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WE CANNOT REASON WITH A MADMAN

As a veteran who served this nation 10 years ago in the Persian Gulf, I will fight to defend the right of those protesting our imminent military response to the horrific attacks of Sept. 11. However, I am dismayed and disturbed at their viewpoint.

In some of the military conflicts we've fought, we could debate the morality. But in this situation, we can't. How difficult is it to understand that we are fighting for our lives?

Osama bin Laden did not murder nearly 7,000 innocent people because he wants a polite discourse of our Mideast policy. He is an evil madman who wants us dead. He wants to see the ideals that this nation represents stamped out. He wants to see our cities in flames and wants millions of Americans to die. How can we reason with him any better than we could with Hitler or Stalin?

Given the chance, bin Laden would unleash chemical and biological weapons on our cities. I have faced chemical weapons, and despite training and proper equipment, it was sheer terror. How can we reason with a person who would unleash such horror? We've tried sanctions and political pressure with Saddam Hussein for 10 years, with no success.

Don't misconstrue my comments. I've seen war. It's wasteful, cruel and barbaric. But so is what happened to this nation. As a veteran and a Christian, I wish we lived in a world where we didn't have to go to war, but we don't. This war will be about defending ourselves, our nation, our ideals and our families.

We didn't start this war, bin Laden brought it to us. He spilled American blood on American soil, and given a chance he will do it again. Reasoning with him won't work, and failing to end this threat to our security will mean more innocent blood will be spilled.

DON MARTIN JR.

Niagara Falls

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