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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.

Okay, weíre a little depressed. As I walked the short isle to our regular seat here at the Eatemup, I could hear small snatches of conversations. "Thought it would be over by now." "I think the President is doing as well as could be expected." "How many troops do we have in Iraq?" "I understand itís the supply line thatís holding things up."

It seems almost everyone you talk to will eventually get around to the war in Iraq. So far almost everyone seems to be in favor of forcing Saddam to relinquish his dictatorship. Everyone agrees he is an evil, evil man and has surrounded himself with evil people.

I guess the biggest gripe with folks who think we should not be in Iraq is they believe we have no business as a country telling another government how to treat their citizens. Several of these folks brought up how our government has behaved toward its own citizens. Mostly they used the IRS as an example of heavy handedness.

I suppose there could be a little bit of truth to that statement, but itís a far cry from chopping off heads, cutting out tongues, and gassing villages of people. We can say almost anything we want about most of our politicians; without fear of reprisal. The only thing I can think of is that we cannot make a direct threat on the life of the president. That will get you in bunches of trouble.

As I slide in next to Eddie, he gives me a rather disgruntled look and says something I can only make out as, "Itís about time." Eddie is not the most subtle man in the world. For him most situations are black and white with very little shades of grey. He believes a person should be held responsible for their own actions and situations they get themselves into, and quit blaming everyone and everything for their problems.

"Whatís the matter Eddie?" I asked. "You canít be any more upset about Iraq than anyone else. Weíre all concerned about our troops involved in combat and want them all to come home again. You being grouchy sure isnít going to help any."

"I know," he answered. "I just think of the times I was in combat and how scared I was, but I knew who the enemy was and who to shoot at. They didnít act or dress like civilians, they didnít dress in our uniforms, and they sure didnít hide behind women and children. This business about waving a white flag of surrender and then firing on our troops when they get close just drives me nuts."

"Youíre right of course," I responded. "But donít you think our guys are getting a little battle wise? After a bit you know they wonít trust any one who tries to surrender, and I think thatís a tragedy. I would hate to see anyone who really wanted to surrender be killed because of the way someone else acted."

"Obviously," snorted Eddie. "You can just bet that if an Iraqi soldier wants to surrender, and he gets shot because a young trooper thought there was something suspicious it would be plastered all over the news about the brutality of the American military. Thatís where my frustration comes in. Theyíre dammed if they do and killed if they donít. Theyíve got to protect themselves and their buddies from being killed by someone who is unwilling to abide by the Geneva Convention."

"I donít think anybody is going to argue with that," I responded. "They just need some time and experience. Remember, most of those folks over there have never been in combat, and I donít care how many war games theyíve played itís never the same in the real thing."

"I know, but donít cha love their spirit and can do attitude?" asked Eddie. "I canít believe all those TV interviews are staged for our benefit. All of them, the enlisted, officers, the infantry, and the pilots all seem to have such a gung-ho spirit. Every once in a while I wish that I was young enough to get into the operation."

"Címon Eddie," I said. "Donít you think youíre a little long in the tooth to want to go into such a difficult situation?"

Eddie looked at me for a moment and said, "Long in the tooth? You do realize these are all false, and I can make them as long or as short as I want." Peace.

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

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   Last Update:  September 17, 2003