U’s aid to Iraq commendable

By By Jeffrey Jenkins

By Jeffrey Jenkins

The phrase “War in Iraq” evokes powerful emotions for different individuals. Liberation and patriotism come to mind for some, and for others, hatred for a debacle that has wasted U.S. dollars and lives. A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll taken between Oct. 30 and Nov. 1 showed 64 percent of Americans are opposed to the U.S. presence in Iraq. However, whether you support the conflict or not, there have been several individuals and organizations from the U that deserve respect for their efforts in assisting a country to attain the benefits of a stable democratic government.

Following the fall of Baghdad in the spring of 2003, James Mayfield, U professor emeritus of political science from the U, spent 13 months in various provinces in Iraq assisting in the development of local democratic governments.

“I was responsible for organizing the early elections of governors and city councilmen and in the training of these newly elected officials,” Mayfield said.

The U’s efforts in rebuilding a democratic Iraq continue as the S.J. Quinney College of Law announced last month that it received a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of State to institute a new judiciary system. This announcement came in spite of negative feelings for the U.S. presence in Iraq.

Chibli Mallat, a law professor who will assist in the project, said, “Whatever the misgivings about the war in Iraq, Americans and Iraqis share the belief in an independent and competent judiciary as an essential way forward for Iraq.”

“I am impressed with the government’s commitment to strengthen and establish a more independent and autonomous judiciary branch of government,” Mayfield said in regards to the law school’s project.

The ability to vote for leaders, and the assurance that your individual rights and liberties are protected by a constitution and a judiciary system are sacred. I cannot imagine living in a country without these rights that are considered basic in the United States. The support that various U faculty and organizations have given and are giving to Iraq is commendable.

Whatever your opinion on the conflict in Iraq, helping a country attain and protect the rights and liberties that are basic to us deserves your recognition and respect.

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Jeffrey Jenkins