Vicious character attacks, self-glorification and accusations of false military records from both sides have reduced the 2004 election to a session of fierce mudslinging that has stalemated the real political issues. Somebody had to make a valid move, but was Bush’s troop-withdrawal announcement a genuine, and much-needed decision made for the improvement of the U.S.’s future, or just a sly political attempt to defend the Democrats’ accusations that he destroyed the U.S.’s reputation abroad through reckless military behavior and “unilateral action”? There is no doubt that a slew of international newspaper articles announcing that “Bush Withdraws Troops” may seem to soften the nationalist, war-hawk reputation that the president currently holds abroad. However, while looking more closely at the situation, the odds seem to be against him. His plan is extremely vague and has already been met with fear and criticism from the countries which will be directly affected, only a few of which were named. And, despite its soft undertones which could be appealing to critics of the War on Iraq, it has been attacked by pacifists abroad for being nothing but a crafty ploy to bring troops home from less strategic countries in order to be able to redistribute them to more hot-spot areas. Of course, Kerry responded right on cue by attacking this as a bad move in South Korea as we are in the middle of negotiations with North Korea. In the end, it is unclear whether this is a tactical political move or an authentic attempt at national improvement despite its suspicious timing and unpredicted outcomes. Either way, the ambiguity of the plan will probably hinder it from achieving success with regards to either one of these goals, and will just add another hazy issue for the candidates to squabble about as we, the citizens, hear less and less about strong, backed-up stances and more and more about petty issues like supposedly false military records.

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