In the run up to the American presidential elections we will be asking a panel of voters - selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible across the US - to share their views on the key issues.
MEET THE PANEL
Name: Shankar Iyer
Lives: Fairfax, Virginia
Works: Business Professor
In 10 words or less: "University Professor, humanitarian, Democrat"
Is the handover of power in Iraq a positive step? Not really.
It is more akin to playing "hot potato" than a passing of the baton.
It is not a real transfer of power or authority. The US still calls all the shots, but the Iraqi puppets will be more prominently in the line of fire.
The timing has nothing to do with reaching any meaningful milestones, other than a determination to get the millstone off the Republican party's neck with the
imminent national conventions of both parties.
This is hardly "mission accomplished".
The impact of this aggression will be considerable in the election.
Americans are decent humans and know their leaders have caused loss of moral stature for their nation throughout the world.
America may be feared as a bully, but has lost respect. This action has not made America safer: it has increased the threat for us all.
From the beginning, the Bush administration has been dead wrong.
The rationale for the aggression was fabricated, with lies interwoven with more lies and half-truths.
The conduct of the aggression has been inhumane, with a callous indifference for the Iraqi lives lost.
All moral, ethical and legal considerations seem to have been set aside in this unholy war.
Come November, Bush will be voted out of office by an overwhelming majority of decent and patriotic Americans.
I am one of them who will vote for the change.
From BBCArabic.com: We thank you for your opinion, though I don't think that the policy of the two parties differ from each other. You need democracy in a country that is ruled by the arms and industrial lobbies. With regard to us, we cannot see any hope in you if you don't choose a third path.
Iraqi, Baghdad, Iraq
From BBCArabic.com: I take this opportunity to emphasise something important: we don't hate America or the Americans; we hate only the American administration and their policies. I think we have the right to do that, as it is a natural thing to hate whoever attacks and hates you.
Said Bakr, Egypt
Shankar, you've got a leader you don't like & you're going to use your vote to get rid of him. Great! But, imagine if you were stuck with Bush for a lifetime and after that could expect to be ruled by Bush's kids. That's what a generation of Iraqi's have grown up with. At least now they have a chance of making things a bit better. They wouldn't without Bush's intervention.
Peter, Nottingham, UK
Shankar's view as a "humanitarian" is somewhat limited. One of the first thing American forces did in Iraq was to free the little children from the children's prison. Although I will vote for Kerry and sent him money before the Iowa caucus, I believe President Bush did the only thing any head of state would do after 9-11 and that is get to the "root causes" of terrorism. You can not sit back and wait for the next thousand people to be killed. The world has to go after the "nut cases" and thugs who control the violence, and that, my friend, is in the Middle East. I also believe that Bush will win by a landslide in November.
Bob Kholos, Oregon, USA
Some sensible and comments from a right thinking gentleman. I agree with him 100% of what he said. It is unfortunate that a man like Bush is the president of a great country like USA. There is hardly any good man in Bush administration - it is a great misfortune for America and the world at large.
Tayeb Husain, Lund, Sweden
Thank you Shankar for such an accurate assessment of how domestic political concerns interplays with international politics. Sadly the United State's "loss of moral stature" is real and felt all over the world, not least in the Middle East (the very place that in theory should now admire the new Iraq). America deserves better leadership. It has a chance in November to begin to reclaim the moral high ground, embrace multilateralism again and become the much admired nation it used to be.
Jeremy O'Hare, London
"America may be feared as a bully, but has lost respect." This is a very good point. The Bush administration's cowboy bravado has turned off most of the world to our nation. Unfortunately, most Americans do not realize this or if they do realize this, they are unable to comprehend why. Before the war in Iraq, the U.S. was viewed negatively largely in countries in areas like the Middle East where poor foreign policy of the past 50 years have abused them (the U.S. once supported Saddam Hussein and other dictators, if not helped them come to power- see South America). Now, the U.S. is viewed negatively by nearly every country on Earth. Not because Bush decided to attack Iraq so much as because of the way he acted so cocky about it.
Mike Hart, Normal, IL
I am at odds with your 'Iraqi lives lost' comment. The difference between the people we support and the terrorists is that our people go out of their way to avoid civilian casualty whereas the people you apparently support, cheer the deaths of innocents. You liberals are an emotional bunch who let your hatred for Bush get in the way of clear, rational thinking. Good thing that your heroes, Moore and Gore will likely sink your ship with their over-the-top antics.
Johannesson, Trabuco Canyon USA
I don't understand why people say the hand over of power was a political move by the Republican Party. The handover was made sooner then Bush wanted in a move to try and gain more international support which people in the US wanted. It was France, Germany, and Russia who wanted a fast handover not Bush.
Marci, Fortworth, USA