US Presence in Iraq

GSC speaker: U.S. going about it the wrong way in Iraq
By Jerry Gunn

OAKWOOD - A Harvard scholar from Boston who saw Middle Eastern conflict first hand as a Pakistani policeman told Gainesville State College students Wednesday that promoting democracy provides a path to resolving violence in the region but the U.S. is going about it the wrong way in Iraq.

"You cannot go militarily occupy a land and then enforce a constitution according to your wishes which is relevant to your area or your country," Hassan Abbas said.

Abbas added that Iraq is a diverse, divided country with leadership Iraqis don't trust because they feel it is Western-influenced and not genuine.

Abbas said the U.S. should leave a small force for security in Iraq but remove its military presence.

Abbas, considered an expert on South Asia and Pakistan-Afghanistan terrorist organizations, said not to judge all Muslims by the actions of a few.

He added that Americans often view all Muslims as potential terrorists but Muslims are diverse.

"We should not paint everyone with the same brush or have stereotypes that every Muslim or every religious Muslim is a potential terrorist or a potential extremist," Abbas said.

Abbas visited GSC to speak on U.S. Relations with Islamic States and Peoples as part of the college's ongoing Colloquium Series for 2007-2008.


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