One week ago, the United States went to war with Iraq.
With talk of “Orange Alerts” and retaliatory attacks, the mind of the average college student has been flooded with thoughts of terrorism, war and the president.
Many Temple University students expressed mixed feelings about the conflict.
“I don’t want to be at war, but I am glad we finally went,” said freshman Women’s Studies major Chéy Young.
She explained that she had been frustrated by the months-long buildup to the war, and wanted President George W. Bush to “do it already.”
Freshman Psychology and English major Diana Weismer said that she feared that the war on Iraq would distract the U.S. from the war on terrorism. She said that she “wants to see Osama [bin Laden] captured.”
“I’m from New York, I saw the cloud of smoke over my school [on September 11, 2001],” she said. “I understand why [the U.S.] is going after Hussein, but this
is not the war I would have signed up for.”
Broadcast major Paige Snyder, who has three friends in the Marine units that are now in Iraq, agreed.
“[The war on terror] was about 9/11, but now you don’t hear anything about 9/11,” she said. “It’s all about the oil.”
John Yust, a freshman Journalism major, called the idea that the war is about oil “ludicrous.”
The war is necessary because Hussein has been in violation of United Nations Resolutions since the end of the first Gulf War, Yust said.
“It’s not that the war has gotten away from itself, it has just taken on a new dimension,” he said.
“It’s not about oil and it’s not about vengeance. It’s about protecting ourselves.”
Other students agreed that war was a necessary step.
“I think Saddam is very dangerous,” said freshman Elementary Education major Vinny Vassallo.
“Something had to be done. [Hussein] had 12 years to get rid of his weapons.”
Freshman Political Science major John Mulholland said that the current domestic economic turmoil made this the wrong time to pursue war, but that it is “something that needed to be done.”
The U.S. is having trouble building international support for the war because of the foreign policy pursued by the Bush’s Administration since his inauguration, Mulholland said.
He explained that by pulling out of several multilateral treaties, such as the Kyoto environmental accord, Bush had not been showing a willingness to cooperate internationally.
“[The U.S.] has acted like an ogre,” Mulholland said.
Some students expressed indifference to the war.
Several students replied to questions about the war by saying they didn’t really have an opinion.
Shari, a freshman Anthropology major who declined to give her last name, said that she did not feel that she could form an opinion because the “news is lies [sic]” and that Americans did not really know anything about what was going on.
Communications and Theater major Kevin McClellan said that “nothing [about the war] bothers [him].”
“I don’t know anyone who is involved,” he said, “It doesn’t really affect me.
I’m indifferent about the whole situation.”
Snyder, the freshman broadcast student, said that the threat of war had affected her personal life; she broke up with her boyfriend over the war.
Her boyfriend is a member of the merchant marine, which transports military equipment.
She said that after he came back from his first tour, he spoke about nothing but the then-potential war.
“He didn’t have any interest in our relationship,” she said.
“All he cared about was war.”
Most people who are either for or against the war are ignorant of the other points of view, Snyder said.
“They don’t take the time to understand the other side,” she said.
Brian White can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.