United Nations inspectors in Iraq recently discovered 11 chemical warheads that werent included in the list of weapons Iraq provided in December.
White House spokesman Ari Fleischer contends, Saddam Hussein has the obligation to disarm (though) it is becoming increasingly clear that he is not doing so.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has been quoted as saying that Iraq has failed to cooperate by not giving weapons inspectors open access to its arsenals (or) adequate documentation of its arms programs.
Even as seven warships from the 3rd Fleet leave San Diego, and two helicopter carriers set off from North Carolina, with 150,000 troops expected to converge in the Gulf region over the next few weeks, anti-war demonstrators rally at the Capitol and all over the world.
No one wants our nation to go to war less than I do. The very thought of more bloodshed, more devastation, more hatred, makes me sick at heart.
Beyond the obvious reasons why anyone with a modicum of common sense would dread a fight, I have especial cause for anxiety. My oldest son will soon turn 17. The realization that a year from now this child Ive nurtured and fretted over and loved all this time could be handed a gun and sent to face people who seem to glory in killing and destruction is almost beyond my comprehension.
He doesnt like anybodys cooking but mine; hes used to a queen-size bed with clean sheets every week, and a long, hot shower, sometimes twice a day. Hes still a big, goofy, slew-footed bear cub, delighting in laughing at half of what his parents say, and rolling his eyes at the rest. And although I watch in amazement as his mind develops and changes everyday, hes undoubtedly about 5 zillion miles from maturity.
Then I look at the teen-age boys I teach, many just now basking in the glow of having passed their drivers test, still snickering over infantile innuendoes and horseplaying in the halls. To imagine these moppets called up in a crisis is mind-boggling.
But in those same English classes, weve studied, among others, Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine, our forefathers who faced circumstances no less terrifying than ours when they tried to break free from Britains suffocating oppression.
In his plea to the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1775, Henry pleaded, We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth... (but) my feet are guided... by the lamp of experience... . What has there been... for the last 10 years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves... Is it that insidious smile? Trust it not; it will prove a snare to your feet... . What means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us into submission... Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not already been exhausted? We have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on.
For me, it is impossible not to see the parallels. Hussein is as defiant as our 18th century nemesis, King George III; he believes we upstart Americans need to be taught a lesson. Hes shown us what he is; we should believe him.
I understand there are those who will insist I dont know what horrors lie ahead, but, unfortunately, Im pretty sure I do. Thats what makes it so dreadfully difficult for me to suggest the possibility that we may have to fight to keep what we esteem so highly, our freedom and our way of life, for I have no burning desire to add my precious childs name to the list of veterans even in my own family: my father, seriously wounded in World War II, or my husband, babysitting bombs in the 60s. These are times that try mens - and mothers- souls.
Id sooner be dismembered with a dull knife than send my son off to attack a world of corruption and cruelty. But if I am the patriot, the Christian, I claim to be, I cannot exemplify the summer soldier or sunshine patriot Paine so despised, and I must believe Henrys words that millions of people armed in such a country as we possess are invincible by any force which our enemy can send us; there is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations....
Doing the right thing is sometimes the hardest choice of all.
(Mindy Jeffers is a Martinez resident. E-mail comments to email@example.com.)
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