The Line in the Sand : The Fate of Kuwait and Beyond

One remark Donna Langlois always heard at Thanksgiving dinner was: Mom, why did you make all this food? And sure enough, she had done it again.

There was the 23-pound turkey, two kinds of stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberries, dinner rolls, parsnips, turnips, squash, peas, creamed onions, beets, asparagus, three kinds of pie and cranberry bread.

But this year the big spread was not such a big deal. The world intruded on the holiday, distracting from it with a shadow dance of war. Donna wanted to think America was right to send troops to the Persian Gulf. But who knew?

Her mind did flips about it. Iraq can't be permitted to take over Kuwait, she reasoned. But did America get involved to defend principles or oil? The answer almost depended on which network news program she tuned in.

What do Americans really know of these places, anyway? Donna's idea of the Middle East came from "Lawrence of Arabia." Recently, she found out that Kuwait was not even a democracy. "Bottom line, we're going to turn that country back into the same monarchy it was before," she said.

And is that worth losing a son over? No, of course it isn't. But would she feel differently if her son was not there in the midst of it? Well, maybe yes. This whole thing is so full of contradictions.

The only sure thing may be the evil of that man Saddam Hussein. He has the look of the devil. Donna thinks she has seen it only twice before. "Moammar Kadafi was one," she said. "And Charles Manson the other."

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