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Gulf ware needlessly risks massive death and injury

Death and destruction approach in the Persian Gulf. Some people here at MIT take a callous attitude over what is about to happen, and this worries me.

For example, I read in Timothy M. Townsend '91's letter ["At home and abroad: Two views of gulf crises," Dec. 11] that "there will be no shortage of hard military targets for our airpower and advanced weapons" in Iraq.

He completely forgets that there are people at these targets and that they will be dismembered and set on fire when "our advanced weapons" rain down on them. He does not seem to understand that war is dirty business, that it is bloody murder.

Not too long ago, I found myself on Highway 128 at 7:30 in the evening. I saw eight lanes packed with cars, and inside each car there was someone going to work. The amount of gasoline consumed, just on that single stretch of highway, was immense. This picture is repeated every morning and evening, on hundreds of highways in the United States. Taking in that scene, I understood why some want to start a war for oil.

Some people I have talked to are willing to trust implicitly what President George Bush is doing about the situation -- sending in the army to avoid a war. This strikes me as Orwellian, because it seems to me the best way to not get into a war is not to send in the army in the first place.

My brother is of draft age, and I want him to live to be an old man. Bush is not going to die in a war with Iraq; we and the Iraqis will. I am not convinced that the oil, or Kuwait, or "defending the world against aggression," or any of the other reasons I have heard are sufficient to start the process of mass murder. My life is not threatened if I have to pay $2 or even $10 for a gallon of gasoline.

It is certainly odd that I do not see the Swedes sending their troops, or the Indians, although both countries certainly have as much at stake over the price of oil as the United States.

Why is it that only the United States is so hell-bent on fighting? First, I think it is because many view the oil as "ours" because, after all, we will probably buy most of it. But it is not our oil, and in any case the Iraqis will need to sell it even if they control all of it.

Second, the war will not have much effect on our day-to-day lives, and very few of us will actually be at risk. I read in The Tech that there are no MIT reservists in the Persian Gulf ["No MIT reservists in the Persian Gulf," Dec. 11]. The fighting will be thousands of miles away, and it will be the hated Iraqi soldiers and civilians that will be maimed and killed, not our loved ones.

Third, we have these really cool weapons that we paid a lot of money for, and they make us invincible. When the fighting starts, we will show the Iraqis how to fight, and who is boss.

If Saddam Hussein actually does turn into Hitler, let the world deal with him then. Until that time, I am willing to wait for the sanctions, and pay more for gasoline.

Peter Mott G->