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as reported by Paul Hillis

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time and phone number.

We’ve been hashing and rehashing the armed conflict in Iraq. Most of the folks here in the Eatemup know someone involved with Operation Iraqi Freedom or know someone who has a relative that has been deployed there.

"I still think this will be a quick war," said LeRoy. "I’ve watched all the news channels, and from what most commentators are saying, it shouldn’t last too long. Say we’re just too big and too well equipped."

"Well, you must not be watching the same channels I do," answered Tiny. "I’m not sure how long it may last. One person will say it will be a quick war, and the next expert will say it could be long and drawn out. One says we won’t have many casualties then someone else will predict there may be many. Half the time I don’t know what to think or believe."

"I know it’s causing a lot of concern around the world, and as I understand it this is the first time the United States has ever declared war and then actually attacked another country without real overt provocation," declared LeRoy. He was so proud of the term ‘overt provocation.’

It was evident both LeRoy and Tiny were very concerned about this conflict and its outcome. As most of us are. It’s very difficult to be neutral in a situation where young men and women of several countries are willing to put themselves in a position for possible harm.

"Why do these people do what they do Eddie?" asked LeRoy. "It doesn’t seem natural. I know I’m glad we weren’t at war when I was in the service. I don’t know if I could have done what our military are doing now."

"Well, in one sense you’re right LeRoy," answered Eddie. "It takes a great deal of training to instill the courage for a person to run toward danger when their instinct for self preservation says ‘Don’t. Stay here. Stay down.’ None of us know how we will re-act in combat until we’ve been there."

Eddie continued, "You see so many young military personnel telling us how they’re ready and will do what ever it takes to get the job done. Their adrenalin is pumping, their hearts are beating, and their confidence is as high as it’s ever been or going to be. Then bullets begin whizzing by your head, bombs and mortars are falling all around throwing up dirt, and debris, and causing deafening shock waves. Then your friends begin to die. And you watch them die. You hold them as they die. And all that ‘my country do or die,’ or ‘my country, love or leave it,’ goes out the window. All you want to do is live, and that’s when you do what ever it takes. Whatever is needed to stay alive so you’re able to return home to be a normal person again."

"I agree," I said. "There’s just not any glory in combat. When you encounter the enemy up close and see the fear in his eyes, you realize he’s looking at the fear in your eyes. Both of you are humans locked in a battle of survival. Were it were not for these circumstances and you were passing on the street you probably wouldn’t pay any attention to each other. But here and now one of you must die so the other may live."

"But don’t you think that your country has to go to war sometimes?" Tiny wanted to know. "I just feel that there are some situations that are unacceptable and you either tolerate them or do any and every thing possible to make a change."

"Yeah, I think that’s true," responded LeRoy. "But I just hate the thought of war. So many times there are no real winners or no real losers. Except for a lot of people who died were innocent of the overall cause or the war. Like the war we’re in now."

"You know you’re partially right," answered Eddie. "A war is normally a bad thing. It’s a lousy way for two countries to settle their differences. But there is a big difference between a war and a battle. In war there are many battles. The more battles, the more deaths there will be on each side."

Then Eddie said, "For the good of us all, I hope to God this is going to be a battle and not a war. If we can get by with one battle, it will be a blessing." Peace.

To talk to Eddie, Tiny, or LeRoy E-mail: 

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   Last Update:  April 04, 2003