9/11 Victims Look At War

The Early Show, CATHY TRANT
CBS/The Early Show
When George W. Bush ran for president, his campaign promises focused on domestic and economic issues, not foreign policy. But the attacks of Sept. 11 made fighting terrorism the president's top priority. While it's true that there are probably as many opinions on the war with Iraq as there were victims of Sept. 11, The Early Show Correspondent Melinda Murphy spoke with two women who give voice to many of the mixed emotions surrounding the war.

Although there has been no proven link between Saddam Hussein and the events of Sept. 11, there is no question that in many ways the seeds for this war were planted that day.

A Marine in an undisclosed location says, "As far as I'm concerned, we can't let another Sept. 11 happen. By doing what we're doing here, we are helping to prevent another Sept. 11."

But does it, really? That's the question The Early Show correspondent Melinda Murphy put to two women who lost loved ones in the 2001 attack.

Myrna Bethke says, "Returning violence for violence doesn't get you anywhere."

While Cathy Trant asks, "How could we not stand behind our president? Who would want Sept. 11 on their shoulders?"

Trant lost her husband, Danny, that morning. For Bethke it was her brother, Billy. Both men were in Tower One of New York's World Trade Center.

Although they share a common history, these women have very different views on the present.

"There's no one from Sept. 11 who doesn't want some kind of consequences on those who perpetuated those actions," says Bethke. "But it doesn't mean we have to go to war about it. We need to look for other alternatives."

But Trant says, "We tried peace. Who's going to stop it? I think Saddam Hussein is a terrorist and if he got hold of mass weapons, he would send his people over here and my children could be murdered. And I'm not going to allow that to happen and our government should not allow that to happen."

Each woman has turned her grief into action. Bethke, a Methodist minister, is leading her congregation in peace vigils. Trant, a mother, is teaching her children to speak out

When asked what he thought about going to war, Cathy Trant's son Alex says, "I think we should because if we don't then we're just waiting for him to do something worse."

And opinions even differ about going into Afghanistan to fight al Queda - the perpetuators of Sept. 11. Trant's husband's name was painted on the side of the second bomb dropped there.

"I had some mixed feelings," she says. "I knew what a bomb does, but to have my husband to be honored because he was murdered for no reason... just hatred - and that bomb helped other people."

Bethke says "that makes me very sad to think that we would paint someone's name on a bomb and then drop it and say, 'This one is for you,' as if that's going to bring back the person who was killed, instead for me that just continues the violence."

What Bethke and Trant agree on is their hope for the future.

"I think we're praying for a place where everybody lives in such peace and security and every person has dignity and respect so that they don't feel driven to commit acts of violence," says Bethke.

Both also are concerned for the citizens of Iraq - and what our bombs could be doing to children and families there.