These are troubling times and I’m wondering about a few things.

I wonder, if we attacked Iraq, what are the chances of killing Saddam Hussein? If we did kill him, would others who think like him come up in the ranks? How many of his forces and current government members would we have to kill? Would the people in his country who don’t support his rule stand up to oppose him, or would they join forces with him to repel our invasion? Would they have a choice? As collateral deaths mount and as property gets destroyed, where would their loyalties be?

Would an attack by us deter or propel Saddam to use chemical or nuclear weapons, if he has them? I wonder how long we would have to commit troops and resources to Iraq if we thought we did kill him. I wonder how long we will be in Afghanistan.

I’m also wondering, if we got rid of Saddam, to what degree would that hamper the operations of al-Qaeda? Wouldn’t more people join them when they see the United States attack Iraq? Would al-Qaeda be less or more inclined to take catastrophic retribution measures? How many foreign countries would we have to invade to try to route them out? Would the leaders of other “rogue nations” think, “we’re next,” and be motivated to launch a preemptive attack, perhaps even nuclear, on us? How long do we try to control who gets to be a nuclear power? Can we achieve it in the future, having been unable to do it in the past?

I wonder why so much of the Arab world is angry with us. What do Bin Laden, Hussein and the rest of the “axis of evil” want from us? Are they all mad monsters, perverted by some mad interpretation of a religion? Even if they are, why do they have millions of Arab sympathizers? Why don’t our newspapers and TV news shows tell us their side of the story? Why does there seem to be a total blackout of the other side of the story?

Why do they hate us? I wonder what “hate” is. We so readily use that word. What does it mean? Do I have any of it in me? What does it look like in me? How are those who hate us so totally different than us? I wonder if we in the U.S., representing 4% of the world’s population and consuming 30% of its resources, have a different world view. Do we want people to live like us, to consume seven times their share? We wonder why everybody can’t be like us. I wonder why we can’t be like everybody else.

I wonder what causes “desperate” acts? “De” + “sperare” = away from hope, hopeless. When others commit hopeless acts, how do we respond? Do we respond to desperate acts with desperate acts? Do we give or take away hope from the world? I wonder what kind of response would give hope to the world.

What is the most powerful thing that the President and elected representatives of the most powerful nation on earth can do to bring hope, to heal the planet? I wonder.

P.S. I wonder if some people who read this will be upset. I wonder why these questions might be upsetting?