Imagine my surprise when I saw a humor column in Wednesday’s opinion section of this fine newspaper written by a David Weston (“Don’t Believe the Media Machine; This War Is About Oil Interests,” Oct. 10). When I finished reading it, I had a good laugh, but then I came to a realization: Mr. Weston’s opinion column was serious. He really believes this war is about oil interests. And so here I am, writing to reveal my own opinion on the matter, supported by facts with actual validity and truth to them.

First, Afghanistan is not an oil-producing nation; they export no oil. Afghanistan is an agricultural nation; their main exports are agricultural products such as fruits, nuts and honey. Afghanistan is a major world producer of opium, and they also export natural gas, small gems, animal hides and carpets – but no oil. All oil fields are located in the north of Afghanistan, which we all know is where the more U.S.-friendly Taliban opposition resides. The majority of our oil does not come from the Middle East, but rather from our own oil deposits.

We did not fight the Gulf War for American oil interests, as so many believe. Saddam Hussein accused the Kuwaitis of overproduction of oil, which cost Iraq $14 million when oil prices fell, and also of pumping oil from Iraq’s oil fields. He invaded Kuwait; the UN told him to stop. He didn’t, and a U.S.-led coalition of nations from the UN stopped him. We allow Saddam to trade oil for food and medical supplies, but he withholds them from his people. Our mistake is that we didn’t remove him.

Exxon Mobil is an oil company. Of course, they’re interested in oil in the Middle East – it’s their business. Coca-Cola is also interested in business in the Middle East. So is a multitude of other businesses that would enjoy doing business there, bringing money and jobs to a very poor economy. Seventy percent of Afghanis are unemployed; I bet they’d be happy to get a job with one of our oil companies and actually be able to eat on a regular basis.

Who controls the power in our government? We do; it’s called voting. We control and we own big business – some of us here could become oil execs. Stop spouting class warfare, Mr. Weston. We are all alike.

Homeland? Do we not make our home here on this continent? Is this not our land? Shouldn’t we protect our homes? Protecting the homeland sounds good to me. I don’t think anyone who has any shred of common sense and mediocre knowledge of history would compare us to the Nazis. If we were using this to attack any opposition to our country, wouldn’t we be attacking the People’s Republic of China? Cuba? Possibly even the Palestinians? And so many others? It’s clear, Mr. Weston, that you never paid attention in history class and never learned who the Nazis were.

There are times when war is necessary, and this is one of them. Over five thousand Americans were killed on September 11; also, there were citizens of 87 other countries who died in the attack. The last time that many Americans died on our own land was the Civil War. Half as many died at Pearl Harbor. Those were our brothers and sisters, moms and dads, sons and daughters, aunts, uncles, etc. Think of the tens of thousands of children who have no more mommies or daddies, or both. War is needed. War made us a nation in the Revolutionary War. War rid us of the evils of slavery in the Civil War. If there’s a draft – which there won’t be – I won’t use any student deferment to stop my going to war to protect our way of life, or allow some other mother’s son to fight and possibly die in my stead.

So it ends, Mr. Weston. Stop your socialist rhetoric, amusing as it may be. Go read a history book and learn a little more about the outside world. That goes for others, too.

Eric Petersen is a freshman business economics major.