Why are Americans singing a different tune?

TKenneth Nelson The other day I heard a radio news analyst degrading the American public for their bandwagon-style support for war with Iraq. “Sure,” he said, “Now that victory will likely come within three weeks, people have changed their tune from ‘amazing grace’ to ‘let freedom reign.’ ” True, just two weeks ago as little as 50 percent of the public supported unilateral war with Iraq. Now that figure has risen to 72 percent. President George W. Bush’s ratings have also soared since the first Iraqi soldiers surrendered hours before the conflict began.

But the reason for the massive increase in American support has nothing to do with hopping on the bandwagon. The real reason is education, because Americans have taken time to educate themselves on the issues.

Almost everyone will agree war is a horrible and terrifying occurrence. Many people will automatically oppose war without even considering the facts. In fact, before this war began I was firmly against it. I did not want any part of it. I used arguments such as: “Why now?” “Why not diplomacy?” “Why Iraq when there are so many other threatening countries that have nukes and chemicals?” All are valid questions, however, but not good antiwar arguments. Evidence of how naive I was is demonstrated by the fact that I could only come up with one answer: “No war with Iraq.”

Now, just like millions of Americans, I am a convert. I support the war and want to see the good people of Iraq liberated. This epiphany did not come because I was swayed by public support. I did not change because of groupthink, nor am I a fair weather fan. I am a convert because I have been educated. Just like the majority of the once unmindful, too-busy-to-do-my-homework American public, I have been slapped in the face by the reality of war. Before war started, I glanced at the headlines, listened to the blurbs on CNN, and made the decision: “It is not worth it to go to war with Iraq.” The answer to my question, “Why now?” was quite simplistic: “Bush is heading out of office soon and needs to get this over with.” The next question I posed, “Why Iraq?” was simply answered, “Iraq is the easiest target of the ‘Axis of Evil.’ ” “Why not diplomacy?” I asked. The easy answer was, “Bush, Rumsfeld and the other hawks are hellbent on this mission of war. They are not rational.”

As an educated American, I am embarrassed to admit that I was grossly under-informed. My simplistic answers were the byproduct of simplistic research. My antiwar conclusion came from a thorough misunderstanding of the situation. So, Mr. News Analyst, why has the American position on Iraq changed so drastically? The answer is not bandwagon support or “fair weather war fans.” The real truth is that Americans have been gripped by the reality of the situation and have been driven to do their homework. We have all been forced to pay attention, do some research, listen a lot and have thought-provoking conversations. Why has the American public changed its position from one of floundering uncertainty, to unwavering support for this war? The simplistic answer: knowledge. We have examined the facts and come to an educated opinion; liberating Iraq is not only right and just, it is necessary. When the rest of the world’s antiwar advocates learn a lesson from the American public by finally taking their heads out of the sand to look around, they will inevitably come to the same conclusion.

Kenneth Nelson is a University student. Send letters to the

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