War in the mind of a 16-year old

posted by Jeff | Monday, March 24, 2003, 2:04 PM | comments: 0

I was chatting with one of my volleyball kids today about the war, to see what she was thinking right now. She's very for the war, and like most Americans, wants it over quickly.

What's so interesting is the reasons behind her support. Here's what she said:

im sick of being scared of Saddam cause i have been scared of him since i was little during the gulf war cause my uncle was there. and i don want to be scared of him or have Saddam kill anymore of his people anymore. i dont want Saddam around or any of his sons ruling when i grow up either.

I thought that was fair enough, and makes sense. So I asked her what it was about Saddam that worried her.

im scared there will more terrorist attacks that could come from him and the gas weapons. if he can kill his people in a snap... y cant he kill me?

Again... rational response. I asked if she saw a difference between the likes of Al Qaeda and Saddam's dictatorship.

i think Al qaeda is much worse on the terrorist thing but i still think that Saddam has big ties to them.

When I asked why she thought there were ties, she couldn't answer. There's the fundamental problem that I have with public opinion.

The Bush administration has made its justification for war on loosely tied accusations and emotional issues. Sadly, I think that the bulk of Americans have bought into it. In my own inventory of issues, I can determine that the following are true.

  • Saddam is a very bad man.
  • Saddam would own the Middle East if he could.
  • Saddam would build nuclear weapons if he could.

OK, got that. So far, we could probably say the same thing about Fidel Castro in Cuba. We haven't invaded Cuba.

The following are loose ends, or things we've not been able to prove.

  • Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. This was the key justification for war, and as of last week, there was no concrete proof yet.
  • Saddam has ties to terrorists. That has to be the single biggest stretch we've seen. Come on... that guy is all about control and power. Terrorists are far too independent for the likes of that. These statements were made because if you're pissed off about 9/11 (and really, who isn't?), you've got your case.
  • Saddam violates the human rights of his own people. Yeah, no question that's true, but why is he so different? What about Rwanda, or the former Yugoslavia? It's not like we jumped into those areas to help out. It has been estimated that Rwanda suffered genocide on the order of a million people.

At this point, there's no turning back. I accept that. I hope we don't lose anymore people, and I hope that civilians are spared, and left with a country to call home. I just want it over, and I hope that the justification is found in the outcome, since it wasn't found before hand.

As an aside, it looks like "Salam Pax" from Baghdad is back online, and he's living in a very scary place. Check out his blog.


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