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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

Despite Marshall Thompson, we need to stay in Iraq

By Andrea Edmunds

October 19, 2006 | Logan native and Utah State University graduate Marshall Thompson wants U.S. out of the war.

And he puts up a pretty good argument. Thompson is a reservist in the U.S. Army and he's been in Iraq as a journalist for the Army, so it seems like he would have a pretty good idea of what's going on over there.

His argument is that the Iraqi insurgents are attacking American soldiers, so if the U.S. started pulling troops out -- one battalion every month -- then the violence would slow down. Basically, fewer Americans in Iraq equals fewer targets in Iraq.

Another aspect of his argument is that the radicals are only attacking the U.S. on the supply routes, so, again, with fewer Americans needing supplies it logically follows that there would not be as many opportunities for the insurgents to kill our neighbors, friends and family members.

Thompson, with a voice and manner that makes even those that disagree with him listen to his arguments, spoke to a journalism class at U.S.U about a month ago and told a story about the most recent elections in Iraq. The U.S. troops in the area Thompson was in at the time were gearing down for war. He said they were pretty sure that all heck would break loose during the elections so they were on high alert. But the whole week, nothing happened.

About a month later Thompson had a chance to talk to an Iraqi who had some connections with the radical terrorists. When Thompson asked him why nothing happened that week, the Iraqi said it was because the rebels had decided to give voting a try.

It was at that point that Thompson decided to come home and do everything he could to get the American troops out of Iraq.

What makes him different from the average military guy that comes home and says that the troops know why they are over there? Thompson said it was because the average army guy stays around his base and doesn't travel around the whole country much. Thompson was different because he was journalist. He was able to travel around the whole country and talk to many different people. He said he's not the only one who feels the Americans should be coming home.

Thompson has good ideas, and this would be great if it was just the Americans that we had to worry about. But it isn't.

I hate seeing Americans die as much as anyone. War is ugly and I wish that it could end, but I hate to see the Iraqi people being murdered too.

Only a few weeks ago there was a story on the news about terrorists that built apartment complexes for the Iraqis. Once the families moved in, the terrorists detonated the bombs that had been built into the walls -- killing every family in the complex.

Is it fair that we can live over here in relative comfort while mass killing is taking place in another country? We have the resources and power to bring some semblance of help to that part of the world. If we pulled out now, or if we even followed Thompson's plan for pulling out slowly, who's to say that the terrorists wouldn't sit back and wait for U.S. to leave then kill as many Kurds or Shiites as possible?

John Zechlin, a student at USU who spent a year in Iraq with the Army, said if the U.S. troops pulled out, insurgents would quickly take over the bases occupied by the Iraqi national guard. Or, without the U.S. screening process, the insurgents would be able to infiltrate the Iraqi national guard and would destroy it from within. Within a few weeks, he said, the entire Iraqi police force would probably be killed.

Thompson's plan could be a good one, and it should be evaluated by the president and maybe some form of it can be put into effect in Iraq, but I don't think now is the time to start backing out. Terrorists from around the globe are setting up shop in Iraq. Osama bin Laden has called Iraq his new front for terrorism. If we left now, it would create a power vacuum that would lead to something much worse than Saddam Hussein.

At this point, staying in Iraq doesn't have anything to do with whether or not Bush lied to get us into the war. It doesn't have to do with which politician is trying to push their political agenda.

Zechlin said the U.S. is really doing some good over there, helping the Iraqi people. When Zechlin arrived in Iraq, he went to Ramadi. He said the violence there was ridiculous, there was almost no police force and the people living there hated them. But, after a year there, Zechlin said they left a sizable Iraqi police force, there were fewer attacks and the people of Ramadi were more willing to help the troops. This shows that the U.S. is really doing something good there. Zechlin said he was there helping people and that everything he did was doing a lot of good. When he hears about someone like Marshall Thompson saying the U.S. shouldn't be over there, Zechlin said it hurts him to hear those words.

We need to wait. We need to make sure that Iraq can get everything under control by themselves before we start pulling out.

One thing that is really interesting to me is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been looked upon as one of the greatest presidents in the history of the United States. However, when he was running for his final term as president, his political opponents also accused him of lying to get the United States into World War II. It makes me wonder what the sentiment will be about President Bush sixty years down the road.

It really all depends on whether or not we stay in Iraq. And at this point, despite what Thompson says, it'll be worse in the long run for both Americans and Iraqis if we pull out now.


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