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: Laura Stietz
Lives: Sidney, New York
Works: Law student
In 10 words or less:
"Definite Republican, mother, George Bush supporter, politics and law enthusiast"
The United States and the Bush Administration handled the handover with great caution and success.
The US did the right thing by going to war with Iraq.
We have freed a nation that for many years has been under the powers of a horrible man. Maybe now Iraq can remain free and move onto bigger and better things.
America should be proud of our president, and we should feel fortunate that we have such a strong leader.
The war will affect the outcome of the elections, but I believe that outcome will be in President Bush's favour.
If he does not get re-elected the country will be in big trouble.
We need him to continue to lead our country in the war on terror. I feel safer now that Mr Bush has taken such strong precautions in the fight against terror.
I believe this is going to be a long war, but ultimately one that we are going to win.
Unfortunately our men are dying, but I guess that is the price of war.
My heart goes out to those families but they should feel proud of their sons or daughters for what they have done for another country.
A lot of people are against the war and I do not know why.
Our leader is doing everything he can to protect us and by some of our citizens going out and protesting against the war, it just makes the morale of our troops even lower.
Mr Bush went in and got the job done. A job that should have been done a long time ago and he was the only one who had the guts to do it.
I stand for everything that Mr Bush stands for. I believe he will defeat John Kerry and be a wonderful president for the next four years.
From BBCArabic.com: I share the same opinion and feelings as Laura. President Bush has to be re-elected to finish his mission. Americans should be proud of their president. I wish he was our president with his courage, and that's what I am expecting.
Suaad, Baghdad, Iraq
From BBCArabic.com: You said that you will prevail in the end. I will tell you this a thousand times: no, victory is for Islam even if all the armies on this planet attacked Muslims (this is simply what every Muslim believes in).
Sami, Aden, Yemen
The rest of the world has always hated America because of fear and jealousy? Give me a break. We were not hated until this administration turned the rest of the world against us.
Christine O' Meally, Milwaukee, USA
Bush went into Iraq to demonstrate how powerful America was at the time, and to safeguard oil supplies. If the matter had been about the Iraqi people's plight under Saddam, the US should have just got rid of Saddam and a few other government thugs.
Benson Magaba, Harare, Zimbabwe
The gap between Laura's characterisation of this war versus reality is absolutely stunning. Does she not hear the news of the daily carnage in Iraq which destroys the lives of our young people and innocent Iraqis alike? How can she ignore the fact that the original premises justifying this war (WMD and Iraq's alleged ties to Mr Bin Laden) have been proven absolutely false?!
Brian Randol, San Diego, California, USA
I agree and disagree. I agree the world will be a safer place once stability and prosperity in that region of the world is established - something that could not be done while Saddam was in power. Islamic extremists are responsible for the attacks on America and whether directly or indirectly Iraq was able to support this. By getting rid of a dictator and establishing democracy they have taken a step in the right direction and in the future threats from the region will diminish because of our actions today. Bush is looking at the long term effects of a stable democratic Middle East and I can't believe so many people are so short sighted.
I agree with Laura. As an American, there seems to be a great number of people who seem to think the world hates us more now than before. The rest of the world has always hated America. Why? Fear and jealousy. I'm sorry the rest of the world can't keep up with our standard of living; perhaps it's because we take in the best (and sometimes the worst) people that the rest of the world has to offer and give them a better chance of succeeding on their own merits than anywhere else.
J Scarano, Tampa, USA
Ms Stietz is entitled to her opinion, regardless of how misinformed. Sadly, many Americans see the power of our military and assume that it is used for the protection of the common American. These are the same misguided Americans who think Bush tax cuts are to their benefit. The reality is the people who truly benefit from war are the contractors who hold the Bush administration in their back pocket. And those affected by the tax cuts have to buy their children books and other supplies because our public schools are being squeezed by funding cuts. Perhaps Ms Stietz and Americans of her ilk would justify uneducated children as the price of a strong military.
John Campanario, New York City, NY, USA
Has anybody ever questioned how Europe's policies affect the world? You judge us, but often doing nothing is not the correct moral choice. I have never seen any such debate on, say, the UK's influence on other countries. Why not go to the Sudan and ask the people there what they think of Europeans? They may not think of you at all and that's just the way you like it. I would hate to have to live with my security provided by Europe.
Debbie Curnes, USA
It is interesting that Laura appears to believe that the invasion was justified because "we have freed a nation that for many years has been under the powers of a horrible man", which was not one of the two now discredited reasons (WMD and links to terrorism) given at the time. It would be interesting to know if Laura feels that the US should invade, say, Zimbabwe - another "nation that for many years has been under the powers of a horrible man".
Mike Leaning, Newport, Gwent, UK
How can you feel safer when all Bush has done is make the rest of the world hate America and what it stands for? I don't mean any disrespect, but I honestly don't understand how his actions have made you feel safer.
Jennie, Brighouse, UK
Laura, do you really believe this rhetoric? You obviously have no loved ones in Iraq, or you wouldn't be so willing to "pay the price" with American lives. Being Republican doesn't mean closing your eyes for the sake of party loyalty.
Danielle England, Santa Clara, California, USA
Laura, no offence but you are living in TV land. You think this war has made us safer? We as a nation are hated around the world now because of the invasion of Iraq. We are viewed as arrogant war mongers blinded by greed. All we have done now is create a breeding ground for future generations of terrorists. You mention the military families who have lost loved ones, for what? Their lives torn apart for what?
Maria Barrow, New York City, USA
I would like Laura to visit the troops in Iraq and the families of the soldiers that have lost their lives and then say "unfortunately our men are dying and I guess this is the price of war". I do not think these words should be uttered as this is Bush's war, an unjust war. He has made the whole world unsafe due to his lack of diplomacy. I cannot understand how any educated American can ignore the facts and nature of this war.
A Mendon, Bombay, India