A hard decison for the president

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 17, 2003

In the next few days, our leaders face a global dilemma unlike any ever seen before. More than a

year after the terrorist attacks killed thousands on our native soil, we are poised on the brink of war with those who may have facilitated those attacks. President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell face a gauntlet of world opinion, justice, and the desire for peace.

Despite what the critics say - no one wants war. But sometimes, as much as we hate it, war becomes inevitable. What the president has to remember - what we all have to remember - are the reasons for war.

We are not going to war for revenge. If that had been our motive, the Middle East would have been a smoking hole on September 12.

We are not going to war for oil. If that were our motive, we would not risk our alliance with one of our largest oil suppliers - Saudi Arabia - or with one of our other ois suppliers - Iraq itself.

We are not going to war because George W. Bush wants to "finish the job" that his father began 12 years ago.

We are not going to war because Sept. 11 happened - we are going to war so it will never happen again. This is what we have to remember. As the most powerful nation in the free world, we have assumed a certain amount of responsibility to that world. As a society based on Judeo-Christian principles, we have assumed an obligations to share those principles with the world - the principles of caring for each other, of loving one another.

In the name of love, we go to war?

It sounds hypocritical and it sounds like justification, trying to align our moral beliefs with our patriotic outrage, but there is validity in the argument. As long as the evil that is Saddam Hussein is allowed to exist, it will breed more evil and the world will never be free from fear. A leader who consistently uses his own people for target practice, nerve gas experiments and worse cannot be allowed to continue.

It is hard. It is hard to know that when the bombs fall on Baghdad, innocents will die. It is hard to know that our sons and daughters will face that same death a world away from home. How much harder is it for the president, the man who must order the deployment of those bombs and those troops?

Whether or not we support the war, once it begins, the president and all of our troops deserve all of our support. The stronger the support, the sooner it will

end, and the conflict can become a pathway to peace.