Those who forget their history …

When I was a child, we stood in line to be vaccinated for
smallpox like cattle being run through a chute. I still can see the
scar on my left arm; it was no big deal.
When I was a child, we stood in line to be vaccinated for smallpox like cattle being run through a chute. I still can see the scar on my left arm; it was no big deal.

Have you ever seen what smallpox can do to a person? It’s an ugly sight.

What I can’t understand is today’s objection to being vaccinated against smallpox or anthrax. Why the sudden change of mind? Why not object to polio vaccines or malaria pills? The purpose of these vaccines is to keep us healthy against disease through the miracles developed by Edward Jenner and Louis Pasteur.

The odds that something might go wrong are so minimal as to be nonexistent. Maybe the crippling ravages of polio and malaria have faded so far back in the memories of people in this country that the only thing they can focus on is the small risk from being vaccinated.

I’ll tell you one thing; people in the Third World are not turning up their noses at these vaccines. I suppose 50 years after they find a successful vaccine for AIDS there’ll be people who are aware only of the minute risk of a vaccine and will have lost all awareness of the AIDS epidemic.

Maybe it’s a testimony to the success of the polio vaccine that people are only aware of the slight risk of being infected, but I’m old enough to remember a classmate, Linda McDonald, who contracted polio. She was one of the lucky ones – she survived. But she wore heavy, cumbersome leg braces for years and struggled to walk all her life.

Now, if someone thinks the risks of being vaccinated are greater than the risks of contracting the disease, that’s their prerogative, but they shouldn’t try to create a one-sided perspective in the minds of others.

As much as there was support for last week’s column (protesting protesters), equally so it was pointed out that I should not make the comparison between Hitler and Saddam Hussein because the two are not “parallel.”

Not parallel? If Iraq was not trying for territorial expansion in Kuwait the way Hitler was in Poland, or if Hussein did not have the same “Final Solution” for the Kurds that Hitler had for the Jews, then I guess there is no parallel. What we have is a country full of Neville Chamber-lains hoping against hope for “peace in our time.”

In the 1930’s, no serious person ever thought that Germany, so completely defeated in World War I, would ever fashion a comeback and have the ability to threaten the whole world – but they were wrong. All it took was one man. Too often, those who forget their history are forced to relive it.

Knowing what we do know of Hussein, we cannot turn our backs on a people who cannot defend themselves. It would be heartless and irresponsible.

The U.N. inspectors have found that Iraq has missiles exceeding the restrictions placed on them as a result of the Gulf War. This is a clear violation of U.N. sanctions.

If I had no stake in this conflict I would probably be arguing for no war. But I do have a stake. My son is in the 112th Army Infantry Division and he is on his way to the region.

As a mother, I don’t want my son to fight in any war, but I would rather he fight now than for us to wait until Hussein and his ilk grow even stronger.

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