At 7: 12 PM on Wednesday, March 19, 2003, President Bush authorized a full-scale war on Iraq and the Saddam Hussein led regime by uttering just two simple words. "Let's go," President George W. Bush said to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Wednesday at the close of a nearly four-hour meeting in the Oval Office. The war on Iraq, which has been given the title "Operation: Iraqi Freedom", is the result of months of Hussein's refusal to let United Nations weapons inspectors into Iraq. The U. N.

suspects that Hussein has been building and harboring "weapons of mass destruction" into Iraq. This problem goes as far back as the early '90's when former President Bush initiated the Gulf War on account of very similar issues. Aside from not letting U. N. inspectors into Iraq, Hussein has been a brutal dictator towards his own people for the better part of a decade.

President Bush says that one of the main objectives of winning this war is to completely rebuild Iraq and make it a safe place for people to live. To do this, the American troops must take Hussein out of power. The beginning of the war was preceded by a forty-eight hour period that President Bush had given Hussein for a chance to comply with the U. N.

and avoid war. President Bush's final attempts at peace were not accepted and he began what the Pentagon is calling a "decapitation attack." More than forty satellite-guided Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from U. S. warships in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. In the days soon afterward, American troops advanced into Iraq and launched a head-on attack towards Iraq's capital city of Baghdad. Iraqi officials reported that only in the first two days of these attacks, that seventy-two missiles had hit Baghdad, killing four Iraqi officials.

Another school year is coming to a close, as is a chapter in the senior class of 2003's lives. As the excitement escalades and the dream of leaving high school is becoming more and more of a reality, the seniors are realizing that their senior year is different from previous senior classes. They are graduating during a time of war, a time that could possibly be on of the biggest events in their lives. They will all be affected by it, some of them might be in it, and none of them will forget it. "I will remember this senior year, and time of war, as I have remembered a specific passage from the book of Ezekiel. 'The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brothers' keeper and the finder of lost children.' " said senior Michael Pampuro. "After this war," says Pampuro, "I believe that Iraq will be used as a model of democracy in the Middle East." For other seniors, the idea of the war is still soaking in. "It's really scary, you know? Not knowing what's going to happen, and knowing that people are over their dying. I just hope there isn't a draft." said senior Allison Cooley. For a couple St. Benedict teachers, the war hits a little to close to home.

Seventh and eight grade teachers Mrs. Mason and Mrs. Chando, both have close relatives that have been called to serve their country in Iraq. Mrs. Chando's first cousin, Col.

Lance Atkins, is the commander of an Apache helicopter unit that is stationed somewhere in Iraq. Recently, two men under his command were captured by Iraqi troops. Mrs. Mason's husband, Bill Mason,.