Courtney Jones, wearing ball shorts and a T-shirt, flops on her bed that overlooks the basketball court outside Columbia Hall.Her dorm room is the same as others except everything is impeccably neat and in order.She’s about to go to the gym and waits impatiently for her roommate.She checks her voice mail and then slams her phone shut.
“I have a cousin who’s in Iraq and my friend’s boyfriend is in Iraq,” Jones said. “She talks to him like once every few months.One of my best friends just got deployed.Each individual went into this war but they don’t know what they’re fighting for.McCain portrays both sides of the argument of staying in or out of the war.But he does not propose a plan on how to end this war, and he doesn’t say any details.”
Jones is a Democrat, and so are her parents and close friends.Like many Democrats, Jones dislikes John McCain’s stance on the war in Iraq.McCain believes to protect peace and long-term security is to create a democratic state in Iraq that poses no threat to its neighbors.American soldiers should come home when Iraqi forces can keep their country safe.
Jones agrees with Barack Obama’s position on the war in Iraq.From the beginning, Jones and her family were against the war, as was Obama.When Obama was just an Illinois State Senator he addressed an anti-Iraq War rally in Chicago on March 16, 2003.Since then, more than 4,000 American troops have died, more than 1.75 million men and women have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and more than 620,000 troops have completed multiple deployments.
Jones pulls her braids in a ponytail. “Barack recognizes both sides of the argument and proposes a step by step procedure on how he plans to slowly bring back soldiers to end the war.He’s neither going to leave our soldiers reckless and abandoned nor Iraq.Barack simply has more of a focused plan on how he’s going to bring our country back on its feet in terms of bringing our troops home.It’s good McCain says what’s going to happen but those are empty promises.Barack is giving us the facts, and I think that’s what we need.”
Barack promises to slowly redeploy brigades from Iraq. This process of bringing one or two brigades back per month will take 16 months.He says the war would be over by the summer of 2010, a full seven years after the war started.
Across the hall from Jones, is 18-year-oldy Erikka Bishop.Bishop’s room is messy and cluttered, like most students, but her room is a triple.Magazines sit on top of her storage bends.She sits at her desk, which is cluttered with papers, books, and dishes. “I’m a republican but that’s not the reason why I feel the way I feel.I’m not voting for McCain because he is a Republican and Obama’s a Democrat.I agree with both candidates on different issues.But I really agree with McCain when it comes to the war.”
She sits down her desk and begins to surf the Web. “My one friend just went into the military.Right after basic training, he has to go to Iraq right away.He doesn’t get to go to college and stuff.I think McCain has the best plan as of right now.I know we cannot simply get out of the war.Way too much damage has been done over there, and they can’t fix it all on their own.I think Obama’s idea of taking us out will put us right back in the position we were in.People forget that we have to think long term about how leaving the war will affect us.”
John McCain does not think troops should leave Iraq before Al Qaeda is defeated and before an Iraqi security force is operating effectively. McCain believes that Iraq’s political order is changing for the better.
Bishop continues, “I’m voting on who I agree with in terms of the war.I have always disagreed with the war, but we are already in this situation.We need more than just a quick fix.There still much more that needs to be done over there.There is no way the war will end as soon as people want it to.”
But other students such as Vanessa Tyler agree with the points of both candidates.Tyler leans up against her bed and sips from her water bottle.She’s antsy because she has a test to study for and a packed schedule.Tyler admits to not being too involved in politics.Also being in Bloomsburg, and with her schedule, it’s difficult for her to keep up with the election.She is not tied to a particular political party.She simply believes what she believes.
“I feel McCain has a point with what he saying in terms of maintaining peace.But so does Barack because our soldiers have been in Iraq for too long.And it’s just ridiculous for them to stay over there.The war doesn’t directly affect me … in a sense that I don’t have loved ones or friends in Iraq.I don’t know anyone who’s been deployed.But I do know people who have family over in Iraq … and I see the toll it takes on them.We have to do what’s best for maintaining peace in Iraq to protect our country but we also have to think of the people in our country … and everyone who is affected by the war.”
This article also appears in the Sept. 25th issue of The Voice.