Rational Idealism This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Before 2001, the biggestheadlines were about sex scandals, computer antitrusts, and drilling for oil inwildlife refuges. Now it's orange-level terrorism alerts, advice to purchase ducttape, and troops in the Persian Gulf. These days are tense and emotional, filledwith hyperbole and fear. All this makes it much harder to thinkrationally.

We are in a time of important choices with unknownconsequences. There is rhetoric from both sides; that Bush is the next Hitler,that protestors are anti-American. If we become divided, deceived and lost in theillusions created by such extreme standpoints, we will all pay a terribleprice.

There are many arguments that work in favor of peace, as well asfor war. Peace seems like a good choice, and it would have set a wonderfulprecedent if a peaceful solution had been found. Beyond the ideologies of peace,money is a factor. The economic status of this administration isn't thatimpressive, and to have a war without worldwide investment may be crippling inmany ways.

There is also a level of hypocrisy. We go to Iraq bearingfreedom and democracy by fighting a war that much of the world opposes. I don'tknow if the majority is right, but a democracy is where the people decide.

There are political reasons too. Why Iraq? What about Osama? There areother dictators out there besides Saddam, and evil is by no means limited to theMiddle East. Saddam is reported to have chemical or biological weapons of massdestruction, but has done nothing with them for 12 years. The Clintonadministration sliced and diced our military budget, had its anti-terrorism billsrejected, and was too timid to track down Osama bin Laden. If ever there were aperfect time for Saddam to attack, surely then would have been verysuitable.

Nevertheless, there are some valid reasons for this war. Despitethe fact that we supported and financed Hussein for years, and that the talk ofweapons sounds rather rhetorical, his status as a dictator is certain. He'stortured and murdered his citizens, gassed thousands of Kurds, and committedother crimes against humanity. Someone like this has to be apprehended sooner orlater, so why wait? While it is unproven that he is connected with bin Laden,Saddam has made his nation of Iraq into the powder keg of our times. It couldeasily be a lawless zone of terrorists, made up generally of those united byhatred of America.

There are the inevitable costs of war: thepossibility of further chaos being unleashed, and most of all, lives. This is,however, a very noble cause, and worth the risk. One of my main problems withgovernment spending is that our military funding is beyond excessive, but on theother hand, it means our military is the most modern and advanced. If wesuccessfully take out Saddam and restore balance in Iraq, the United States willgain admiration in the world.

The ideology of peace versus war is a majorissue as well. In recent years, the West has pretty much lived in a time ofsitcoms and creature comforts, molding a generation where many steer away fromdarker clouds and consider war an absolute last resort. Thus, it is far easier toprotest war in favor of peace. But it is unfair to paint a picture of the pro-warviews as war-mongering. While there are some with a bloodlust for revenge of9/11, and while Bush's obsessive, Lone-Ranger attitude make his reasons for warseem faulty, I still think the majority hold the best intentions. I put my faithin the fact that this war is truly a last resort.

There will always beroom to disagree, emotions will still run high, and people will still maintaintheir ideologies on how mankind should go about life. I encourage this, butlikewise encourage the pursuit of the rational truth. Make your decisions free ofpartisanship; let facts and logic triumph. People should truly have a say, and ifthe people are informed and educated, far greater things will come from that thenmob-like masses that preach the extremes of either side. Through logicalreasoning, sometimes compromise and facts, the true answer will emerge, and wewill be better for it.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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