We should support our troops

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2003

When I was typing service news last week, I noticed how young these soldiers were and wondered who would be involved in the war.

I can only imagine the anxiety and tension that our service men in Iraq and their loved ones are facing each day while they are waiting to see when the Bush administration is going to give them the signal that the war is in effect. Meanwhile, President George Bush has decided to give an extension of the previous March 15 deadline in order that he may receive a majority vote from the U.N. Security Council. However, no matter what the vote is, he has decided that the war is necessary to protect the American people.

The sentiment of every soldier interviewed is to go, get it over with, and return home as soon as possible. That is my feeling also because my heart goes out to each one of them knowing what they know: that out of all of those who leave, there will be some who won’t return.

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News reports have shown more than once President Bush making that lonely walk down the red carpet to the podium and give the American people the news that he has to send their sons and daughters into battle. It was also reported recently that such a decision is the hardest one for any president to make, and that some had wept, suffered tightness in the chest, and even vomited after doing so.

As Bush was speaking, I could see how he seemed to have aged and grown slow in delivering his speech as if he wished he had better news to relate.

He probably feels alone where the U.N. Security Council is concerned because officials representing the majority, especially Russia and France, have vowed to veto any resolution approving the war. However, a new development took place earlier this week that Bush said he hopes will persuade those opposing the war will change their minds.

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is telling the United States that he is cooperating with them, and U.S. Chief Weapons Inspector Hans Blitz is agreeing with him. But it was reported Monday that Blitz failed to submit other vital information to the council, which has made Bush a little aggravated with him.

Blitz failed to report the existence of a Drone with a wingspan of 7.45 meters that has not been declared by Iraq. He said that it is not required of the Iraqis to report this weapon unless it exceeds 150 km limit, whatever that means.

White House administrators said that this is not a fact and that it should be a concern to the council.

In the meantime, a former Iraqi engineer said that one of these weapons could supply some of the chemical or biological agents on crowds anywhere in the world.

I was also surprised to learn this would be a war like no other one fought and brought to you right in your living room. Over 800 journalists were going to Iraq and put their lives in danger by reporting from the battlefront.

Now that is real nerve, and I don’t think that they are even going to be trained as thoroughly as our troops, but will be educated enough for what they will have to do.

They will be putting themselves in harm’s way and will be vaccinated for biological agents and learn how to put on gas equipment in nine seconds the same as the troops.

I was asked by a friend would I go to cover a story if the News-Herald ordered me. Well, I am not claiming to be anyone’s hero and would be shaking in my size 12 gas suit boots if I did. However, I would have to give my employer a rain check and hope that they don’t pay me my last check for refusing to go. That is why my hat goes off to these journalists because this will be a war that is not favorable at this time for many reasons.

Broadcasts have revealed that the sandstorm season in Iraq started in mid February and will last through April causing zero visibility. It can also be really bad in the summer months. From that same broadcast I heard that it took one soldier three hours to find his way from his tent to the mess hall and that temperatures can rise as high as 120 causing heat strokes to soldiers and their boots to melt. But the good news is that our troops are trained to take the heat, and that there is aviation equipment to fight through the sandstorms.

Even though most of the news on the war is grim indeed, it soon follows with a positive statement. The positive ones will hopefully get us all through a war that we wish that we could avoid.

Many still oppose the war and a poll of the American people taken on a news report on ABC Channel 13 on Tuesday indicated that 59 percent supported the war and 35 percent opposed it.

Those who opposed should look at this fact: On Sept. 11, 2001, we had no idea that so many people would be killed. We also had no idea that so many enemies had entered this country to spy on us in order that they might destroy us. If we do nothing, the same thing can happen again; that’s why Bush thinks it is important to destroy those dangerous weapons.

When our troops do go into battle, I hope that they get the support they need from the U.N. Security Council and especially from the American people.

Nothing is more distressing than for these troops to be in a war that no one wants, especially since it is for your rights and your pursuit of happiness for which they are fighting. For as long as there are other countries that hate us for being a super power we must never let our guard down, because if we do there will never be any world peace.

Evelyn Wall is a reporter and regular columnist for the News-Herald.