This week, as last week and the week before that, the topic of conversation is the same. At dinner tables throughout the state, friends and family gather at the end of the and talk about the war.
Judging by the polls, there isn't a lot of arguing going on during dinner. Most people see this war as necessary. Most families aren't in conflict over the Persian Gulf, as they were during the Vietnam era.But for some Utahns, the issues aren't so clear cut.
Salt Laker Katie Dixon has a sister-in-law and brother-in-law in Baghdad. Peggy Dixon Kadir and Naji Kadir and their children and grandchildren are very close to their Utah relations.
Katie Dixon's niece, Mona, lived with the Dixons while she went to the University of Utah. Like her mother, Mona Kadir got a master's degree in fine arts. Benan, Dixon's nephew, has children Dixon loves as if they were her own grandchildren.
Dixon says she also has two nephews in the U.S. military. Scott Balls is in the Air Force. Eddie Loosley is in the Navy.
It is for them, and the others in the U.S. Armed Forces that she posted a yellow ribbon on her front door.
Tonight she has friends gathered around the table. The talk, inevitably, turns to war. Dixon asks them, each in turn, to share their thoughts.
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Katie Dixon: The subject is so near and dear to my heart. My nephew, Sammy, is flying an airplane for the Iraqi government, and my nephew Scott is a radar expert with AWAC in Saudi Arabia.
He's the one who makes certain that our friendly planes do not hit each other. That if they run out of fuel there is a plane there to refuel them.
He loves it. His letters read like a novel.
Scott's very happy. It's gratifying. I've never known a soldier so happy.
And then I think of my other family in Baghdad. No gas. No heat. No sanitation. School interrupted. Virginia's (Virginia Buchanan - a friend) daughter arranged for a Turkish correspondent to go in . . . to find out what their fate is. We haven't heard from them since the war began.
Naji was the first person to get a Ph.D. in engineering from Utah State University. I do know that he built all those beautiful bridges across the Tigris River - the ones that are bombed.
And I do know that Peggy's art is in that beautiful hotel where the correspondents are.
It's sad for me.
I certainly support our armed forces. All the way. I pray for them, and I pray for victory for us. On the other hand I wish our leaders would consider deeply . . . and not kill one more person.
These are real people. . . . These are real people.
This is a bleeding time for me.
Marcia Price: I wrote a poem this afternoon. A very rough draft. She reads. The poem says, in part: "We have separated killing from dying . . . we no longer hear the wounded crying, dying. . . . Have we forgotten that we are all of the same species on this planet? We must quell the flames of hate and war instead of continuing to fan them. . . . Desert Storm has depersonalized war and dying. . . . The sound we hear is probably God crying."
Dixon: And I love your last sentence that God is crying. I firmly believe that. I never met anyone in Baghdad that didn't love America.
Virginia Buchanan: We've been talking about this for so long.
Dixon: As you know, Virginia has a daughter in Amman, Jordan, who is director of an international relief organization, "Save the Children."
Buchanan: For 15 years, I have been treated so marvelously by the Jordanians and the Palestinians in Jordan. From the educated people to the nomads - they love Americans.
Many of them have been suffering. And you know they feel like America has turned its back on them. . . . There are about 180,000 Palestinians in Kuwait, too, and 80,000 of them have no state to go to.
I hope it will be over soon, too. We are going to have to do a lot of talking when it is. People in Jordan kept hoping they could have a peace conference.
I've been heartbroken, too. I've seen so much suffering.
Ingie Lignell: I certainly support our troops, and yet there are so many innocent people being hurt: Katie's family, Virginia's family. . . .
Bonnie Miller: I thought this couldn't happen again. I feel our values are slipping.
We aren't showing growth. We haven't matured enough as a country. We aren't willing to see another point of view. When anyone is upset, the first thing you have to recognize is, to them, what they are feeling is true. . . .
Once you have expended this cost, you have to go ahead. I'm not for quitting now. Once we threatened Saddam, we couldn't back down. I wouldn't have favored the president backing out at the point of the Russian proposal.
But it bothers me, this self-righteous obsession we have. We go to our God, who is supposed to be a peaceful God, and ask him to help us fight a war. . . .
I'm proud of what our troops are doing, too . . . and yet. . . . At first, leaders were telling us we would be there just a short time. That really bothers me, deceit from our government.
I've been reading Hedrick Smith's book about the new Russia. He said the Soviet press is beginning to stop being cheerleaders for the government and start to be watchdogs.
Our people don't want to hear what is really going on. They want cheerleaders. They aren't angry at being deceived by the government; they are angry at the press for telling them the truth. . . .
The truth always comes out, just like it came out that our own troops were killed by friendly fire.
All: Friendly fire. Friendly fire. How can fire be friendly?
Kay Wallace: I'm going to take another position, just for the sake of discussion. Some say that if we don't go in and stop Saddam Hussein now he will come back again, even stronger.
Dixon: They are saying that now. We've destroyed the city - decimated his army. Now they are saying he's so powerful we have to go in there. That's not true. We can control what goes in, and we can be selective of what he buys now.
Miller: I wonder why the Arabs weren't allowed to solve this in their own way. . . ?
Wallace: It's because of oil.
Miller: That's the other hoax I guess. That they (the Arab League) invited us in. You don't tell guests that they can't have Spam.
Dixon: D'Arcy, how do you feel?
D'Arcy Dixon (Katie's daughter): I'm a little bit like Old Faithful when I start talking, I'm so emotional about all this. It started so long ago, on Aug. 2, when they invaded.
When the congressional debates were going on, I became a CNN junkie. I watched every day; I don't think I slept for two nights.
That Friday afternoon before the vote I called my senators and I called my congressmen. And I said, "I have family in Baghdad. Do you understand this? Am I getting through?"
One staff person said, "Ah, is that a `yes' vote or a `no' vote.?"
I said, "It's not a yes or a no vote. I'm trying to tell you I have family. Do you care? I really mean this, `Do you care?' "
They'd already made up their minds and that was my first clue. . . .
When I lived in D.C., I used to walk up to the Vietnam Memorial. My cousin was one of the last ones killed in Vietnam, in 1975. And now I walk at the State Capitol. The night after the vote in Congress, I went there . . . and on our Vietnam Memorial was this statement: "Woe to the statesman whose reasons for starting a war are not as justifiable at the end as they were at the beginning."
It's so ironic. That monument was only dedicated one year ago. The war ended 15 years before that. We can't even take care of our current veterans - and we've started another war. . . .
I'm caught in the middle of a great civil war. I've got one cousin, who I just played volleyball with in Logan last summer - bombing my other cousin who was my roommate.
Didn't we just watch this series on TV?
Where are we going with this? What is the historical relevance? I don't know if we've learned from our past yet. I see no historians involved in the decisionmaking process.
Where this leads me and my family, I don't know. I don't know what the vision is anymore.