As published in the Bellingham Herald on November 20th, 2002
The drumbeat of war echoes in my mind.
Vivid memories return as birds of prey render the earth with talons of steel.
Newsreel photos of battlefields drenched in Vietnamese and American blood.
Fifty-eight thousand names of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen etched in black granite.
The legacy of Vietnam has not ended as the human cost of Vietnam continues to escalate in the minds and hearts of those who participated.
The American people are urged to support a first-strike war against Iraq without any clear and convincing evidence that Iraq is a significant threat to the United States. Iraq has used chemical weapons against its own citizens. Fear that Iraq has developed nuclear and biological weapons for use against our citizens is used to justify such a war.
North Korea has announced that it has developed a nuclear weapon. It also represents a significant threat to the United States. Will we invade them after the war in Iraq is finished?
When does the use of power to dominate those who disagree with U.S. policy end? When our servicemen return home from Iraq, will we honor them? Who will help rehabilitate them back to civilian life?
America's fire power can be used to destroy our enemies with devastating results. We must exercise that power responsibly.
Iraq has offered to allow weapons inspectors. If Iraq fulfills this offer without restrictions then the drums of war should cease. if Iraq fails to honor this commitment then war may be inevitable.
Sheila L. Richardson