Oct 312004
Authors: Ben Bleckley

On the eve of Election Day, it is time for a fair and balanced

reality check.

Saddam Hussein is a bad man. He gassed his own people. It is

good he is no longer in power.

But the full cost of our involvement in Iraq has yet to be


More than 100,000 civilians have died in Iraq since the United

States invaded in 2003, according to a report released by the

Lancet Medical Journal Friday. These deaths were mainly attributed

to bombings by coalition forces.

A great amount of our ammunition is tipped with depleted

uranium, a radioactive material that is twice as hard as lead and

capable of piercing armor. When this ammunition explodes, the

depleted uranium becomes a fine powder, easily inhaled or dissolved

into water.

The World Health Organization states that “inhaled uranium

particles, tend to be retained in the lung and may lead to

irradiation damage of the lung and even lung cancer if a high

enough radiation dose results over a prolonged period” in the

report “Depleted uranium: sources, exposure and health


Iraqi officials claim that the use of these same weapons during

the Gulf War in 1991 has caused an epidemic of cancer and birth


At home, 42 million people have no health insurance.

The national debt is more than $7 zillion.

As a nation we use 2.5 million barrels of oil each day.

Eventually this resource will run dry, if the threat of global

warning (which every other nation in the world has accepted as

fact) doesn’t destroy us first. Our guzzling sport utility vehicles

pump harmful pollutants into the air and still we have failed to

join the rest of the free world in supporting the Kyoto Protocol.

While nations such as Japan produce the most fuel-efficient cars in

the world, the current government is focusing on hydrogen fuel

cells, a technology that won’t be environmentally or

technologically feasible for another 15 years.

Nationwide, the price of college has increased 35 percent in the

last three years, and I know I’m feeling it. No Child Left Behind

has some good ideas, but it has no funding, forcing schools to

implement programs they can’t fund. Schools are funded partially by

property taxes, making suburban schools more well funded and urban

schools less so.

Abstinence-only education is the only federally funded sex

education program. According to www.plannedparenthood.org, “when

(students) do become sexually active, they often fail to use

condoms or other contraceptives. Meanwhile, students in

comprehensive sexuality education classes do not engage in sexual

activity more often or earlier, but they do use contraception and

practice safer sex more consistently when they become sexually

active.” Currently, 35 percent of school districts require that

abstinence is taught as the only sexual option for unmarried


Lawmakers are attempting to divide our nation and restrict the

rights of at least 10 percent of our citizens by passing a Federal

Marriage Amendment. They seem to be concerned with preserving the

values of the American family. I, for one, am not concerned about

being lured away by a male from my fianc�e’s side. Maybe

others feel differently.

While I’m sure his heart President Bush’s heart is in the right

place, his policies are not. While Sen. John Kerry would not be my

first choice for president, he has the best chance of replacing our

president. To preserve our nation and move us forward to tomorrow,

vote for John Kerry this Tuesday.

Ben Bleckley is a junior English major. His column runs every

Monday in the Collegian.

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