For weeks, we've watched and listened as the so-called anti-war movement has stepped up its efforts to vocalize its message through demonstrations, newspaper ads and celebrity spokespersons.

Last Wednesday here at the University of Kentucky (UK), about 200 students joined thousands nationwide in a day of rallies to protest the upcoming war with Iraq.

The event was sponsored by an array of groups that one would probably expect: Leftist Student Union, Feminists' Alliance, UK Green Party and the like.

As I have watched more and more of these events, I have become convinced that the majority of these folks are not really anti-war, but, in fact, anti-Bush.

Take, for example, two of the signs used during Wednesday's rally: "Save America, Spare Iraq, make Texas take him back" and "W stands for 'Wrong for America.'"

Something tells me that if president Al Gore were in the same situation, many of the people at these "peace" rallies would be throwing war parties.

I am not pro-war. I don't know anyone who is. I do think that in some situations, war is necessary. I heard some people at the protest say that war can never be justified. Professor Pat Cooper said peace can never be gained through violence.

Both of these statements are fundamentally wrong. Who would claim that war was not justified after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor? Or after the Sept. 11 attacks? In the first case, peace was achieved through war, and for 50 years, Japan has been one of our strongest allies. In Afghanistan, our armed forces and those of other nations have terrorist leaders on the run, a violent and repressive regime has been dismantled and Al Qaeda associates are being arrested left and right, just as we saw last week.

Other protesters claimed the humanitarian costs of a war with Iraq far outweigh any objectives that the United States might have in fighting.

They say the civilian lives that will be lost and the refugees the war will create should force the Bush administration to reconsider its plans. What they don't seem to take into account are the thousands of civilian lives that Saddam Hussein's government has taken and the thousands more who have been beaten or tortured, many of them children.

There are human costs in any war. They are always terrible results of miscalculations or simple mistakes, and they are always inevitable, especially when the brutal leader of the nation under attack places human shields at strategic sites he knows will be bombed.

Still others attending the rally claimed President Bush has not taken the diplomatic road to solving the crisis. I guess they have been ignoring the past two months of news.

The Bush administration has done more than enough to try to solve the situation through diplomatic means.

Whether Germany and France -- two of our "allies" -- support us in the war is unimportant. From what you hear on the news, you might believe that Britain is our only supporter. Yet there are over 20 European nations supporting the war, as well as several Middle Eastern nations.

The Left thinks that if we don't have the support of France, we’re acting unilaterally. This is simply not the case.

The protesters at the rally seemed to be nice people, some of whom might actually be anti-war.

Those whose beliefs are not formed by the fact that the president is a Republican should be commended for their courage in demonstrating their views. They are rock-solid in their beliefs.

Yet they are wrong. If Saddam Hussein is left in power, he will only become more and more dangerous, not only to Middle Eastern nations, but to the United States as well. That is something we cannot stand for.

Wes Blevins is a senior at the University of Kentucky where he majors in history. He is a contributing columnist for The Kentucky Kernel, the campus newspaper where this column originally appeared.  Students at the University of Kentucky watch the Fox News Channel on their campus cable system.

Respond to the Writer