I am writing in reference to a letter recently posted in The Reader entitled "Will War Make Us Safer?" by Cathy Bolkcom. (See Issue 411, February 5-11, 2003.) Ms. Bolkcom, have you been stuck in a box in someone's basement for the last 60 years? Or do you not bother to check facts before you spout off random opinions to look smart? As an American citizen, you have the right of speech and the right to voice your opinion. But it is my belief as well as the belief of many others that you should at least know what you're talking about before opening your mouth. For instance, your belief that the U.S. had never attacked a country that had not directly attacked us first is very, very wrong. What do you call Korea? Or Vietnam? Or the Gulf War? Were you in coma during all this? Because last time I checked, we were not directly attacked first. Granted our country has a knack for sticking its nose in everyone else's business, but only to help them in the end.

However, I do agree with your statement that the international community does not altogether support us going to war. But then again, who got attacked on 9-11? Not France, Not Germany. Us! Just because we choose to help other countries in need does not mean they have to return the favor, whatever their reasons may be.

Oh yeah, you think that this is just about one man? Just about Saddam Hussein? Perhaps you weren't listening when they announced that he's hiding enough biological warheads to put a nice big dent in U.S. population. If it was just "one man," we wouldn't be sending 250,000 troops to bring him down. You make it sound as if our national security is so incompetent that we have to send a quarter of a million soldiers to disarm "one man."

Speaking of these 250,000-plus men and women, they have all taken an oath to protect, defend, and possibly die for this country. But that is their choice. You ask any of their family members and you will get the same response: "We may be scared, but we are so very proud."

Those men and women in uniform know the consequences. They will gladly put their lives on the line to give you a better quality of life.

Now as far as the al-Qaeda is concerned, it's proven that Saddam Hussein is backing them. He had provided bin Laden with numerous warheads. So if you think about it, Saddam Hussein is a big part of this war against terrorism. When this all started, President Bush stated that "you're either with us, or against us." Iraq had chosen the latter, and it will be dealt with accordingly.

My advice to you, Ms. Bolkcom of LeClaire, is to get your facts straight.

Tanisha Deuth
Rock Island

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