Susan B

As tragic as the Kennedy assassination was, I never felt fearful that the world had gone mad until the deaths of ML King and Bobby Kennedy. The nightly news aired frightening scenes of napalm strikes on Vietnamese villages, bloodied soldiers lying on gurnies and rows of body bags being loaded onto air transports. The scenes at home weren't much better, with newscams covering student demonstrators being pumleted with billy clubs, while peacefully demonstrating against the establishment. Police brutality extended beyond the college campus' and revealed all its historic ugliness while opposing equality for black Americans. A byproduct of our 'hip' generation was the proliferation of the drug trade. There's a littany of insanities following the JFK assassination and I for one, am very pleased that it is behind me now. The current challenges we are facing, are world encompassing and tend to pale the tragic events which comprised the 60's. I have faith that there is more sanity in humanity than insanity.

In retrospect, those days at Empehi were bitter-sweet in its naivete.

Ron M


My feelings were similar. I do not even remember where I was when John Kennedy died. However I do remember the funeral on TV and John John saluting.

What hit me hard was when Bobby was shot and killed.....

Taffy 66

There's an interesting and poignant link between the graduation issues of the Empehi News in June 1966 and January 1967.

In June, it is announced that Sgt. John Holstein, the Empehi ROTC teacher, is on his way to Vietnam. In January, it is announced that he was killed in battle in late December. He was with the First Cavalry Airborne.

What was ROTC like at Empehi? Was it a class? Open to anybody (male)? Who took it? What military advantages or disadvantages accrued to participants? Is it still in place at MPHS? If not, when did it end?

John N 1966


I'm surprised there haven't been any other responses to this one from John Bantsolas, Andy Sauvage and several others on the board that were in ROTC at Empehi as I was. What was it like? It was a class like most others, except you wore a uniform once a week, had inspections, rank, learned to field strip an M1 and several other things. Any one (male, at the time) could join and it was an alternative to gym class. I took it for two reasons: a) it got me out of gym, and b) because my brother had.(Phil was in the class of 1962 and had ended up a cadet Colonel, the highest ranking cadet in charge of all the ROTC cadets in Chicago. Nothing like sibling rivalry. Sounds like the logic behind my degree in Physics from IIT, as well)

Advantages? I took ROTC in high school and AFROTC at IIT, at least until I told a real AF major to stuff it during one of their summer camps. I enlisted in the Army after college (draft #34 in the first lottery) and, once out of basic they made me a PFC instead of a Private because of my ROTC participation. Not much, but something in the world of the Army, and at least after the ROTC experience you were used to taking orders, even if sometimes they made no sense. Good experience for the business world, too.

Don't know if its still in place at Empehi, but I hope so. I have a couple of nephews that could use the discipline. Unfortunately, they live in San Clemente, not Chicago, and I doubt the high schools out here in CA support ROTC at all.


My first cousin, Bill Owen, whose mother's family were all MPHS grads, attended MPHS part of one year when visiting Chicago from the middle east where he grew up. He was the oldest of our generation among all the cousins. He taught at Ft. Benning for a year before being sent overseas, and died trying to save one of his men when they were ambushed. Accepted at Harvard for a joint law/MBA degree but decided to serve his country first. Twenty four years old forever. Still missed.


2LT - O1 - Army - Reserve

Length of service 0 years
His tour began on Mar 24, 1969
Casualty was on Apr 11, 1969
Body was recovered

Panel 27W - Line 58

Julie M 67

So sorry to hear about the loss of your cousin in the war! We owe him a great debt. Thanks  for sharing about him and his heroic intervention on the behalf of others. It is an inspiring story and I for one, will be forever grateful for his sacrifice!



"I'll be at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial again next week. Has anyone in your family ever done or received a "tracing" of your cousin's name? I see that he was in Vietnam only weeks when he was killed."


Hi Judy,

I think years ago someone did a tracing of Bill Owen's name. He was like a brother to us.

The Wall is certainly a moving place. All those memorials remind us of those throughout our country's years who made great sacrifice of time, resources, and life in the name of the main idea that the individual was specially made, worthy to be free to grow and do and accomplish without oppression from government.

May we be worthy!

John Wason wrote

"Thus our soldiers had no way of knowing who was an enemy combatant and who was a civilian; a kid might be carrying a concealed bomb. This led, it is said, to the killing of civilians and the burning of villages."

Craig replies - A kid could carry a grenade. You hear those stories, but I think they are mostly urban legend. I have read most books published about Vietnam, but no book has told that story, and no Vet has ever told me that story.

The Vietnamese loved their kids like any other people, and they had no desire to have their kids be killed in a suicide mission. Of course it is possible that a VC with contempt for the local villagers could have put a small child up to carrying a hand grenade.

And no one had the right to hurt civilans or destroy property.

Most of the kids seemed to love us. Most interactions were positive. Of course, the Marines were handing out c-rations and candy, so were popular with kids. And the Corpsman provided medical care.

Susan B

Muslim Hate

" Much has been written concerning 'their' hatred of us, but very little has been written as to WHY they hate us. There is always a basis for hatred. John W and I had briefly covered the WHY's. Would anyone else like to add, or detract from that reasoning?"

Craig comments

Most Islamic people don't hate us. Most of the Islamic People are decent people who are not filled with hate. Relatively few terrorists.

A significant percentage are very angry, however, for the following reasons:

We support Israel, considered by them an aggressor and interloper

We are the strongest county in the world (nobody roots for Goliath)

We are one of the richest

We are free

A significant number of us are hedonists

We have provided support to a number of regimes - if you are against the current regime, you are also against the countries that support that regime.

We throw our weight around - each cruise missile we fire is hated.

Our successful military prowess points out the weakness of the Islamic States

Having an external enemy is always good to have someone to blame for whatever is wrong.


Drop support for Israel

Convert to Islam

Suppress all sex and nudity

Withdraw from all Islamic countries


SOME of them hate the US because - in the words of some of the British
to the Yanks in early WWII -

we're over paid, oversexed, and over there.


Nan B

Jim Beck died in Vietnam.

I remember at the time of his death, there was an article in the Beverly Review about him.

I was surprised that his picture is not in our June 1966 graduating class, but I am sure he transferred in to MPHS (from one of the Catholic HS) our senior year and graduated with us. Our families were friends in grammar school, in fact he was probably my brother's best friend for a few years in grammar school. (in grammar school we called him Dick, at MP he was known as Jim. I think his name was Richard James.) Then the Becks moved and we lost touch with them.

Did any of you know Jim? NB

Jim D

Hi Dave and Nan...Richard James Beck Jr is on Panel 60E Row 8 of the Vietnam Wall in DC....You can see his picture at and read some great remembrances about him from his family and friends...He died putting down surpressing fire so his fellow soldiers could escape. " No man has greater love than to lay down his life for his brother"...

Lou M

I wasn't drafted - although I was confident that would happen. I was in college at Western Kentucky University and wanted to finish before I was drafted- so I joined the Naval Reserve. They assured me at that time that I would be able to finish school before going on active duty.   

While in the Reserves I did all that was required. of me.- Boot Camp in the summer and weekend meetings. A year after I had joined , I received  orders for active duty ! Someone had lied to me! When I inquired about finishing school-  I was told "Sorry"-- the apology smacked of insincerity- no one was sorry at all.
It gets better! - I was sent to San Francisco to await assignment. I was there for approximately 3 weeks when my orders came. At the time you didn't get formal orders right away, but rather through a teletype machine- virtually every word was abbreviated- something like the texting language of today.
I wasn't sure, but I thought my orders said that I was going to be on an RVN. Not knowing what an RVN was, I asked a Chief Petty Officer what kind of boat I was going to be on. His reply," It's not a fucking boat, you dumb ass, it's a ship and you're not on one." I said," What's this RVN?" He replied, "You're getting shore duty- Republic of Viet Nam ." I was speechless.
So, I was then sent to San Diego for survival school and on to Camp Pendelton for weapons training. Then I was sent to Viet Nam without any clue of what was to happen.
I arrived in Da Nang and had a couple of days of indoctrination and then they sent me to Naval Base.I  reported and was told to wait outside- I would be picked up.A Marine vehicle showed up for me- I had been assigned to a Marine Battalion. I wasn't a corpsman so I was pretty confused and scared. I was never given and explanation as to why  I served with the Marines- I just did as I was told- like we all did.
Forty years after returning home I developed prostate cancer from my exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam. Yet another fable they told us-" It won't hurt you" they assured us!- while the stuff killed everything.
Viet Nam - the gift that keeps on giving. For the loss of my prostate I am paid a measly $339 a month in Veteran's Benefits- a small price to pay for my loss.
I regret that I only had one prostate to give to my country!

"For Man of the Year-

Sir:  The Vietnam Veteran.  Drafted to defend a dubious cause in which he has no interest, into an Army whose officers may cheat him, to fight through a hell of swamps and heat on behalf of a corrupt government whose reluctant troops are incompetent-only to return, quick or dead, to a homeland where the enemy is encouraged by his contemporaries and many of his legislators and his own sacrifices are ridiculed.  No Moon Man he."   

Time Magazine circa 1968 


John W

Another member of the class of '66 who succumbed to suicide was Ken Roberts who jumped out of a window at Northwestern Medical School in his Junior year. Ken was a fraternity brother of mine at the U. of I., finished pre-med in three years and went to Northwestern. To my knowledge we never learned why he chose to end his life.

John W

Nan, now you're speaking as a psychotherapist. :-) Is that what you are?

A few years ago I read a very insightful book, which I still have, called "Achilles in Vietnam" by Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD. Its subtitle is "Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character". I was wanting to understand what our soldiers went through, pyschologically, in Viet Nam. Shay explains some of the factors in the Vietnam War that led to a much higher incidence of PTSD in Vietnam than in, say, World War II.

A very dear friend of mine, Gerald Nicosia, recently published a 700+ page tome called "Home to War", about the Vietnam Veterans antiwar movement, and their fight to obtain benefits from the VA for such things as PTSD and Agent Orange exposure. It's somewhat scholarly, but compelling reading.

But nowhere in either book do I recall encountering the stuff you're talking about above, Nan. What's EMDR? What did Figley discover? What I've observed in the field of psychology is that psychologists seem to feel that if they give something a name - i.e., a "diagnosis" - they're about 90% of the way to a cure. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it's deceptive. We don't have the political will in this country to cure many of the psychological ills we see around us, which would be relatively easy to cure if we were using a systemic approach and not the usual band-aid approach.

I'm constantly reminded of the experiments that were done with mice and rats in mazes. One such experiment was set up so that no matter what the rat did, s/he was "rewarded" with an electric shock. There was no behavior the rat could do that would allow him or her to escape being shocked. After a while, the rat just curled up in the cage in a fetal position, a quivering blob of jelly. I see that all the time with people, though people are amazingly resilient given how many ways there are to get "shocked" in our society. I don't know how this phenomenon relates to PTSD, because it hasn't been given a "name" yet, but I see it as just a slower and more chronic form of PTSD.

Nan B

Thanks for the recommendations, they both sound like excellent books. I have added them to my 'need to read' list.!

My husband is the psychologist/psychotherpist, not me. However, I have had lot of 'exposure' over the years.

Is your friend Gerald Nicosia related to Greg Nicosia? My husband knows Greg Nicosia---they are both very involved in the new Energy Psychology approaches.

EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a treatment technique developed by Francine Shapiro for the treatment of trauma. You can read about it at

Charles Figley, Ph.D. is a psychologist and professor at Florida State who has done exhaustive research and publication in trauma and stress, especially among Vietnam Vets.You might want to take a look  at his home page:


Sue E 

There was so much social and political unrest in our nation during our later years at Empehi and extending well into the mid 70's. Following graduation, I often visited friends at NIU, WIU and Purdue and recognized varying degrees of campus unrest, extending from extreme to mild. Were any here on this forum active in the anti-war movements that were prevalent during that time? 

Had anyone attended Woodstock or participated in the Democratic Nation Convention demonstrations in Grant Park? (I believe the Statute of Limitations has run out and it's now safe to come clean about the latter, without worry of state or federal indictment). 

While studying for my MA at SUNY/Buffalo, I discovered in their archives volumes of pictorial memorabilia depicting the serious extent of unrest on that campus. The students in '69' had actually taken control of 1/2 of the campus buildings (excluding dorms) and the Natl. Guard was enlisted in taking back the school. Pretty heady stuff.

John W

At Dartmouth, 50-100 students took over the main administration building in 1969, I think the year was, with the goal (ultimately successful for a time) of ridding the campus of ROTC, which was considered to be a tool of the "Military Industrial Complex" (a phrase first used, to my knowledge, in a  warning to the nation by Dwight Eisenhower, hardly the personification of liberalism). A couple of my friends were inside the building; I was outside as part of a much larger crowd. Unlike the scenario that unfolded at a number of other universities, Dartmouth quickly got a court order for the students to vacate the building, which was ignored. 

At about 3 AM the New Hampshire National Guard rolled in, in full riot gear and with buses to transport the students to jail. The Guardsmen formed a cordon along both sides of the sidewalk leading up to the administration building, battered down the door of the building, and carried out those students who refused to walk to the waiting buses. The occupying students were arrested and went to jail, eventually had a trial, and most were convicted of something like criminal trespass and served a month or so in jail.

I remember standing outside, toe to toe and face to face with one of the National Guardsmen in the cordon. Caught up in the mob psychology, I was screaming "Pig!" at him. At the same time a part of me was thinking, "This guy is not much older than I am, and plainly doesn't want to be here. It's a bit embarrassing to be calling him a 'pig'." But we were both caught up in our respective roles, or our "trips" as we used to say. In that situation, at least, the National Guard exercised exquisite discipline, and didn't start beating up those of us who were outside screaming in their faces. Their mission was to arrest those inside the building, and that they carried out with dispatch.

Despite having the students arrested, Dartmouth's trustees soon voted to  banish ROTC from campus. But about 25 years later it was reinstated. History is all about cycles.

In November of 1969 in Washington DC I took part in what was supposedly the largest protest march in American history, at least up to that time. It was reported that there were around 500,000 of us there. I remember hitchhiking down from New Hampshire to New York City, where I caught a ride to DC. Again, while I felt like I was a part of something big and important, I also felt somewhat sheeplike, chanting on cue. I could barely even see or hear the speakers. That was in the days before the federal government had quite figured out how to "control" protest by imposing unreasonable "time, place, and manner restrictions" on our First Amendment rights, and before the media began cooperating by underreporting the numbers protesting as they do nowadays.

I never made it to Woodstock. Didn't even know about it until after it had already happened. But a few years ago I went to one of the annual "Rainbow Gatherings" in a national forest in Vermont. It was kinda weird, too....a lot of old hippies and young Deadheads and whatnot. Too much weirdness for a middle-aged "straight cat" like me.

My admiration to those who made the sacrifice and went to Nam. I can't even begin to imagine your fear and trepidation that accompanied your decision to go.

I think a lot of them didn't have much idea of what they were getting themselves into. And for many of them it wasn't exactly a decision. Still, one can only admire and respect our Viet Nam veterans (and other veterans, for that matter). They served during very tough times and survived against very tough odds. Whether they served to "make the world safe for democracy" or because they were lied to by their government - well, that's the political question of the ages. Nevertheless they served, and they're entitled to our  respect and admiration. I'd like to think, though, that those of us who recognized the war in Viet Nam as an exercise in futility or far worse, and protested it, served our country too.

It's interesting to me how many of the guys on this reunion chat forum are veterans. A bow of respect and appreciation to each and every one of you.

I, too, would like to add my respect and appreciation to each and every veteran. One of my closest cousins, the oldest of our family who was like a brother, will forever be 24 since he gave his life in Viet Nam in 1969. Regardless of the politics of any side, each person tried to do what he or she knew to be the best at the time.

Quotes from the Nam

Winning the Hearts and Minds of the People

Don't mean nothin

Back in the World

We gotta get out of this place, 
if it's the last thing we ever do

Yeah though I walk
through the valley
of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil
Cause with my M-16 Rifle,
I am the baddest mother 
in the Valley

Vietnam - a nice place to visit, but I would not want to live there.

Peace and Love

Peace through Fire Superiority

Recon by Fire

Free Fire Zone

Make love, not war

You volunteered for this?  What were you thinking?

Never Volunteer

Close with and Destroy the Enemy

Don't blame me - we were winning when I left

Not much of a war, but the only one we had

One good deal after another

Flying North along the South China Sea

One Thin Dime

John W

Remember the little Christian ditty, "If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands (stamp your feet, etc.)"? Here's a slightly revised version. Enjoy. :-)

If You're Happy And You Know It Bomb Iraq
by John Robbins

If you cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq.
If the markets are a drama, bomb Iraq.
If the terrorists are frisky,
Pakistan is looking shifty,
North Korea is too risky,
Bomb Iraq.

If we have no allies with us, bomb Iraq.
If we think that someone's dissed us, bomb Iraq.
So to hell with the inspections,
Let's look tough for the elections,
Close your mind and take directions,
Bomb Iraq.

It's pre-emptive non-aggression, bomb Iraq.
To prevent this mass destruction, bomb Iraq.
They've got weapons we can't see,
And that's all the proof we need,
If they're not there, they must be there,
Bomb Iraq.

If you never were elected, bomb Iraq.
If your mood is quite dejected, bomb Iraq.
If you think Saddam's gone mad,
With the weapons that he had,
And he tried to kill your dad,
Bomb Iraq.

If corporate fraud is growin', bomb Iraq.
If your ties to it are showin', bomb Iraq.
If your politics are sleazy,
And hiding that ain't easy,
And your manhood's getting queasy,
Bomb Iraq.

Fall in line and follow orders, bomb Iraq.
For our might knows not our borders, bomb Iraq.
Disagree? We'll call it treason,
Let's make war not love this season,
Even if we have no reason,
Bomb Iraq.


My brother sent this to me. He expresses my exact sentiments - but more eloquently than I, regarding the threat of war on Iraq. Thought you might be interested.

Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Subject: FW: Protest The War

I will send this to Til separately. Let me know if he forwards this on to any of you.  My guess is he'll unload a tirade on me and not pass it on.

As for me, I support my country and those who defend it. If Saddam pulls a stunt that costs U.S. lives, then we should retailiate. However, I am opposed to war on Iraq. If Europe and Asia (2 continents closest to Iraq) are not interested in fighting Iraq, than neither am I. Let the Iranians, Israelis,  French, Germans, Russians, Italians, etc. handle Iraq. Let Japan, S. Korea, China handle North Korea. If Hussein takes over the Middle East...let him have it.

That god-forsaken part of the world isn't worth one frickin American life.

When I find myself in times of trouble,
Mother Mary comforts me,
Speaking words of wisdom,
"Let it be... Let it be"



Subject: Protest The War

Dear friends,

The US Congress has just authorized the President of the US to go to war against Iraq. Please consider this an urgent request.

UN Petition for Peace
Stand for Peace.
Islam is not the Enemy.
War is NOT the Answer.

Today we are at a point of imbalance in the world and are moving toward what may be the beginning of a THIRD WORLD WAR.

If you are against this possibility, the UN is gathering signatures in an effort to avoid a tragic world event.

Please COPY (rather than Forward) this e-mail in a new message, sign at the end of the list, and send it to all the people whom you know. If you receive this list with more than 500 names signed, please send a copy of the message to:

Even if you decide not to sign, please consider forwarding the petition on instead of eliminating it.


John W – Signs from the Iraq War Demonstration

1. One nation under surveillance
2. How did our oil get under their sand?
3. Who would Jesus bomb?
4. Start Drafting SUV Drivers Now
5. Don't blame me, I voted with the majority
6. Buck Fush!
7. It's NUCLEAR, not NUCULAR, you idiot!
8. Patriots are idiots - Matriarchy Now!
9. (With pictures of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld) Asses of Evil
10. It's the oil, stupid
11. Read between the Pipelines
12. The only thing we have to fear is Bush himself
13. How many Lives per Gallon?
14. Negotiation Not Annihilation
15. Oh, Say, can You Cease?
16. Don't Arm a Son of a Bush
17. The last time we listened to a Bush, we wandered in the desert
for 40 years.



Dear John, Shortly after Sept.11th, there was an Italian song parody adapted with words to mimic Bin-Laden; it was quite amusing and became a top hit son and video and I must admit I found it funny...but the situation is much more dangerous now than it was then and I guess I am taking the threat of  far too seriously to appreciate the cleverness of these verses - I admit they're cute and fit the music perfectly...

but rather than criticize the president and descend into the pits of name-calling and ridicule (which I have read much of late), I feel it is urgent that we take to heart and do what Paul urged the Roman christians to do (during the period that Nero was emperor), and that is, pray "... for all those in authority, that you may lead peaceful and quiet lives..."

Regardless of my personal political orientation, ideas, or feelings - I pray for Bush and I pray for Saddam...that they hear and respond to the voice of All Wisdom.

There are many voices screaming right now on all sides - I pray the voice of God will be heard and followed - I believe in miracles - I believe in peace - I believe we can make a difference.....


John W

We all respond to the tragic absurdities in the world in different ways, Marie. Some pray, some phone their Congressperson or sign petitions, some try to find refuge in humor. Some do all of the above.

I heartily encourage you to pray. Prayer is certainly needed. I'm reminded of another scripture that has been bandied about in churches for years and years, without any visible results that I can see: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14.

I'm not God, of course, but I think that the phrases "humble themselves" and "turn from their wicked ways" are the ones that trip most folks up.

Just out of curiosity, what would you speculate is the percentage of church going people, who call themselves Christians, who think that George Bush walks on water and are praying - PRAYING, mind you - for a quick and decisive American military victory in Iraq? What happens to THEIR prayers? Do their prayers and ours sort of cancel each other out, leaving God free to accomplish whatever grand overarching purpose He wanted to accomplish in the first place?

I have a hard enough time believing in the efficacy of prayer for personal needs, as you know. It's utterly impossible for me to imagine how God could possibly be responsive to the cacaphony of "screaming voices on all sides", as you put it above. My study of history indicates that He lets a lot of "innocent" people die in absurd calamities caused by sinful, fallen human beings who have far more power than they are capable of handling.

John Dubya



Interesting that you should quote this verse from Chronicles - it was quoted numerous times right after Sept.11th as a wake up call to America -I believe we, as a nation, need to look humbly at ourselves - and turn from our wicked ways....we, as a nation, need God to forgive us for all the wrong we have done to our own citizens, as well as mistakes we have made abroad;
we , as a nation, need healing...

As for what to pray for, Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done" – God answers our prayers if we are in synch with His desires -

I'm not aware of anyone praying for Bush to  crush Saddam (although I have heard many journalists and other people are shouting angry bellicose incitements on the radio, tv, and over the web) ...Some christians do support the president's position - others do not...however, I receive the presidential prayer team newsletter weekly, John, where President Bush has specifically asked for prayers for guidance - not victory in battle - He has repeatedly asked that the nation pray for him to make the right decision - and I assure you God does answer  prayer for personal purposes..A lady in our church was blinded two years ago after a car accident - she became very angry with God and refused to come to church, or receive any
visits. Just the same, we prayed for her in every Sunday morning service, and on Tuesday in our ladies' group. Today - she can see!!!! God has restored her sight....She is back in church again.


The cacaphony of "screaming voices on all sides" I referred to was not praying voices, but all the opinions, suggestions, and lobbying surrounding the president, and each of us, when we must make a decision. The world is
constantly clamoring for our attention.....

John W

Interesting that you should quote this verse from Chronicles - it was quoted numerous times right after Sept.11th as a wake up call to America -I believe we, as a nation, need to look humbly at ourselves - and turn fromour wicked ways....we, as a nation, need God to forgive us for all the wrongwe have done to our own citizens, as well as mistakes we have made abroad; we, as a nation, need healing...

So who is supposed to do this? The nation is composed of individuals. A nation doesn't do anything. Does this mean that a majority of American citizens need to humble themselves and seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways? Or does it mean that the leaders need to do it, setting an example for the citizens? In the Old Testament, where Chronicles is found, it was consistently the kings - of Israel, Babylon, etc. - who were held responsible for the spiritual condition of their nation.

As for what to pray for, Jesus taught us to pray, "Thy will be done" - God answers our prayers if we are in synch with His desires - I'm not aware of anyone praying for Bush to crush Saddam (although I have heard many journalists and other people are shouting angry bellicose incitements on the radio, tv, and over the web) ...Some christians do support the president's position - others do not...however, I receive the presidential prayer team newsletter weekly, John, where President Bush has specifically asked for prayers for guidance - not victory in battle - He has repeatedly asked that the nation pray for him to make the right decision -

Here's where my cynical side kicks in big time. Do you believe that President Bush writes this weekly presidential prayer team newsletter himself? Do you NOT believe it's merely a public relations or propaganda  organ sent out by the administration, aimed at right-wing fundamentalist Christians? You HAVE heard of propaganda or "spin", right?

I'm just a tad suspicious of the sincerity of Resident Bush's desire for divine guidance, since he has ALREADY decided who is "good" and who is "evil". America is unquestionably good, while anyone who opposes America is unrelievedly evil. This despite the fact that our government has lied to us repeatedly about the so-called facts that purport to justify its actions. Bush has already designated an "Axis of Evil", and implied that he may add countries to the axis at any moment, at his discretion. While rooting out "weapons of mass destruction" abroad, it has somehow escaped his attention that America has more weapons of mass destruction than all the other countries put together. Does this sound like a man who is sincerely humbling himself and seeking God's face and turning from his wicked ways?

I won't even mention oil. I WILL mention, however, the 2000 election. The Bible says, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God." (Romans 13:1) This and the verses that follow it have generally been interpreted to mean that we should obey governmental authority because it is put and maintained in place by God. Does this Scripture mean that God conspired with the Bush brothers to orchestrate massive election fraud in Florida so that Dubya could get elected? The election fraud is a fact beyond all disputation; the only thing I'm not sure about is God's role in it.

And I assure you God does answer prayer for personal purposes. A lady in our church was blinded two years ago after a car accident - she became very angry with God and refused to come to church, or receive any visits. Just the same, we prayed for her in every Sunday morning service;and on Tuesday in our ladies' group. Today - she can see!!!! God has restored her sight....She is back in church again. 

This is something I can't and won't be cynical about. Please greet the woman for me with a holy kiss, and ask her to pray for the rest of us whosevision is impaired.

The cacaphony of "screaming voices on all sides" I referred to was not praying  voices, but all the opinions, suggestions, and lobbying surrounding the president, and each of us, when we must make a decision. The world is constantly clamoring for our attention.....

That's true. I was referring to the praying voices, though. That's a cacaphony, too. During the war in Viet Nam, I was a baby Christian, and I asked other more mature Christians for advice about what I should do with regard to Viet Nam. The advice ranged all the way from killing "gooks" (in obedience to Romans 13:1) to being a pacifist and attempting to get a conscientious objector classification or flee to Canada. It was indeed a cacaphony of voices, each of them most sincere and purporting to speak for God or at least to understand His word and His purposes.

In closing, Marie, if George Dubya Bush is a Christian then I'm a Martian. I can pray for his conversion to Christianity, and I should, but I don't believe for an instant that at this point in time he sincerely desires God's guidance. From every indication he has already declared himself God in his own mind.

John Dubya


JW- Does this mean that a majority of American citizens need to humble themselves and seek God's face and turn from their wicked ways? Or does it mean that the leaders need to do it, setting an example for the citizens?

Marie - It means everyone who has a conscience to do so....

JW - In the Old Testament, where Chronicles is found, it was consistently the kings - of Israel, Babylon, etc. - who were held responsible for the spiritual condition of their nation.

Marie - And in Jeremiah, chapter 23 , it is the religious leaders - prophets and priests - who God condemns FIRST for deceiving and lying to the kings and people, "Don't worry! shall have peace" (verse 17) ...... "Don't listen to these false prophets" (verse 16) ....."These prophets are as thoroughly depraved as the men of Sodom and Gomorrah"(chap.23, verse 14)

JW - Here's where my cynical side kicks in big time. Do you believe that Resident Bush writes this weekly presidential prayer team newsletter himself? Do you NOT believe it's merely a public relations or propaganda organ sent out by the administration, aimed at right-wing fundamentalist Christians? You HAVE heard of propaganda or "spin", right?

Marie - I don't know what "spin" means: But I do know that JWB does not write the newsletter, nor is it a public relations or propaganda organ....It was started by christian citizens, like Joni Eareckson Tada, Dave Wilkerson, and other not so prominent people - there are thousands on the mailing list - who take seriously : "pray for those in authority" as a personal responsibility....

JW - I was referring to the praying voices, though. That's a cacaphony, too. During the war in Viet Nam, I was a baby Christian, and I asked other more mature Christians for advice about what I should do with regard to Viet Nam. The advice ranged all the way from killing "gooks" (in obedience to Romans 13:1) to being a pacifist and attempting to get a conscientious objector classification or flee to Canada. It was indeed a cacaphony of voices, each of them most sincere and purporting to speak for God or at least to understand His word and His purposes.

Marie - Praying is speaking to God - which has been compared to "sweet-smelling incense rising to heaven"- not noise. People - even christian people - expressing their opinions and giving advice about what you or I should do is not prayer.

You're right - we can be confused by all the voices - that's why we need to pray and ask others to pray for us to discern the voice of true Wisdom - again from Jeremiah chap 23, verse 21 - "I have not sent these prophets, yet
they claim to speak for me; I gave them no message, yet they say their words are mine".

JW - In closing, Marie, if George Dubya Bush is a Christian then I'm a Martian.

I can pray for his conversion to Christianity, and I should, but I don't believe for an instant that at this point in time he sincerely desires
God's guidance. From every indication he has already declared himself God in his own mind.

Marie - whatever your opinion, it's urgent that you pray for him and all leaders everywhere, be they political or religious......


About Iraq -

I watched the inspectors' report to the UN Security Council - live via satellite - and I was pleased to hear most of the representatives invoke patience, continued united effort to disarm Iraq, and the use of force only as a last resort - and I respect Colin Powell and his consistent insistence on Iraq's compliance with UN mandates to disarm. Let's hope Sadam will take this opportunity given him by the UN and freely give up his lethal weapons - and spare his people....

Below is a letter I received last night. I thought you might find it interesting and a different perspective on Iraq. Did you know in Paris there is a Chaldean church community where Iraqi refugees worship? or that 600,000 Iraqi christians worship in Baghdad?

If any of you are praying, please pray for the Iraqi christians - and the American bishop going to Iraq to meet them this week.

Dear All,

Three weeks ago, I received an invitation along with French Christian leaders from the Patriarch of Baghad (the majority church in Iraq—the Chaldean Church) to visit there with Christian leaders. The purpose of the trip is to establish contacts between Iraqi and European Christians.

At first I was not inclined to go, as I felt this was beyond my mandate. But the Presiding Bishop, the Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, and the Anglican Communion officer at Lambeth Palace have all strongly encouraged me to accept. The ACO even offered money to offset the cost of the airfare. The Council of Advice in our discussions about it also were cautiously encouraging.

My wife and daughter expressed their concern for my safety, but have also agreed I should go.

I am to leave Tuesday and return Saturday. I have my plane reservation to Damascus (we will be driven to Baghdad) and visas. Of course under the circumstances I am reserving the right to decline up to the departure itself.

I would ask for your prayers tomorrow and in the coming days: for peace, for guidance about this trip, for safe travel, and above all for the Iraqi people, in particular the million or so Christians who need to know of our support and deep concern.

Yours in Christ,

+Pierre Whalon
Bishop in charge
Convocation of American Churches in Europe


Here is an update on the American bishop who went to Iraq: this just came in tonight. Marie

Dear All,
I am fine, well received, and in no danger at all.

I met most of the bishops of this country this morning informally, and we shall pray together tomorrow in the Chaldean Protestant Church at 9:30 am.

I was able to visit St George's Anglican Church here, which is clean and well maintained for a building in Baghdad at this time. It seems to have become a place of prayer for all kinds of Christians. I have photos.

My simple message that I am responding to the Patriarch's invitation personally to come, meet and pray together, as well as assuring the Christians here of our churches' attempts to avoid war, is being very well received.

Already to-day I visited a Dominican sisters' hospital, a  Missionaries of Charity home for mentally handicapped, met several bishops singly, and seen and talked with many people. More later today.

I am writing from the internet cafe at the Rasheed Hotel, very famous place, from this address because it was the only one of mine that I could access.

It was a good idea to come. thank you for your prayers - please keep them coming.

All my love.


Marie and Friends,

I chose not to respond to the original message because of my own knee jerk reactions being that I am still working with the Department of State and with the Broadcasting Board of Governors--home of Radio Free Iraq among other things such as the Voice of America. However, the Lord gave me peace from knowing that even though the Bishop was being used and his counterpart in Iraq is not acting freely under pressure from Saddam Hussein, God is still able to bring good from it in spite of whatever intentions the Iraqi regime may have in its charm offensive and duplicity. I will be sitting in this week at hearings by Senator Richar Lugar, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the topic of U.S. Public Diplomacy to the Islamic World. I had prayer earlier this week with a fine christian gentleman at the State Department who is the Deputy Coordinator for the Office of Religious Freedom. That office works on behalf of persecuted christians all over the world. Right now terrible things are going on.

For tactical reasons we don't put it all in the press, since our aim is to help the persecuted and to turn the tide. Personally, I believe a move of the Holy Spirit through His people, some of whom refuse to renounce their faith in the face of torture and persecution, will do more than any thing else be it war or diplomacy, in bringing about a change in the Middle East and other parts of the Islamic world. I am not blind to Satan's devices. Jesus said to be wise as serpents. He also said to be like doves.

John W

You sound like a very important guy, Louis, and poor Marie, Who gets it from both sides and who desires only peace and love in the world (as do I and probably all the rest of us), will be embarrassed by my replying to you, I suppose. But I hope that, while you're being wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove, of the utmost perspicacity about Satan's devices, you're also praying for an end to the "charm offensive and duplicity" in the Executive Branch of the American government where you work. We need changes not only in the Islamic world but in the so-called "Christian" world here in the West. I fear George Bush and his version of American Empire at least as much as I fear anything in the Islamic world. And you can quote me....though of course you won't.

Funny how the Lord is telling us all different things. I hope someone can explain that to me one of these days.


John W


This is the most original, sane, and perfect plan I have heard on this whole Iraq mess in 12 years. I support it 100%. Maybe we should give G Dubya and the UN this email.

Subject: New Weapons Inspectors Needed

Have you noticed anything fishy about the inspection teams who have arrived  in Iraq? They're all men! How in the name of the  United Nations does anyone  expect men to find Saddam's stash? We all know that men have a blind spot  when it comes to finding things. For crying out loud! Men can't find the  dirty clothes hamper. Men can't find the jar of jelly until it falls out of the cupboard and splatters on the floor .... and these are the people we have sent into Iraq to search for hidden weapons of mass destruction?

I keep wondering why groups of mothers weren't sent in. Mothers can sniff out  secrets quicker than a drug dog can find a gram of dope. Mothers can find gin bottles that dads have stashed in the attic beneath the rafters. They can sniff out a diary two rooms and one floor away. They can tell when the lid of a cookie jar has been disturbed and notice when a quarter inch slice has been shaved off a chocolate cake. A mother can smell alcohol on your breath before you get your key in the front door and can smell cigarette smoke from a block away. By examining laundry, a mother knows more about their kids  than Sherlock Holmes. And if a mother wants an answer to question, she can  read an offender's eyes quicker than a homicide detective.

So... considering the value a mother could bring to an inspection team,  why are we sending a bunch of old men who will rely on electronic equipment  to scout out hidden threats? My mother would walk in with a wooden soup spoon in one hand, grab Saddam by the ear, give it a good twist and snap,  Young man, do you have any weapons of mass destruction?" And God  help him if he tried to lie to her

She'd march him down the street to some  secret bunker and shove his nose into a nuclear bomb and say, "Uh, huh, and what do you call this, mister?"

Whap! Thump! Whap! Whap! Whap! And she'd lay some stripes across his bare bottom with that soup spoon, then march him home in front of the whole of Baghdad. He'd not only come clean and apologize for lying about it, he'd cut every lawn in Baghdad for free for the whole darn summer. Inspectors my butt....You want the job done?

Call m


What an excellent idea, to have a mother go find the weapons.Is Saddam's own mother still alive? Has anyone told her what a problem he's being? She could threaten him with "just wait until your father hears about this".


are you volunteering our mothers?


My mother-in-law could go over and straighten him out in no time.

(and I mean that only with the greatest of admiration for her.)


My mother-in-law would have made him flee - (God love her - she was quite a character)...

Louise  S

I wonder......if all our mothers said no and all their mothers said no do you think it would work? We could take away all their toys too


Yeah, and "ground" their armies - and no watching TV newscasts.... If it doesn't work least it would be interesting to see what happens next.


As you suggested, John, I am forwarding Oriana Fallaci's article to the forum. Unfortunately, war has already begun, however, I believe it's still worth reading......

I have great respect for Oriana Fallaci and her writings -

Right after 9/11 she wrote a book called "The Rage and the Pride" which I found excellent - and which caused the French to sue her for inciting racial hatred and caused Italian journalists to scream blasphemies about her...She kicks up dust - left andright - and spares no one from her seething criticism and accusations......She is an extremely well-travelled, knowledgeable journalist who knows world leaders and has personally experienced national and international political conflicts - WW2, Viet Nam, Lebanon, Palestine.... and has met and spoken at length with many world leaders.

I invite anyone to comment.........

The Rage, the Pride and the Doubt
Wall St Journal commentaries | 3-13-03 | Oriana Fallaci

NEW YORK -- To avoid the dilemma of whether this war should take place or not, to overcome the reservations and the reluctance and the doubts that still lacerate me, I often say to myself: "How good if the Iraqis would get free of Saddam Hussein by themselves. How good if they would execute him and hang up his body by the feet as in 1945 we Italians did with Mussolini." But it does not help. Or it helps in one way only. The Italians, in fact, could get free of Mussolini because in 1945 the Allies had conquered almost four-fifths of Italy. In other words, because the Second World War had taken place. A war without which we would have kept Mussolini (and Hitler) forever. A war during which the allies had pitilessly bombed us and we had died like mosquitoes. The Allies, too. At Salerno, at Anzio, at Cassino.

Along the road from Rome to Florence, then on the terrible Gothic Line. In less than two years, 45,806 dead among the Americans and 17,500 among the English, the Canadians, the Australians, the New Zealanders, the South Africans, the Indians, the Brazilians. And also the French who had chosen De Gaulle, also the Italians who had chosen the Fifth or the Eighth Army. (Can anybody guess how many cemeteries of Allied soldiers there are in Italy? More than sixty. And the largest, the most crowded, are the American ones. At Nettuno, 10,950 graves. At Falciani, near Florence, 5,811. Each time I pass in front of it and see that lake of crosses, I shiver with grief and gratitude.) There was also a National Liberation Front in Italy. A Resistance that the Allies supplied with weapons and ammunition. As in spite of my tender age (14), I was involved in the matter, I remember well the American plane that, braving anti-aircraft fire, parachuted those supplies to Tuscany. To be exact, onto Mount Giovi where one night they air-dropped commandos with the task of activating a short-wave network named Radio Cora.

Ten smiling Americans who spoke very good Italian and who three months later were captured by the SS, tortured, and executed with a Florentine partisan girl: Anna Maria Enriquez-Agnoletti.

Thus, the dilemma remains.

It remains for the reasons I will try to state. And the first one is that, contrary to the pacifists who never yell against Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden and only yell against George W. Bush and Tony Blair, (but in their Rome march they also yelled against me and raised posters wishing that I'd blow up with the next shuttle, I'm told), I know war very well. I know what it means to live in terror, to run under air strikes and cannonades, to see people killed and houses destroyed, to starve and dream of a piece of bread, to miss even a glass of drinking water. And (which is worse) to be or to feel responsible for someone else's death. I know it because I belong to the Second World War generation and because, as a member of the Resistance, I was myself a soldier. I also know it because for a good deal of my life I have been a war correspondent.

Beginning with Vietnam, I have experienced horrors that those who see war only through TV or the movies where blood is tomato ketchup don't even imagine. As a consequence, I hate it as the pacifists in bad or good faith never will. I loathe it. Every book I have written overflows with that loathing, and I cannot bear the sight of guns.

At the same time, however, I don't accept the principle, or should I say the slogan, that "All wars are unjust, illegitimate." The war against Hitler and Mussolini and Hirohito was just, was legitimate. The Risorgimento wars that my ancestors fought against the invaders of Italy were just, were legitimate. And so was the war of independence that Americans fought against Britain. So are the wars (or revolutions) which happen to regain dignity, freedom. I do not believe in vile acquittals, phony appeasements, easy forgiveness. Even less, in the exploitation or the blackmail of the word Peace. When peace stands for surrender, fear, loss of dignity and freedom, it is no longer peace. It's suicide.

* * *

The second reason is that this war should not happen now. If just as I wish, legitimate as I hope, it should have happened one year ago. That is, when the ruins of the Towers were still smoking and the whole civilized world felt American. Had it happened then, the pacifists who never yell against Saddam or bin Laden would not today fill the squares to anathematize the United States. Hollywood stars would not play the role of Messiahs, and ambiguous Turkey would not cynically deny passage to the Marines who have to reach the Northern front. Despite the Europeans who added their voice to the voice of the Palestinians howling "Americans-got-it-good," one year ago nobody questioned that another Pearl Harbor had been inflicted on the U.S. and that the U.S. had all the right to respond. As a matter of fact, it should have happened before. I mean when Bill Clinton was president, and small Pearl Harbors were bursting abroad. In Somalia, in Kenya, in Yemen. 

As I shall never tire of repeating, we did not need September 11 to see that the cancer was there. September 11 was the excruciating confirmation of a reality which had been burning for decades, the indisputable diagnosis of a doctor who waves an X-ray and brutally snaps: "My dear Sir, you have cancer." Had Mr. Clinton spent less time with voluptuous girls, had he made smarter use of the Oval Office, maybe September 11 would not have occurred. And, needless to say, even less would it have occurred if the first George Bush had removed Saddam with the Gulf War. For Christ's sake, in 1991 the Iraqi army deflated like a pricked balloon. It disintegrated so quickly, so easily, that even I captured four of its soldiers. I was behind a dune in the Saudi desert, all alone. Four skeletal creatures in ragged uniforms came toward me with arms raised, and whispered: "Bush, Bush." Meaning: "Please take me prisoner. I  am so thirsty, so hungry." So I took them prisoner. I delivered them to the Marine in charge, and instead of congratulating me he grumbled: "Dammit! Some more?!?" Yet the Americans did not get to Baghdad, did not remove Saddam. And, to thank them, Saddam tried to kill their president. The same president who had left him in power. In fact, at times I wonder if this war isn't also a long-awaited retaliation, a filial revenge, a promise made by the son to the father. Like in a Shakespearean tragedy.

Better, a Greek one.

* * *

The third reason is the wrong way in which the promise has materialized. Let's admit it: from September 11 until last summer, all the stress was put on bin Laden, on al Qaeda, on Afghanistan. Saddam and Iraq were practically ignored. Only when it became clear that bin Laden was in good health, that the solemn commitment to take him dead or alive had failed, were we reminded that Saddam existed too. That he was not a gentle soul, that he cut the tongues and ears of his adversaries, that he killed children in front of their parents, that he decapitated women then displayed their heads in the streets,  that he kept his prisoners in cells as small as coffins, that he made his biological or chemical experiments on them too. That he had connections with al Qaeda and supported terrorism, that he rewarded the families of Palestinian kamikazes at the rate of $25,000 each. That he had never disarmed, never given up his arsenal of deadly weapons, thus the U.N. should send back the inspectors, and let's be serious: if seventy years ago the ineffective League of Nations had sent its inspectors to Germany, do you think that Hitler would have shown them Peenemünde where Von Braun was manufacturing V2s? Do you think that Hitler would have disclosed the camps of Auschwitz, of Mauthausen, Buchenwald, Dachau? Yet the inspection comedy resumed. With such intensity that the role of prima donna passed from bin Laden to Saddam, and the arrest of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the engineer of September 11, was greeted almost with indifference. A comedy marked by the double games of the inspectors and the conflicting strategies of Mr. Bush who on the one hand asked the Security Council for permission to use force and on the other sent his troops to the front. In less than two months, a quarter of a million troops. With the British and Australians, 310,000. And all this without realizing that his enemies (but I should say the enemies of the West) are not only in Baghdad.

They are also in Europe. They are in Paris where the mellifluous Jacques Chirac does not give a damn for peace but plans to satisfy his vanity with the Nobel Peace Prize. Where there is no wish to remove Saddam Hussein because Saddam Hussein means the oil that the French companies pump from Iraqi wells. And where (forgetting a little flaw named Petain) France chases its Napoleonic desire to dominate the European Union, to establish its hegemony over it. They are in Berlin, where the party of the mediocre Gerhard Schroeder won the elections by comparing Mr. Bush to Hitler, where American flags are soiled with the swastika, and where, in the dream of playing the masters again, Germans go arm-in-arm with the French. They are in Rome where the communists left by the door and re-entered through the window like the birds of the Hitchcock movie. And where, pestering the world with his ecumenism, his pietism, his Thirdworldism, Pope Wojtyla receives Tariq Aziz as a dove or a martyr who is about to be eaten by lions. (Then he sends him to Assisi where the friars escort him to the tomb of St. Francis.) In the other European countries, it is more or less the same. In Europe your enemies are everywhere, Mr. Bush. What you quietly call "differences of opinion" are in reality pure hate. Because in Europe pacifism is synonymous with anti-Americanism, sir, and accompanied by the most sinister revival of anti-Semitism the anti-Americanism triumphs as much as in the Islamic world. Haven't your ambassadors informed you? Europe is no longer Europe. It is a province of Islam, as Spain and Portugal were at the time of the Moors. It hosts almost 16 million Muslim immigrants and teems with mullahs,imams, mosques, burqas, chadors. It lodges thousands of Islamic terrorists whom governments don't know how to identify and control. People are afraid, and in waving the flag of pacifism -- pacifism synonymous with anti-Americanism -- they feel protected.

Besides, Europe does not care for the 221,484 Americans who died for her in the Second World War. Rather than gratitude, their cemeteries give rise to resentment. As a consequence, in Europe nobody will back this war. Not even nations which are officially allied with the U.S., not even the prime ministers who call you "My friend George." (Like Silvio Berlusconi.) In Europe you only have one friend, one ally, sir: Tony Blair. But Mr. Blair too leads a country which is invaded by the Moors. A country that hides that resentment. Even his party opposes him, and by the way: I owe you an apology, Mr. Blair. In my book "The Rage and the Pride," I was unfair to you. Because I wrote that you would not persevere with your guts, that you would drop them as soon as it would no longer serve your political interests. With impeccable coherence, instead, you are sacrificing those interests to your convictions. Indeed, I apologize. I also withdraw the phrase I used to comment on your excess of courtesy toward Islamic culture:

"If our culture has the same value as the one that imposes the burqa, why do you spend your summers in my Tuscany and not in Saudi Arabia?" Now I say:

"My Tuscany is your Tuscany, sir. My home is your home."

* * *

The final reason for my dilemma is the definition that Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair and their advisers give of this war: "A Liberation war. A humanitarian war to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq." Oh, no. Humanitarianism has nothing to do with wars. All wars, even just ones, are death and destruction and atrocities and tears. And this is not a liberation war, a war like the Second World War. (By the way: neither is it an "oil war," as the pacifists who never yell against Saddam or bin Laden maintain in their rallies. Americans do not need Iraqi oil.) It is a political war. A war made in cold blood to respond to the Holy War that the enemies of the West declared upon the West on September 11. It is also a prophylactic war. A vaccine, a surgery that hits Saddam because, (Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair believe), among the various focuses of cancer Saddam is the most obvious and dangerous one. Moreover, the obstacle that once removed will permit them to redesign the map of the Middle East as the British and the French did after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. To redesign it and to spread a Pax Romana, pardon, a Pax Americana, in which everybody will prosper through freedom and democracy. Again, no. Freedom cannot be a gift. And democracy cannot be imposed with bombs, with occupation armies. As my father said when he asked the anti-fascists to join the Resistance, and as today I say to those who honestly rely on the Pax Americana, people must conquer freedom by themselves. Democracy must come from their will, and in both cases a country must know what they consist of. In Europe the Second World War was a liberation war not because it brought novelties called freedom and democracy but because it re-established them. Because Europeans knew what they consisted of. The Japanese did not: it is true. In Japan, those two treasures were somehow a gift, a refund for Hiroshima and Nagasaki. But Japan had already started its process of modernization, and did not belong to the Islamic world. As I write in my book when I call bin Laden the tip of the iceberg and I define the iceberg as a mountain that has not moved for 1,400 years, that for 1,400 years has not changed, that has not emerged from its blindness, freedom and democracy are totally unrelated to the ideological texture of Islam. To the tyranny of theocratic states. So their people refuse them, and even more they want to erase ours.

* * *

Upheld by their stubborn optimism, the same optimism for which at the Alamo they fought so well and all died slaughtered by Santa Anna, Americans think that in Baghdad they will be welcomed as they were in Rome and Florence and Paris. "They'll cheer us, throw us flowers." Maybe. In Baghdad anything can happen. But after that? Nearly two-thirds of the Iraqis are Shiites who have always dreamed of establishing an Islamic Republic of Iraq, and the Soviets too were once cheered in Kabul. They too imposed their peace. They even succeeded in convincing women to take off their burqa, remember? After a while, though, they had to leave. And the Taliban came. Thus, I ask: what if instead of learning freedom Iraq becomes a second Talibani Afghanistan? What if instead of becoming democratized by the Pax Americana the whole Middle East blows up and the cancer multiplies? As a proud defender of the West's civilization, without reservations I should join Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair in the new Alamo. Without reluctance I should fight and die with them. And this is the only thing about which I have no doubts at all.

Oriana Fallaci is the author of "The Rage and the Pride"  (Rizzoli International, 2002). Updated March 13, 2003


Scott B

Reminds me of an old song:

Come on all you big strong men,
Uncle Sam your help again.
He's got himself in a terrible
Way down yonder with old Saddam
So put down your books,
And pick up a gun,
Gonna have yourselves a whole lotta fun
So its 1-2-3
What are we fighting for ?
Don't ask me,
I don't give a d--m,
Say hello to Mr Saddam
Ain't no time to reason why !
Whoppee, we're all gonna die !