The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Old Will Lead Us to War; The Young Will Fall

In order to pay soaring college tuition, people take different routes. A close friend of mine enlisted in the Navy ROTC. After months of training, he is about to be commissioned as an ensign, and within six more months he will be sufficiently prepared for war.

During his high school career, Matt was editor-in-chief of the yearbook, a standout on the tennis team and a constant participant in any volunteer activity. This carefree student has now been faced with the realization of war.

“War is terrible,” Matt said when I asked him about President Bush’s speech. “It’s easy for people to say yes to war when they aren’t doing the fighting.”

Iraq may be a very big problem, but the American people need to ask themselves a few questions that may not come to mind.

Why would a dictator, who has squelched Islamic fundamentalists for years, give weapons of any type to the same groups he has tried to push out of his country? The assertion that Saddam Hussein has links to Al Qaeda has yet to be supported by any evidence.

Also, who could possibly replace Saddam Hussein? There are no recognized leaders sympathetic to the United States who could be considered strong enough to keep Iraq together. Even if Iraq held a democratic election without Saddam’s Baath party, the majority of the population would most likely elect a Shiite ruler. The Iraqi Shiites do not support U.S. ideals, which isn’t a terrible thing unless they establish their own fundamentalist theocracy.

Even if the new president was a Kurd, nothing prevents him from being as bad as Saddam Hussein. Even if he was a perfect leader in the eyes of the United States, the Iraqi Shiites in the south would definitely be displeased, and matters would only get worse if the Shiite theocracy of neighboring Iran became involved.

Iraq is a beehive, the closer we get the more it will hurt. If it falls, it will hurt the neighbors more than anything else. The potential for large scale, worldwide war is present in today’s situation.

We can beat Iraq without a draft. However, can we deal with an uproar in the entire Middle East without one? The answer is no. First the standing army will go, then the reserves, then new enlistments, and then a draft. Friends I have known since childhood will be thrust into hell on earth.

Matt will go and I will go, your son will go, your brother or boyfriend will all go, but will we be less safe as a country and as a society if we do not? President Bush must answer this question and convince America that we truly need to go to war. As of today, some people might be convinced, but most college-age males in America are not.

My alma mater, Chaminade High School, has a wonderful tradition. The Gold Star Mass, held every year, honors those graduates that have died in the service of their country. Most of these men passed during the Second World War, and a few during the Vietnam War.

The other night I had a dream that I was present at this mass, and the names of my friends were being read. If this possibility is not frightening, I do not know what is.

War has the ability to crush men and to alter an entire generation of people. This is not something we should enter into lightly, especially with such limited information. A clear-cut solution has not presented itself, however that does not mean we should plunge ourselves into conflict.

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