The overwhelming anti-war sentiment coming from the town of Isla Vista sounds like it is coming from a flock of sheep wearing blinders. To not see that Saddam and the current anti-American regime in power in Iraq pose an immediate threat to our safety is absurd and closed-minded to the facts.

President Bush has done an incredible job in handling the post 9/11 world, and the last thing any president wants is the two largest terrorist attacks in the history of this country to happen during his time in office. So, to keep a vigilant watch on Iraq and make sure that it follows rules implemented by the U.N. after the Gulf War, with regard to the capability to produce weapons of mass destruction, can’t be seen as a bad thing.

Iraq currently has mustard gas, Tabun, sarin, cyclosarin and VX. It also has mobile laboratories to create these poisons so that it can more easily hide them from U.N. weapons inspectors, not to mention a well funded nuclear program that experts say will have the ability to create a nuclear weapon in one to two years. All of this is held by a volatile madman who doesn’t see weapons of mass destruction as a last resort and has expressed his views that the United States and its allies are targets for his weapons. Iraq has been uncooperative for the past 10 years, denying weapons inspectors total access and threatening them, all while ignoring requests to be humane to its own citizens.

We are not dealing with rational people that have the same respect for human life as us. Letting Iraq break the rules set forth by the U.N. to make the world a safer place with no consequences is a drastic error we can’t afford to make. The fact that the U.N. inspectors aren’t allowed into Iraq’s eight presidential palaces is ridiculous. It is comparable to suspecting your child of owning a handgun, and, when you go to search his room, he tells you it is okay to look everywhere except his sock drawer.

The last thing I want and the last thing the president wants is to have to use force against Iraq. In the president’s speech on Monday, he made it quite clear what Iraq would have to do to prevent a strike: declare and destroy all weapons of mass destruction in accordance with U.N. resolutions, end its support for terrorism, cease the persecution of its civilian population, stop all illicit trade outside the U.N. oil-for-food program, and release or account for all Gulf War personnel – including one American pilot whose fate remains unknown.

All of these requests seem very reasonable, but I don’t know what scares me more: the fact that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction, supports terrorism, persecutes its civilian population and still has Americans held hostage; or the fact that many of my neighbors don’t care and would like to see the president and Congress do nothing about it.

If Iraq doesn’t meet all of the president’s demands, the minimal civilian casualties in Iraq by a few well placed U.S. bombs on Iraq’s stockpiled weapons and chemical plants is a lesser evil than the possibility of reliving the horrific events of Sept. 11.

Ryan Wilson is a senior mechanical engineering major.