The Confrontation in Iraq: Two Perspectives

First Perspective: Are Americans Prepared?

The talk of war against Iraq has dominated the news for months, but despite the real and present danger of war, a majority of households in the United States are not prepared to meet a major disaster.

A recent national survey, conducted by Duracell & Harris Interactive, a worldwide marketing research and consulting firm best known for the Harris poll, revealed that millions of households in the United States do not have plans to guide them in case of a major terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Furthermore, a fourth of the survey respondents think a major terrorist attack is less likely to occur than a greater alarm fire.

Surprisingly, only 22 percent of New York households have disaster plans in place, even after Sept. 11, 2001.

The figure is surprising because 38 percent of New Yorkers expressed fear of another terrorist attack. Fewer than half — 48 percent — of households in Los Angeles have disaster plans in place.

Recently, the United States raised the terrorist alert warning to orange, the second-highest threat condition level. Red is the highest.
On the positive side, 75 percent of the nation’s household members know how to contact one another in case of an emergency, 78 percent have a first aid kit and 52 percent have at least one member trained in CPR.
Still, there are gaps that need to be closed. Fewer than half of all households have an evacuation plan. Los Angeles, with 51 percent, and Atlanta and Detroit, with 52 percent each, are the only cites in which more than half of all households have such a plan.

There are some simple steps that can be taken by the head of every household to help ensure family safety. The two most important of these steps are making a plan and assembling a disaster survival kit.

Every member of every family in the United States should know what to do and where to go in the event of a major terrorist attack or natural disaster.

Several social service agencies offer preparedness literature. It is also available at public libraries and certain local civic offices of elected officials. A wealth of information also can be found on the Internet.

The American Red Cross, the nation’s No. 1 humanitarian organization, is offering a disaster preparedness course called “Together We Prepare L.A.” at its Burbank, East Los Angeles, Inglewood, Torrance and Van Nuys service centers.

Students will learn, among other things, how to put together a disaster kit, make a family emergency plan and how to shelter-in-place. The course fee is $5, about the cost of a couple of Happy Meals at McDonald’s.

We would all do well to remember the motto of the Boy Scouts of America: Be prepared.

— Tex Wells

Second Perspective: How Do You Think It Feels?

Imagine hearing bomb alerts and fearing for your life every second of the day. How do you think that feels?

Hiding in the basement and hoping that you’ll survive the ordeal?
How do you think it feels?

Living in terror is the worst thing that can happen to anyone.

President George W. Bush addressed the country on Sept. 11, 2001 saying that people of U.S. should not live in terror because that would mean that the terrorists had won.

Who is the terrorist now?

Does Bush have the right to put an entire country in danger because of a feud with its leader? Should a country be punished because America disagrees with the way its president leads it?

Does Bush have the right to terrorize innocent civilians?

According to recent news coverage, many Iraqi civilians have left their homes with nowhere to go. They probably are going to live in refugee camps until the war is over. All of the schools have been closed.
There is little activity in the streets of Iraq. In my opinion, the U.S. invasion of Iraq is akin to someone being where he has no business being.

“They are putting so many lives at stake. It will only bring more division, hate and tension between nations,” said Glendale College student Arianah Harville, 18, theater major.

War means fighting for a cause. But what is really the cause of this war? Has the president been honest with his nation?

Has he been straight forward about the reason as to why he eagerly wanted to start war with Iraq?

As of Thursday, war is real. It means no matter its purpose, no matter its justification, somewhere there will be death, destruction and terror.

The war has started, and there is nothing we can do to change that. The only thing that we can hope for is that it will be over as soon as possible, with as few victims as possible.

We have to be prepared for the worst, and that means we must open our minds and realize what is going on around us.

It means being alert at all times and reporting any suspicious activity that we might see around us to the proper authorities. We should psychologically prepare ourselves for what is yet to come.

— Ofelya Martirosyan