The Dartmouth Review 10.31.2008 Volume 28, Issue 5.pdf
October 31, 2008 The Dartmouth Review Page
Burns Lectures on Future of Iraq
the situation in Iraq has stabilized remarkably over the past Burns said; years upon years of intimidation from Saddam
Hussein’s regime all but preclude honest responses from the
On October 21, Pulitzer prize winning New York Times
London Bureau Chief, John Burns, delivered a talk entitled cost America greatly in both money and lives of
hough Burns’ view of Iraq was positive, his
“Five Years in Iraq: Which Way Home?” Burns is visiting Americans and Iraqis, but he was “astonished”
assessment of Afghanistan was disquieting.
Dartmouth with the Montgomery Fellows program, which by the change that has occurred there recently.
He cited evidence that violence in Iraq is down
brings distinguished individuals to the College.
This year, the program brought lecturers who were roughly 70% and violence in and around Baghdad
offering perspectives of America in 2008. Among the other is down roughly 80%. He gave much of the credit for this public. Instead, Burns advised looking at significant events,
featured Fellows were Joan Didion and former CENTCOM turnaround to General David Petraeus, who helped retool such as the removal of blast walls between neighborhoods
the American army into what Burns believes is now the and the countrywide support of the Iraqi soccer team as
Commander General John Abizaid.
indicators of progress.
Burns came to campus to share his experiences in Iraq. greatest counter-insurgency force in history.
Burns called into quesFor several decades,
tion several popular asBurns has been toursumptions, namely the
ing the most war-torn
idea that American interregions of the world,
vention against despotic
acting as a witness and
regimes is, in fact, unscribe for the benefit of
New York Times read He also defended the
weapons of mass destruc
Burns gave an evention intelligence debacle,
handed account of Iraq
claiming that Saddam
and Afghanistan. Burns’
would have resumed the
amiable demeanor, wild
production of these weapcurly gray coif, and
ons if he had been capable.
Burns unabashedly deperfectly balanced the
fended the use of Ameriheavy subject matter
can forces as peacekeepers
that he was discussing.
in the world, believing that
As a seasoned rethis nation’s armed forces
porter who has been
are a vital instrument of
stationed in some of the
most dangerous locales,
Though Burns’ view of
including the former
Iraq was positive, his asYugoslavia, China, Afsessment of Afghanistan
ghanistan, and most
was disquieting. Burns
recently Iraq, Burns
believes that the recent
was able to deliver
violence indicates that that
his assessment of U.S.
country is heading toward
an era of violence similar to
in the Middle East
the one that afflicted Iraq
and Central Asia with
before the surge.
Unless greater numbers
Burns was stationed
of troops are deployed to
in Iraq since before the
Afghanistan, he argued,
onset of war in 2003.
—John Burns lecturing at Filene on Iraq, Afghanistan—
situation will continue
He has been witness to
He made a
the developments on
He also credited the surge, which up to this point has bold prediction that in the next election cycle, large crowds
the ground there for quite some time, and observed that
been a success. Still, Burns was quick to point out that will be protesting the war in Afghanistan in front of the
General Casey, the former Commanding White House.
in Iraq, was not the failure that many
Whether or not that will be the case, it appears that much
iolence in Iraq is down roughly 70% and violence General
have accused him of being. A lot of “luck” work still needs to be done in that region before American
in and around Baghdad is down roughly 80%.
had to do with the recent improvements in armed forces can begin to return home in significant numIraq, Burns said, something that was sorely bers.
missing in years prior.
Burns’ talk gave a hopeful yet sobering snapshot of the
Burns also provided some insight into how to accurately situation in the Middle East. Good-natured, self-deprecating,
Mr. Sager is a senior at the College and President of
assess progress in the region.
and eccentric, Burns is a first-class reporter whose efforts
The Dartmouth Review.
“Opinion polls in countries like Iraq mean nothing,” will go down in the annals of history.
By: Weston R. Sager
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