The Iraq war has gone on for too long

Five years later, we are still at war.

March 19 marked the fifth anniversary of the United States’ military involvement in Iraq.

Since going to war in early 2003, support for the war has waned, and the protests of young Americans — Carnegie Mellon students included — have been increasingly ignored.

With an approval rating of a mere 34 percent, President Bush pushes onward in Iraq, where, apart from a rising death toll of American troops, Iraqi civilians are unfairly wounded and killed. In fact, as presidential hopeful Barack Obama noted in a speech given in Oakland last Friday, there have been more civilian casualties in Iraq than in the Civil War, World War I, or World War II.

This marker of the fifth anniversary of the war roughly coincides with the amount of American troops lost reaching 4000, which occurred last Monday.

The Iraq war has gone on for too long. Too many young Americans have died, and for dishonest reasons on the part of our nation’s administration. If we’re fighting for oil, President Bush and his administration should say so honestly — and then make an exit strategy and pull our soldiers out of Iraq.

A counterargument to withdrawing is that doing so might put soldiers’ deaths — and the billions of dollars spent on the war — in vain. Moreover, this would happen while not protecting Americans from terrorism, as originally promised. However, the resources going toward the war could instead be used to solve problems on our own soil — especially since it’s unlikely that we are able to establish democracy in Iraq in just five, or even 10, years.

This harrowed anniversary does indeed have a bearing on the upcoming primary and presidential elections. While we will not tell you explicitly who to vote for — we want students to make their own informed, individual decisions on the candidates lined up for the 2008 election — we hope that whoever is elected makes decisions that represent the views of the American people. If a large majority of Americans (including ourselves) appear to be against continuing this war — and not in support of the leader who initiated it — then we as a country should no longer sacrifice our young men and women, and should instead end a war based more on the economy than on principles of democracy.

When does the voice of the American people become more important than the salvaging of a politician’s ego?