Originally created 03/04/03

War may keep catastrophe from happening in future



If you turn on the news or open a newspaper today, you'll find people saying "Don't start a fight," "Just leave them alone," "Nothing will happen," "We're Americans; we want to be safe!"

People said the exact same thing 64 years ago. In 1939, people said things like "We don't want war" and "That's all the way across the ocean."

Two years and thousands of deaths later, Pearl Harbor happened and America woke up. But maybe if we had awakened earlier we could have saved some of those lives and even more of our own troops.

It's true that hindsight is 20/20. We couldn't see then what Adolph Hitler was doing as clearly as we see it now. But if we don't learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.

We have no excuses if Saddam Hussein starts building huge concentration camps. He already persecutes Jews, Christians, women and anyone who thinks differently than he does. Why are we being so timid? What is it going to take? Do they have to kill thousands before we will take action?

People want a smoking gun before we move. Just take the gun away so he can't pull the trigger. Albert Einstein said, "The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

Having said that, I don't think the United States should be able to force our ideas on anyone we please just because we feel like it. I think we should be cautious and not jump in headfirst. But we may be averting a huge catastrophe further down the road.

I'm not condemning those who want to protest peacefully or who think the war is a bad idea. But if we stand by and wait for something catastrophic to happen, then we'll complain that nothing was done to stop it.

Are there bigger issues? A big deal has been made about North Korea. One thing at a time. I worry more about a guy that keeps his military power a secret than one who flaunts it.

We sing songs, have holidays and hold parades for those who have fallen in past wars. We wouldn't be free today if it weren't for them. But if WE have to make any sort of sacrifice, we suddenly get quiet.

Right now we want safety at any cost. Even if we do get it, it will be temporary, and the cost down the road may be more than we want to pay. Years from now, teens like us will look back and see a nation with a choice. What will their history be?

Teen Board member Melanie Killingsworth, 16, is a home-schooled junior.