War Isn't Inevitable
September 16, 2001

When my brother was 4 years old, he had to get 4 stitches in the back of his head.

I was 9 at the time, curled up on the sofa with my blanket, watching Saturday morning cartoons. Richie came up to me and demanded the blanket. I said no. He started pulling on it. Soon we were both pulling it back and forth with all of our strength. I saw him getting ready to give it one huge tug, and when he did, I let go. Richie flew back and hit his head on the corner of the bookshelf.

When I let go of the blanket, I had planned for him to fall back. Maybe even hurt his bum a little. Then I was going to snatch it back and stick my tongue out. It had not been my intention to break his head open, but that didn’t stop my mom from telling me how mean I was for the next two years of my life or for making me pay half of the hospital bill.

The point is, children don’t always realize the consequences of their actions, nor do they think them out in a rational, logical manner, especially when provoked. Unfortunately, the US government is the same way.

That may seem like a rash statement to make, but given that Bush is preparing troops and calling the bombings that happened on September 11th, 2000, an “Act of War,” I don’t think it’s an unreasonable statement. Especially knowing that by calling it an act of war, he invokes the power to use the military without Congress' approval. Those words are very serious.

Anger is a natural reaction to vulnerability. Literally thousands of workers, tourists, moms, dads, kids, grandparents, and students lost their lives in the terrorist attack. They were not soldiers or symbols of democracy. They were normal people living their daily routine of going to work, or on vacation, or flying home. If they were all killed in a time period of less than 3 hours, all at their jobs or on planes in US airspace, that means no one is safe.

If we send troops in, to some nation where the terrorists are from—even if the nation itself had nothing to do with the attack—we’ll only lose more American lives, not to mention civilians of other nations. Do you think that will upset the terrorists? What they wanted was to fling American into a state of chaos and fear. Why let them have their way?

I’m not suggesting that we turn the other cheek and pretend this never happened. If we don’t do something to the people guilty of the attacks, it will only make terrorists feel they can do this sort of thing with immunity. We need to bring the perpetrators to justice.

I had never seen so many US flags, even on the 4th of July. I had never seen people burst into tears just from hearing the song “Proud to Be an American.” And, before now, I had never felt so strongly about our nation. Seeing the people come together during this tragedy is awe-inspiring. If we can do that, if we can stand together and look into the face of terrorism, and wave our flags, then we will be sticking our tongues out and saying, “See, you can’t destroy us.”

If we go to war, we are only doing what they wanted us to do. Killing more people, perpetuating more hate. What killed those people wasn’t stray jet liners, explosions, or falling buildings. What killed them was hate. Let’s not let it get anyone else.