A: The same thing that is on everybody’s mind: the war. I doubt if my thoughts are new or innovativethey are probably as old as war itself. I am aware that the situation is complex and that there are diverse points of view. I understand that there are many people with many interests at stake. I have trouble, however, seeing the issues as being important enough to warrant the terrible tragedies that war will cause. I find it disheartening that it seems so easy for people to dismiss those tragedies when they do not see themselves as being directly affected. Notice how little concern people express about the number of Iraqisor even the number of our Middle Eastern allieswho are likely to die as a result of the war.
Even on a very personal level, we seem to be able to deny the horror if it is not our own. Two days ago, scarcely a day before the shooting began, I had lunch with my mother. Mother is conservative; she still believes the United States government acted properly in Vietnam, and she supports the Bush policy in the Persian Gulf. Yet when I told her that I had been campaigning for peace, she commented that if you or your brother were over there, you can bet Id be out marching, too. She is in support of an action that will kill the daughters and sons of others, though she would oppose the action if her own were involved.
A: Now that war has begun, I do feel the need to support our people who are fighting overseas. Concern for our brothers and sisters in the gulf drives the peace movement. I would refrain from any action that would jeopardize the well-being of those who have been called to fight. Yet I believe that the best solution, the one which will save the most lives now and in the future, is a negotiated settlement. More must be done to achieve this result rather than fighting a war to show that aggression is wrong. I will continue to advocate such a settlement, even if some choose to view my actions as unpatriotic.
A: Let us hope that never happens. The force of law should not be used to compel people to kill. If enough willing people cannot be found to fight, a democratic government must seriously consider whether it is acting according to the will of its people. To answer your question, should this conflict continue to the point where our government is so desperate that they feel the need to draft people like me, I will not participate in the killing, regardless of the legal consequences.
A: My hope is that I am wrong, that history will find the war just, that the costs will be low, and that George Bush will be hailed as a hero who has paved the way for a lasting peace in the Middle East.
— RonRisley – 17 Jan 1991