she said.