The most interesting take on today's excitement I've seen or read came from science fiction/horror writer Stephen King in Entertainment Weekly Magazine, who compares the primary race and the accompanying media frenzy to a reality TV show. Indeed, American voters seem to be on the edge of their seats today, waiting for the final elimination with rapt attention.
But in all the excitement and frenzy, let's not forget what is really important. The next President of the United States will hold not only the future of our country in his or her hands, but also the lives of millions of Iraqis who have lost their homes and loved ones, suffered untold trauma, and been forced to flee for their lives. The next President will have to decide how much to invest in military solutions, and/or economic and humanitarian ones in order to bring peace and stability to Iraq.
EPIC does not endorse candidates. But we have summarized the Iraq positions of the leading Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, which we gleaned from their respective websites. The leading Republican candidates, Mitt Romney and John McCain, seem to be following President Bush's lead in not addressing Iraq's humanitarian needs.
We have no doubt that all the candidates are honorable individuals who value human life and want to do the right thing. But why aren't they talking about refugees, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and U.S. obligations to provide humanitarian assistance and protection? Acknowledging and offering a plan to address Iraq’s humanitarian crisis ought to be part of every candidate’s platform on Iraq, and ought to have come up often in speeches and debates. It’s in the best interest of Iraqis, Americans (especially in helping to restore our standing in the region), and international security.
Stephen King points out that "American voters seem to have realized that once they go into the voting booth and pull the curtain closed, they're on their own. No cameras, no celebs, no immunity challenges. Only them and the lever." If you are voting today, don't forget, when the curtain closes, that your vote will have impact not only across this country, but across the world. Please don't forget that with that lever, you may hold the lives of millions of Iraqis in your hands.