The most interesting thing about the latest war threat is that the young people were not out in the street protesting, as did those who were against our involvement in Vietnam.
Why? To find out I went to Clyde's in Georgetown. It was Friday night and the bar was jammed.
I went up to a man nursing a beer. "Are you against us going to war in Iraq?"
He took a swig from the bottle. "What war?"
"The one the president is threatening to launch because he is losing his patience."
"I read something about it, but I didn't follow the details."
He took another swig and turned to the girl next to him. "A guy wants to know about the war."
His girl said, "It's none of his business."
I persisted. "Suppose Bush brought back the draft?"
The man said, "He wouldn't do that. It would be politically incorrect. Can we talk about something meaningful, like who's going to win the Super Bowl?"
I moved down the bar and said, "Anyone here going out into the streets to protest what the government is doing?"
A fellow in a tank shirt said, "It won't do any good. My father protested the Vietnam War and the only thing we have to show for it is 58,000 names on a wall. Kissinger still insists America did the right thing."
The young man next to him said, "I would rather go to a concert for Eminem than Iraq."
A student who said he was a major in political science at Georgetown University told me, "The president is our commander in chief, and if he doesn't know what to do, Dick Cheney does."
His friend said, "Are you buying?"
I said, "Why do you ask?"
"I don't like to give an opinion until somebody is buying."
"Okay, I'm buying. What do you think about your generation?"
Another drinker said, "We don't have to go out on the streets to protest. We have the Internet and that is how our voices can be heard. I can e-mail Bush and he will listen to me more than if I carried a "No War" sign in front of the White House."
Someone said, "Let's drink to the Internet." The people at the bar raised their glasses.
"We hate war," a girl cried, "but we're not going to make a big deal of it."
I didn't make much progress with the beer drinkers, but I knew it was not a scientific sampling. I left the bar Friday night. The next morning the kids left Clyde's and said, "Let's roll."
(c)2003 Tribune Media Services Inc.