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Fighting the real enemy


By Jack M. Silverstein and Jack Silverstein



What would you fight for? \nThe question has been posed to me by teachers and I have asked myself many times. Fighting is usually not an option for me because it is against my nature and I am small, skinny and not tough. But if my freedom or my life was attacked, I would defend myself. \nOur country has not been put in a position since World War II in which we had to defend ourselves, but we are faced with one now. The perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks are ready and able to wage war against us, and they can win. \nAs much as I hate to say it, I am beginning to come around on the prospect of war as a reasonable response to the attacks. Growing up, the first war I heard about was Vietnam, and listening to my parents and my parents' records, helped form my anti-war views. If the Vietnam War began today, I would still be against it. \nIn Vietnam, we were fighting an idea, but now we are faced with a situation that attacks our freedom and our lives -- the two rights for which I would fight. My hold-up still lies in the possibility of killing innocent people. I give my full respects and prayer to those who were killed in the attacks, but just because innocent Americans died does not give us the right to kill innocent people in Afghanistan. \nFor the past month, the IDS has been filled with columns and letters addressing the Sept. 11 attacks. I have enjoyed the different viewpoints, both those with which I agree and those with which I don't. But I am disappointed in the amount of anger that I have seen toward one another. \nLetters that attack other people's responses do more harm than good, because they lose focus of the real issues: helping those directly attacked and ending terrorism. One letter that chastised the verbal protesters went so far as to call them "anti-American traitors." \nDisagreeing with someone's ideas is acceptable and understandable, and stating why you disagree helps us better understand one another as humans. But because this is such a new situation, I don't think anyone is in a position to judge the validity of anyone else's response. For those who feel war is the proper course of action, I understand, even though I don't completely agree. At this point, I am against the war because I am not yet convinced it is our only option, although I am quickly reaching that point.\nIt is possible that President George W. Bush was right to react with war, because terrorists are not going to sit down in a boardroom and discuss the problem. I have been struggling with the question of the correct response since I first heard about the attacks. It is true that signholders will have no effect on the terrorists, but attacking them won't do anything either. This is not a time to judge one another as Americans; it is a time to listen and to understand. After all, if we are going to war, we have a better chance of defeating one opponent than we do of defeating two.

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