Story last updated at 4:43 p.m. Thursday, October 17, 2002

War is not the answer
Last year about this time, I wrote to President Bush, encouraging him to be brave, not to make the mistakes his father did and to strive for a peaceful outcome to the violent events leading up to Sept. 11 last year. Well, he didn't listen. He didn't even answer. In fact, no one in that whole big White House even acknowledged my letter. This makes me feel like he's going to do whatever he wants, no matter what I think. Maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you feel trapped -- either you're with him or you're against him. There ain't no third way.

But if America is about anything, in my mind, it is about that third way. It's about the freedom to think on your own feet, to sort through what's being said and not said, to discover what you believe in. America is about governing through open and reasoned debate. And that is fueled by freedom of speech and not by oil, foreign or domestic.

Do you have any idea how much oil has been used to date in the campaign against terrorism? I know I sure don't, but a tremendous amount of jet fuel is being burned right and left, not to mention boat gas and petrol for the cars. Where is it all coming from? Who's selling it? Bush, Cheney, Blair, Putin and Saddam, just to mention a few. Too true, our planes flying sorties over Afghanistan and northern Iraq are fueled in part at Saddam's gas station.

Let me get right down to it. I think the President has gone nuts. I think he's fixated on who's got the greasy black stuff and who doesn't. I think he can't stand the fact that someone as nasty as Saddam is sitting in the middle of an oil patch. Isn't oil just for good people? Well, obviously not. Anybody who can drill it, can it and ship it, can sell it. Why? Demand -- we have become increasingly reliant on the stuff. But we don't need to be. That's where the freedom to think comes in. Good old Yankee ingenuity and all that. Conserve. Implement alternatives. Break the link between patriotism and slurping.

I wish the President and his buddies would quit sniffing gas. If they did, maybe they could see what's obvious. If you want to hurt someone like Saddam, quit buying his grease. As we all know, in politics only naked people have less clout than poor ones. How much of a threat to the world is a broke dictator? But now the President is hell-bent on a Texas-sized fight in Iraq. His reasons are much less clear than in the case of Afghanistan and they are by comparison only weakly supported. But he's still going to do it. More jet fuel. More terror. More hatred, instability and hardship (and I'm just talking about here in the U.S.).

Consider for a moment the hardships you will face due to this war. Between 200 and 300 billion dollars will come out of your pockets. Lives will be lost. Right and wrong will be blurred. You will be submitted to an endless and tasteless media barrage concerning the war. You will be reluctant to travel abroad. The price of gas will go up. Your spirit will go down. Servicemen and women will forget what the purported cause of the war is and will instead simply begin to think despondently about going back home. What else? Well, you get the idea.

Is this mass expenditure of resources worth it? I don't think so. So what's to be done about it. Protest. Walk. Car pool. Pedal your bike. Save.

Deland Anderson