The international community and the population of the United States stands divided on the subject of a seemingly imminent war with Iraq. Anti-war activists contend that waging war without exhausting diplomatic alternatives is irresponsible and suspicious.
War is probably the most destructive act in which mankind engages. All diplomatic solutions should be exhausted before war is considered, unless there is an immediate threat.
Thousands of civilians perished during the Persian Gulf War. The loss of life warrants extreme caution in dealing with these matters. The burden to prove that a threat exists would lie with the United States government. The United States has not adequately made its case for war. The mere possibility of weapons of mass destruction does not provide ample reason to invade another country.
Weapons inspectors should be given more freedom to investigate the situation fully. If banned weapons are found, other alternatives such as sanctions and trade restrictions should be implemented.
The rest of the world feels intimidated by and resents our aggression. Other nations think the United States is bullying them into conformity with U.S. objectives. France, Russia and Germany strongly oppose war. They have even submitted proposals providing a peaceful resolution and disarmament carried out by weapons inspectors.
The apparent disregard of the opinions of other nations by the United States has angered many world leaders. France has even called on the nations of Europe (specifically nations seeking admittance into the European Union) to stand together to oppose war.
The United States appears to merely have an interest in controlling oil in the Middle East.
In the Gulf War, the United States, faced with Iraq's possibly gaining a monopoly on Middle Eastern oil, launched an effort to contain Saddam Hussein's aggression. But, Iraq has not even demonstrated any such aggression of late.
If weapons of mass destruction were the issue at hand, would not the nuclear program adopted by North Korea prove more significant and pressing than only the possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
So far, the inspectors only have found missiles exceeding the 90-mile limit to illustrate Iraqi defiance.
On a more self-serving note, war with Iraq should be avoided to help the U.S. economy. Expenses as high as $1 trillion cannot be healthy for our government, which is also spending large amounts of money on select tax cuts. While the U.S. oil industry stands to make fortunes untold because of the lack of Middle Eastern competitors, consumers will ultimately suffer, which we can see now with high gas prices.
One can almost find it humorous that in order to force Iraq's compliance with U.N. resolutions, the United States has claimed it will ignore U.N. resolutions and go to war. Our blatant lack of regard to the feeling or opinions of the rest of the world should be unsettling. American arrogance remains very apparent though we attempt to take the moral high road.
Perhaps, it is time for some of our national awareness to translate into international understanding.
Teen Board member Patrick Johnson, 16, is a junior at Augusta Preparatory Day School.