Why the POW Video SHOULD be Shown

by Thom Riddle jtriddle@worldnet.att.net

In 1968 I was a college student with a secure 2-S draft deferment. Yet, I dropped out of college and joined the US Navy during the height of the Vietnam War (or the American War as the Vietnamese called it). I did not serve in a combat zone but I was hospitalized at Great Lakes Naval Hospital for surgery performed on me while in boot camp. When enlisting I was as gung ho as anyone I knew. This all changed when I got as close to battle as anyone could be without actually being there. I lived vicariously through some of the worst battles of this war via stories related by my hospital mates, most of whom were there to recuperate from their horrible war wounds. Their wounds ranged the complete gamut including missing limbs, total blindness, and terrible disfigurements from burns over 90% of the body. Although not all agreed, these were the lucky ones since over 50,000 of their comrades returned in body bags.

From the foregoing, one might assume that I am a bleeding heart anti-war activist, but such is not the case. Nor am I a hawk. The parallels between the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq are few and far between. The justification for our Iraq attack is well documented and the truth and logic of the decision to do so will be demonstrated to all soon enough.

This brings me back to the title, "Why the POW video SHOULD be shown". WAR IS HELL and should be avoided wherever and whenever possible as long as our security and the security of other freedom loving peoples are not threatened. When war becomes inevitable, its reality should be known by all. I am certain that the descriptions of the video we have all heard can not do them justice. The adage, "a picture is worth a thousand words" certainly applies here. The Arab world has seen this video and drawn its own conclusions. The rest of the world deserves to see the video so that any doubts about the character of Saddam Hussein and his vicious regime will forever be obliterated. The service men's suffering I saw in the hospital in 1968 left an indelible image in my mind. Fortunately, this image of war does not haunt me, rather it has served me well as a constant reminder that the majority of the people in this world do not have the freedoms that many Americans and Europeans take for granted.

Our freedom comes at a horrible price but the alternative of living under a regime like the Iraqis have endured for over 30 years is not an option. If Saddam Hussein had his wish, which he has made abundantly clear, he would destroy the western way of life and dominate the world. In this regard he is no different from Hitler or Stalin. If the free world were allowed to see the utter depravity of the Iraqi regime, there would in all likelihood be only two major responses. The weak hearted would say that this was all the more reason to quit the war while the strong willed would be aghast that we have permitted this regime to exist as long as we have. In either case, the reality of war and the incredible cruelty of this regime MUST be known by all. Hiding the truth from the public is NEVER the right thing to do.