U.S. Should Slow Its March To War

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As I watch the buildup of American troops in the Middle East and feel the winds of war blowing out of Washington, I have mixed emotions about what seems like a race to bloodshed. As a veteran of the United States military, I have deep feelings for our country and an undaunted desire to protect freedom. But I also cherish life.

When I look in the face of any soldier protecting his or her country, whether they're Middle Eastern or America, I see more than a person with a gun -- I see someone's son or daughter. Therein lies the struggle for me.

As a father of two young men who are of draft age, I have reservations about hastily lighting a fuse under what could prove to be the kindling that ignites a major world war. Will I be sending my sons out to die for a cause that is unclear? This distressing question will echo in the minds and hearts of parents from around the world as they watch their children being thrust into harm's way.

The Middle East region has always been volatile and Saddam Hussein is clearly an evil tyrant. His actions create more instability and are a significant threat to peace and freedom. There is no doubt he is dangerous and must be removed from power if there is any hope of stabilizing the region and planning a better future for the Iraqi people. But choosing the best time and way to accomplish this is a burden our leaders must bear.

My confidence in the push for war would be much stronger if the threat of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction were more obvious and eminent to us, and rest of the world.

Better still would be the possibility that Saddam's own people would revolt against him and halt the bloodshed altogether.

It is my hope that we can slow our march to war. Let's keep Saddam under the world's microscope and give the UN weapons inspectors more time. Let them clearly expose the reasons why we may have to send our children to kill someone else's children.

Richard Haddad, publisher

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