The biggest issue facing our government today is the war in Iraq. Even though the war could possibly be over before a new president takes office, the hopeful presidential candidates will still have to address the issue. If the war continues, the candidates will still have to address topics such as military operations, troop levels, and military spending. We wanted to take a look at the war, it's timeline, how the presidential candidates feel about the war and how Americans feel about it. We also took a look at Bush's war policy versus American policy. The last issue we focused on is the language of war.
The Languge of War
There has been some debate about setting a date for troop withdrawal. Democrats are pushing for a timeline while Republicans are trying to come up with guidelines. How can they be using two different words for the same thing? Technically these two words are very different. Timeline suggests a date and time for events that have or will occur. When you put something on a timeline it is suppose to happen on that date, if you know ahead of time. A guideline suggests an outline where the time and dates are subject to change. Why is the President unwilling to make this timeline, or the even more fluid guideline? That is up to you to decide why, but keep in mind words are chosen wisely.
Has anybody wondered what "Victory" means in this war? We keep hearing from the White House that we need to see this war through until victory is achieved. The problem with that is nobody has clearly defined the term and that is a problem because it contains different meaning to different people.
- March 19, 2003 bush launches invasion of Iraq.
- April 16,2003 bush sign 79 million supplemental spending bill
- February 3, 2006, bush request additional 70 billion for Iraq & Afghanistan, 120 billion totals for 2006.
- November 6, 2003 87 billion bill into law.
- March 21, 2006 says some U.S. troops will remain in Iraq at least until 2009.
- Question= will there ever be a day when will remain in Iraq at least until 2009.
- Answer= that, of course is an objective, and that will be decided by future President and future government of Iraq. 3/22/06.
- August 19, 2006 1,249 days since.
- August, 12 2006, Bush – were not leaving Iraq so long as I’m president.
- December 19, 06, white house promoting a plan to send 15 to 30 thousands more troops.
- January 2, 07 for the first time, more troops disapprove of the presidents handling of the war then approve of it.
- January 2, 07, Bush- request another 100 billion for Iraq for 2007. 99.7 billion And 145 billion for 2008 year, that’s on top of the approval of 80 billion for current year by congress, to a total of 170 billion.
- Feb 16, 07, house opposes escalation by a vote of 246 to 182, house of representatives passes a resolution opposing bush escalation in Iraq policy.
- Feb 21, 07, Tony Blair announces a timetable for the withdrawal of u.k. troops from Iraq.
- March 2, 07, Pentagon announces 7000 more troops will be sent to Iraq.
- March 8, 07 Democrats leaders planned own bill with binding legislation that required a withdrawal by august 16, 08 at the least. At the same time, senate democrat prepare own bill, withdrawal no less than 120 days after the legislation is enacted with the goal of redeployment by March 31, 2007. 
- Congress has passed 4 billion for Iraq which tops 505 spent and approved billions and in process of approving a “bridge fund” for 45.3 billion to cover operations until another supplemental spending perks can be passed.
- August 05, the congressional badger office established that the cost of continuing the war in Iraq and Afghanistan at current levels would double the projected federal budget deficit over the next 10 years. According to current estimate, during that time the cost of the Iraq war could exceed 700 billion.
The 2008 Presidential Candidate Hopefuls and Iraq
Here is a New York Times website that shows the top eight Democratic presidential nominees and the top nine Republican nominees. It quotes each nominee in 2002 when the war began, a quote on how they feel about troop increase, and finally a quote on troop withdrawal. The point is to get a feel of how each candidate feels about the war in Iraq. It does not give their entire view but it does show how they felt a couple years ago compared to in 2007.
Republican Candidates on the War
Senator McCain has supported the war throughout the entire process and has said continually that more troops are needed for victory. Somehow McCain is good at saying something without saying it. He is very ambiguous about his view on the war. He is pro-war yet criticizes the
Bush administration for poor planning. But is senator McCain now doubting the war efforts? In a GOPAC dinner he discusses the war while at the same time doubts victory. McCain said the following:
"Americans are tired of Iraq because they are not convinced we can still win there without an intolerable loss of additional lives and resources. I understand that. But in no other time are we more morally obliged to speak the truth to our country, as we best see it, than in a time of war. So, let me say this, without additional combat forces we will not win this war. We can, perhaps, attempt to mitigate somewhat the terrible consequences of our defeat, but even that is an uncertain prospect. We don’t have adequate forces in Iraq to clear and hold insurgent strongholds; to provide security for rebuilding local institutions and economies; to arrest sectarian violence in Baghdad and disarm Sunni and Shia militias; to train the Iraqi Army, and to embed American personnel in weak, and often corrupt Iraqi police units. We need to do all these things if we are to succeed. And we will need more troops to do them."
This has been a man riding the September 11th popularity. He was shown on television as the strong leader there when his people were attacked. Is he a man we want to put into office? Here is what Rudy said less than a month after the attack on New York.
"You are either with civilization or with terrorism,” he said in a speech before the start of a weeklong General Assembly debate on terrorism. “This is not a time for further study or vague directives,” he insisted. “Look at that destruction, that massive, senseless, cruel loss of human life, and then I ask you to look in your hearts and recognize that there is no room for neutrality on the issue of terrorism."
Both candidates use strong, powerful language. Guiliani gives you a choice, with civilization or with terrorism. The voter knows that with either of these two candidates we are getting pro-war, defeat the terrorists kind of President. Both are pro troop increase and might continue the war if elected. They are both set on "victory" even though we are not sure what that means.
The Republican nominees in the upcoming 2008 Presidential Election find themselves on shaky ground concerning the War in Iraq. Every Republican nominee supported the idea for War in its early stages. After 4 years of occupation and lack of progress the Republican candidates are now forced to make a decision. Support an unpopular war and stand by there vote or admit that they were wrong and call for an end to the War. Interestingly the leading candidates running for the Republican nomination all still support the War. Only a few dark horses who show signs of support oppose the war.
Republican Dark Horses:
Republican Senator Nebraska
Sen. Hagel is serving in his second term as Senator. He sits on the Foreign Relations; Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs; Intelligence and Rules committees. FACT: He was awarded two purple hearts in the Vietnam War. 
"We should start figuring out how we get out of there, "but with this understanding, we cannot leave a vacuum that further destabilizes the Middle East. I think our involvement there has destabilized the Middle East. And the longer we stay there, I think the further destabilization will occur." 
“More U.S. troops is not the solution. We're past that stage now because now we are locked into a bogged-down problem not unsimilar, dissimilar to where we were in Vietnam. The longer we stay, the more problems we're going to have." 
Republican Senator Kansas
Sen. Brownback has served a term in the House of Represenatives and is currently serving his second term as Senator for the State of Kansas. He sits on the Appropriations, Judiciary, and Joint Economic Committees. FACT: He was the youngest Secretary of Agriculture in Kansas history.
“I do not believe that sending more troops to Iraq is the answer. Iraq requires a political rather than a military solution. In the last two days, I have met with Prime Minister Maliki, with two deputy presidents and the president of the Kurdish region. I came away from these meetings convinced that the United States should not increase its involvement until Sunnis and Shi'a are more willing to cooperate with each other instead of shooting at each other.”
Democratic Candidates on the War
The Illinois senator is a longtime critic of the war, elected to the Senate after the conflict began. In a recent speech, Obama called for a "gradual and substantial" reduction of US forces.
Source: People's Daily (China), "Contenders views on the war" Nov 23, 2006
"Our troops have performed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war," Obama said. "That's why I have introduced a plan to not only stop the escalation of this war, but begin a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and reduce the violence."
"It's time for a policy that can bring a responsible end to this war and bring our troops home."
America's leaders — all of us — need to accept the responsibility we each carry for how we got to this place. More than 2,000 Americans have lost their lives in this war, and more than 150,000 are fighting there today. They and their families deserve honesty from our country's leaders. And they also deserve a clear plan for a way out.
"I came back from Iraq more determined then ever to stop the President's escalation of troops into Iraq, and to start the long overdue redeployment of troops out of Iraq," Senator Clinton said.
"We went in there to end the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction," Clark said. "None have been found. We went in there to liberate the Iraqi people. Instead, we are occupying them. What I see is a mess."
The Gravel Agenda: When elected President by the American people, I will:
Commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal from Iraq;
Pew Research Center: "Solid Majority" http://www.people-press.org
Yahoo! News: "Bush, Democrats clash over Iraq war funding" http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20070410/pl_nm/iraq_usa_funding_dc