U.S. actions should be careful and cautious

(U-WIRE) COLUMBUS, Ohio — At this very moment, warships are positioning themselves in the Persian Gulf. Clinton is sending more than 3,500 troops, among them young people our own age, into the region.
The dogs of war are on the prowl, baby.
Time to slap Metallica into the tape deck and head for the road, an automatic rifle in one arm and a six-pack of beer on the dashboard. Saddam Hussein has got to go!
Or does he? Who would replace him? In the extreme totalitarian regime that Saddam has created, there doesn’t seem to be that many people jumping up in glee to replace him. And there are some other problems here with this whole weird situation.
How effective would the bombings be?
And what about the civilians?
Granted, the United States hasn’t done a spectacular job in that area. There’s been Hiroshima and Dresden, Nagasaki and Hanoi. Reagan must have felt like a real man the day he bombed Libya.
As much as reckless, joy-riding behavior suits our teenage mentalities, we believe, for some insane reason, that maybe our government should be more responsible than that.
Our government shouldn’t act like a bunch of thugs going out on a hit to ice Don Julia. We’re the United States of America, in many cases the leader of the world, and our government should act like it.
Yes, the situation in Iraq is grave and dangerous, which is all the more reason that it should be handled with care and caution.
As bizarre and entirely retro as was the scene last spring at the “town meeting” in St. John Arena, it nevertheless taught an important lesson: Perhaps the American people, and especially the young, aren’t quite ready to unite behind this issue and do something about it.
The “Ohio Thing,” as the diplomats now call it, has hopefully taught our leaders that when they finally act, they need to do the right thing, and quickly.
The current relationship with Iraq is very delicate. In our relative comfort, the United States is not as safe as it seems.
Before it was closed down by budget cuts, the investigatory arm of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was able to break into half of the nation’s nuclear reactors undetected, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.
A single drop of the VX gas Saddam Hussein has produced could cause, upon contact, a person to lose all bodily functions and die within two seconds. Definitely a major foul.
The anthrax bacterium, Bacillus Anthracas, is a little less dramatic, but nevertheless quite deadly. Lying dormant for up to seven days after being inhaled, it proceeds to eat away at a person’s lungs, killing them within 24 hours unless treated with antibiotics.
An aerosol canister containing either one of these substances could cause a great deal of damage or death if sprayed in, say, Times Square; or what about the Oval? Saddam Hussein had such agents at his disposal in the past, and according to the U.N. Special Commission, he still has them today.
In an interview on CNN Wednesday, Gen. Hugh Shelton, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, stated that even if all of the potential targets on the current list were hit, it would be highly unlikely that all of Saddam Hussein’s reserves of chemical and biological weapons would be destroyed. An attack on Iraq would only be suitable “to degrade Iraq’s ability to threaten its neighbors.”
Though a noble objective, to degrade Iraq may not be worth it if anthrax or VX gas is set loose on our streets.
Television and the Vietnam War taught the valuable lesson that as soon as the war was brought home, opinions changed. The nation was traumatized. Clinton came of age in that era. We hope he learned his lessons well.
We cannot offer the right solution to this crisis. There is definitely an extreme danger to the security of the United States involved with the situation with Iraq.
Perhaps we’ll leave the decision up to our leaders. That’s why we elected them into office. Let them earn their pay and make the right choices.
We can only hope that before violence is once again employed, before innocent civilians die for the actions of a foolish dictator, before extremists — unable to accept that justice has left their side — commit the most heinous acts, that reason and common sense will win the day.
This staff editorial first appeared Friday in The Lantern at Ohio State University.