Dear Editor:

Rarely, there may be times when a nation must wage war. (See World War II.) However, I pray before our leaders again decide on war, they fully consider the consequences. What happens when they don’t? Madeleine Albright described President George Bush’s invasion of Iraq as, “The worst foreign policy decision the United States has made — ever!” She is correct, in my opinion.

Now, what should our leaders consider? Certainly, the cost in military lives. And, in addition, the effects on their family members. When they see an official car stop out front, an officer, then a chaplain, emerge and walk to the door, it is a heart-stopping event. No one will ever — ever — forget the dreaded moment when they learn their loved one has been injured or killed.

I hope what follows will help to explain the lifelong effect of losing a beloved family member. My father, Navy Chaplain Thomas LeRoy Kirkpatrick, made the ultimate sacrifice Dec. 7, 1941, leaving my mother and me behind. We never truly recovered. I describe the profound effects on us in my memoir, “The Love that Endures.” For the rest of her life, as Mother sat in church each Sunday, she quietly wept.

Why is it important we all understand this? It’s been widely speculated that our president, in a desperate attempt to retain power, may create some sort of diversion shortly before the election, up to and including trying to take us to war. We must all pray this doesn’t happen, but, if it does, that we are able to stop him.

Thomas I. Kirkpatrick

Half Moon Bay

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