Staff Editorial: Sizing up the election issues

As the 2008 presidential election draws near, there are issues that demand serious study from voters before they cast their ballots. The Hatchet’s editorial board has focused on specific areas central to college student life that warrant examination before the primaries and November election.

Change the debate on Iraq

In the hottest debates leading up to this year’s presidential election, Iraq sits front and center, demanding serious attention from our candidates. As a result, candidates from both parties have been pressured to offer overly simplistic alternatives to the widely unpopular policy enacted by the current administration.

Such options do a disservice to American voters, as they fail to provide realistic plans to rectify what many believe to be the greatest foreign policy failure of our time. While the presidential contenders are offering solutions that vary between increasing deployment to systematically withdrawing troops according to a timetable, neither option addresses the issue at the heart of this debate. A favorable candidate must answer – what exactly are we fighting for?

In addressing this question, politicians must overcome the natural desire to preach rhetoric and instead commit themselves to restructuring the Iraq debate. Regardless of a candidate’s military experience or the time they may have spent as the first lady, they likely have not comprehensively briefed by military leaders. They do not fully realize the pressures and restrictions that may constrain their eventual actions in office. And they cannot guarantee that the policies they preach today will be enforceable the morning after Inauguration Day.

Instead of speaking about specific policies, this page believes that the campaigns should focus on redefining the goals of this war. In doing so, the candidates are likely to take one of two positions: honor the initial objective of establishing long-term peace and security, or instead to prioritize American lives and leave the region in the quickest way possible.

The current debate on Iraq centers on the failure of the Bush administration. While his policies may have led America into an ill-conceived war, it is now time to right the policy by redefining the course. Instead of campaigning on sound bytes, it is time for candidates to provide a feasible solution.

Environmental priority a must in both parties

At no other time has concern about the state of the earth been so prevalent or on the minds of so many. In Foggy Bottom, GW students and administrators are trying to find ways to make our own University more eco-friendly for today and the next generation of Colonials.

Yet many are waiting for a president to tackle the environmental problems of not only the United States, but the world, head on. The next elected leader must acknowledge the ever-increasing environmental problems across the globe and human involvement in such problems. This consideration should offer definite plans as to how the U.S. will reduce its environmental impact while increasing energy independence.

Regardless of partisan affiliation, immediate environmentally conscious action will have positive effects, ranging from the basics of protecting wildlife for the next generations to upping the demand for new energy technologies. Such a call for ground-breaking technologies will need American ingenuity to see advances in wind, solar, nuclear and hydro-power technologies.

But more importantly, accomplishing such goals will aid American independence from controversial, and oftentimes dangerous, countries that hold the world’s oil reserves in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. These lofty goals cannot happen overnight. The next president must put the tools in place swiftly and concretely for noticeable progress to occur.

The U.S. also must become a player on the international stage, cooperating with and encouraging other nations to face the realities of the state of the environment today. Having never signed the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. remains an outsider at odds with many other nations in how to systematically approach environmental problems, the effects of which will fall to our generation. Such cooperation will not be possible immediately or without compromise, endeavors the U.S. must undertake in good faith.

Concern for the environment must be bi-partisan. It is essential that an ideal candidate recognizes the impact of the environment on the American way of life, whether Republican or Democrat.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.