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Volume 68, Issue 126, Friday, April 4, 2003


We are after radicals, not oil

Joel Roberts and Chris Sandford
Guest Columnists

I contemplate the dayis events that are unfolding in Iraq even as I walk by Cullen Family Plaza; so peaceful at home, but so different in the Middle East. I rationalize my thoughts and realize my generation is seeing a real war for the first time.

For the first time in U.S. history we find ourselves in a battle against forces that cannot tolerate what we stand for. We are not fighting an imperialist threat. We are facing a greater threat, an opposition that threatens to destroy democracy, capitalism and freedom itself. You may be asking how the opposition plans to destroy those ideals Americans hold so dear. The answer can be seen through the events that unfolded on 9/11.

America is not just a land; America is the heart and soul of every individual who believes in liberty and democracy.

We are not facing enslavement under a dictator; we are facing death. Many of my fellow citizens do not see this fact that is so apparent. I did not see this fact for some time myself, because I was blinded by utopian thoughts -- ideas like "this is a war for oil." You are gravely mistaken if you believe this type of rhetoric.

Like it or not, the truth is this is just one battle in a whole war against radical Islamic groups. Pretty scary stuff to contemplate, I know. I have struggled with this myself, and wish this could not be true. 

However, I realized within the past six months that I was doing the nation and myself a great injustice by lying to myself. I realized lying to myself put my own life and beliefs in the hands of our opposition. If we continue to lie to ourselves we will never fully defeat these radical Islamic groups and regimes that want us dead.

There are no diplomatic negotiations or treaties we can explore with this type of foe. These avenues only waste time. Containment is no longer an option after 9/11. We must stop lying to ourselves and use force against these groups. This is our purpose in Iraq.

You may be asking why Iraq when it has not attacked us. It is only a matter of time before that Islamic fundamentalist-led regime attacks the United States for the last time, and we wonit be around to retaliate afterwards. The only difference between Saddam Hussein's regime and the terrorists who attacked America on 9/11 is that Sadaam has access to greater weapons and resources that could wipe out tens of millions of Americans in one strike.

I urge all Americans to put aside their politics and consider the threat Iraq poses to the United States and to the rest of the world. The threat of Saddam is against our nation as a whole, not just against the people who support the war.

We have had our wake-up call, and now is the time to protect ourselves from further attacks. We cannot think that if we are neutral nothing will happen to us. I do not support the campaign against the destruction of our country and the world by terrorist groups and foreign powers that threaten our day-to-day life.

Be thankful your government realizes the threats these groups have made against us. Not many can experience the everyday freedom called life.

Roberts, a junior psychology major, and Sanford, a junior marketing major, can be reached via


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