THE BLOG
06/01/2007 06:27 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Democratic Presidential Candidates: What Is More Important Than A Debate On Iraq?

The most important issue in the 2008 presidential campaign is Iraq.

The most pressing topic for the United States today is the war in Iraq.

The cost of the war in terms of lives lost by American soldiers, Iraqi citizens and dollars spent is staggering.

The loss of American prestige around the world because of our lengthy involvement in Iraq is without precedent in our history.

The chaos, confusion and destruction taking place in Iraq that we watch on our TV sets on a daily basis is hard to comprehend and difficult to watch.

What are 150,000 American troops doing in Iraq? What is their mission and objective?

What is the overall objective of the Bush Administration in Iraq?

Will the "surge" amount to anything and will it help bring down the violence in Baghdad?

Why hasn't the war been properly managed?

Why was our intelligence so wrong about the WMD's before the war began?

Why can't the U.S. win this war?

How and when do we get out of this war?

The questions about Iraq are endless. The questions need to be answered by the candidates who are running for the White House. The candidates of both parties need to let us know exactly what he or she will do when they make it to the White House.

There is nothing more important in the 2008 presidential campaign than debating and discussing the war in Iraq and how to successfully end American involvement in the conflict.

The candidates of both parties continue to stress the importance of discussing Iraq. Therefore, I am more than a little surprised that the Democratic presidential candidates have not all positively responded to our Center on Politics and Foreign Relations at Johns Hopkins SAIS and the Financial Times invitation to debate the issue of only Iraq for 90 minutes.

We are offering the candidates ample time to express their views, opinions and plans for Iraq on June 6th in Washington, D.C. at Johns Hopkins SAIS.

Senator Joe Biden, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been the first Democratic presidential candidate to respond positively that he will be a participant in our debate.

We are waiting to hear from the other candidates and wonder what could be more important than debating their fellow rivals for the White House on Iraq.

Hopefully, they are not sitting out our debate because they do not have the answers to solving the issue of American involvement in Iraq.

Hopefully, the candidates are not sitting out our debate because they do not have a comprehensive foreign policy plan for the Middle East and the war on terrorism.

Hopefully, the candidates are not having to spend most of their time fundraising (obviously a key factor in running for the presidency) and not spending enough time concentrating on the key issues of the campaign.

Hopefully, the candidates realize in 2008 the American public deserves answers to our most important issue of the day: Iraq.

And, hopefully the candidates know that this is a golden opportunity to speak to the American voter at a debate put on by one of the country's leading graduate schools in international relations and one of the top financial newspapers in the world.

I assume all the campaigns are incredibly busy and are in the process of responding. Having worked on presidential campaigns in the past I know how hectic they can be.

I hope all of the Democratic presidential candidates will participate in our June 6th debate on Iraq.

We will have a number of experts-journalists, academics and diplomats- asking them questions on Iraq.

I look forward to favorable responses from all of the candidates because one wonders what is more important than a debate only on the topic of Iraq for 90 minutes.