What do other teens think about the U.S. taking action against Iraq?
PHOTO GALLERY: Rallying for peace

By Brynn Holland, 18, Cleveland HS
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When I think about a war with Iraq, the first thing that comes to my mind is the 48% of Iraqis who are younger than 18. How many of them will die? The second thing that disturbs me is hearing radio interviews with young foot soldiers who are so ready to go and kill. Look what this conflict is doing to the young people of our world. We are being trained to kill and be killed.

I have always been against war, but I have never had one touch so close to home. One of the main reasons that I am against this war is because I have not been given any good reasons, nor shown any evidence, that supports an invasion of Iraq. Here are the reasons I have heard and my responses to them:

Getting rid of Saddam Hussein will benefit the people of Iraq.

• The numbers of deaths from the Gulf War of 1991 were extremely high. Beth Daponte, a research professor at Carnegie Mellon University, estimated that there were 114,500 Iraqi civilian deaths directly or indirectly caused by the Gulf War. It seems reasonable to expect that such deaths will be high this time too. The war will make it difficult for Iraqis to get the basic necessities like food, water and medical care.

• Does the United States actually have a plan for Iraq after the invasion? The U.S. has yet to show anyone official plans as to what they plan on doing with Iraq once they get rid of Saddam.

• After we left Afghanistan, we promised to help restore the freedoms of the Afghani people, but reconstruction efforts have not gone as planned. John Sifton, an Afghanistan expert at the Human Rights Watch in New York said, "The truth is there is still widespread lawlessness and insecurity." Human Rights Watch has also reported that men may no longer teach women or girls, schools are being resegregated, women are being forced to wear burkas and many have been subjected to forced ‘chastity examinations.’

• Hussein is a horrible leader, oppressive to his people who remain too fearful to speak out against his government. But will the post-Hussein regime be any better?

Saddam Hussein is a threat to the world. He invaded Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990.

• He may be a threat, but right now I have not seen any evidence that he is planning to attack other nations.

• Even if he is a threat, will this war eliminate that threat? We invaded Afghanistan trying to get rid of Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden is still alive and active, so what guarantees that Saddam Hussein will be taken out of power?

Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and is hiding them. In Colin Powell’s address to the United Nations he cited satellite photos, intercepted conversations and other intelligence to show that Hussein’s administration is deliberately defying inspectors.

• This might be true, but it has not been proven. United Nations chief arms inspector, Hans Blix, told the United Nations Security Council that he "has not found any such weapons." With regard to whether or not Iraq has been uncooperative, Blix told Time magazine, "Is non-delivery of documents that they deny having noncooperation? They deny they have these documents, and [others] say they are not giving the documents. Well, I don’t have evidence that they have them."

Iraq is harboring and supporting terrorists.

• Colin Powell says that an important Al Qaeda figure is operating a base in Baghdad coordinating "a movement of people, money, and supplies into and throughout Iraq." However, the Los Angeles Times reported that other U.S. officials have said the evidence of the link is "largely circumstantial or subject to interpretation."

• We don’t know for sure if there is any connection between Hussein and 9/11.

It will be a quick war. The Gulf War lasted only 42 days.

• Deputy defense secretary Paul Wolfowitz told the House Budget Committee, "we have no idea what we will need until we get there on the ground," adding that it was impossible to predict accurately the war’s duration or cost.

• President Lyndon B. Johnson promised that the Vietnam war would be quick and it lasted more than a decade.

• Iraq has a population of 22 million people; many will die whether or not it is quick.

• I don’t want my friends going to fight in ANY war, no matter how long.

This is a just war. President Bush said, "we will fight in a just cause and by just means."

• There are many different ideas as to the real motives behind this war, including Bush’s desire to be re-elected, U.S. interest in controlling oil supplies and a personal vendetta because Hussein attempted to assassinate Bush’s father.