Students gathered in the Michigan Union fell silent last night as President Bush announced the commencement of bombing in Iraq.
But they didn’t stay quiet for long, voicing an array of concerns and mixed sentiments that leaned toward support for the war.
“I was proud of him,” LSA sophomore Ira Utay said. “As a fellow Texan, I’m proud that he’s backing up his word.”
Art and Design senior Elvontio Peterson said calm demeanor Bush showed in his last two television addresses persuaded him to support military action against Iraq. “My opinion of the war was drastically changed,” he said.
“It seemed like when September 11 happened, (Bush) seemed uneasy. This person came in with more confidence about what he had to say. He gave me more confidence about his decision.”
But LSA sophomore Leonid Bronshteyn said he hesitates to support war because he has no way of telling whether the Iraqi people actually supported war. He asked, “Are we actually liberating them or just making it worse for them?”
LSA junior Rachel Katz said she feels now that war is declared, she has no choice but to support the war.
“If we go to war, then I have to support our troops. I have so much respect for people who voluntarily go to the army,” she said.
Katz was dubious of Bush’s claim that more than 35 countries support the U.S. strike against Iraq, she said. “I wanted him to list some of them,” she said. “To have some little country support us means nothing.”
“It doesn’t surprise me that he waited until after his 8:00 deadline,” LSA junior Louisa Holaday said, referring to Bush’s 48-hour deadline for Saddam to leave Iraq laid out in Monday night’s address.
Holaday said she is not strongly opposed or supportive of the war. “I don’t think I’m 100 percent either way,” she said.
“If I saw this as something (short) that would be OK with me. My problem is I think this is going to escalate into what they call World War III.”
Bronshteyn echoed Holaday’s fears. “Hopefully it’ll be a short war, but it doesn’t look like it,” he said.
Bronshteyn said he was surprised that the bombings started at dawn in Iraq.
He said he remembered bombing starting late at night during the last Persian Gulf War.
Katz said she worries about family members in Israel.
They have been told to start carrying gas masks and get to sealed rooms, she said. “Personal connections make it even more real.”