Troy Hawks, 19, is angry at the terrorists but blames America for the attack. "I think what these people have done is indescribable. I think we should figure out a way to solve this problem, but me, personally, going to fight and being drafted? I think we're a lot responsible for what's been happening because we created Osama bin Laden in the '80s, and he beat the Russians, then we bailed out on him. So he's really pissed at us. If we didn't do that back then, we wouldn't be having this problem. But it's a worldwide problem, and I think America has to step in and do something about it because the rest of the world -- India, Israel -- have told us to do something about it for years. Now it's our turn. I don't want to be drafted, but if I was, I would fight for my country. But I personally don't want a war."
Ryan Elrod, 18, is a student at Grossmont College. His education has convinced him that the system he lives in is not worth defending. "I wouldn't go fight in another country for this country because I have no allegiance to it. I think nationalism is kind of silly. I'm a history major, so I'm looking at it from a historical point of view. People who, like, follow their country and go off to die for their country -- whenever I read about them, I just think they're silly. And now it's funny because I'm actually seeing people who are willing to do it.
"I don't believe in the United States' imperialism. I don't believe in what this country does overseas to poorer nations. Like, this is a rich nation and we take advantage of the poorer nations. I'm not downplaying what happened, and I think it's horrible, but I don't think we have the jurisdiction to go into a sovereign nation and take a person who is not under our constitution or our laws because we think we're the big boys and we have public pressure here to, like, get things done.
"I don't think I'm suited for fighting in a war. I wouldn't want to go through the physical training to get into the shape to go into war, and I don't want to go into the Army, because I don't want to take orders from other people. Even if I did get drafted, I wouldn't go because I don't think the draft is constitutional."
A computer science and music major at UCSD, Peter Segerstrom, 22, finds the thought of fighting a war pointless. "I object to the concept that what we're fighting now is a war. I believe it was a certain, very small group of individuals that did this, and though it's a heinous act, I really don't think we can exact any sort of punishment on some large group which would -- I mean, that's what's implied by the word 'war.' I'm just generally against violence."
Fernando Urrea, 22, majors in social science at San Diego State University. The notion of fighting in a war conflicts with his idealism. "A lot of people are taking the mentality that a war will just solve everything, when obviously it will not. The solution cannot be to just go off to war and drop bombs on a nation, because terrorism doesn't have a nationality or a cultural identity. It's something that...you could be a terrorist, I could be a terrorist. It doesn't matter what people's roots are; it depends on the individual person. Aside from that, I personally wouldn't do that, because I don't think that's the solution. Saying that you're going in a war against terrorism just perpetuates more violence, so that really doesn't solve the problem. It's just saying, 'We've encountered violence, so now we're going to counterattack with more violence.' That's not a solution."
Aldo Gonzales, 19, a graphic-design major at Grossmont College, doesn't think the war on terrorism is winnable. "I don't agree with the U.S.'s position with their policy on terrorism. I don't think going to war is going to solve anything. I don't think they're going to find Osama bin Laden. Even if they do find him, it's not going to stop terrorism altogether. There's still, like, thousands of cells all around the world. It's an impossible war, like the drug war. It's, like, never-ending. I just think it will never end."
Nicholas Henderson, 21, enjoys a cigarette with his girlfriend outside Peet's Coffee. Henderson is too involved with studying multimedia design to bother with a war that is meaningless to him. "I'm just not a patriot. I just don't think about that kind of stuff. I have a lot of other stuff, and I wouldn't want it to interfere with my life and my family and my life here. I'm not married, but I live with my girlfriend and soon will be.
"I'm just not one of those people...I don't ride around with a flag on my car. I don't pay much attention to the news -- I actually try not to. It's just not the way I was raised."
Jason Alba, 19, is not willing to fight in a war. "I just don't believe in it. I don't believe in war because it doesn't solve anything. It makes things worse. I don't know. I just know I wouldn't do it."
At 15, Vincent Blanco is too young to get drafted but would refuse to fight even if he was. His rapid-fire list of complaints raises the question of what the content is in his social studies class at Kearny High School. "I feel that a war is not necessary. They should only fund the war on terrorists, not on a country. Just because they are Muslim does not mean we should fight all Muslims. Just like the Oklahoma bombing, the dude was American; that doesn't mean we kill all the Americans. We should only aim for the terrorists, not the countries. They're mainly going after that religion, because that's what Bin Laden is and that's where he's from and that's their whole concept. We shouldn't be doing that because what we've gone through is nothing compared to what the children have gone through there, and everything they've gone through there is nothing compared to what we've gone through. We shouldn't bomb them. They've gone through endless wars, I'm not sure exactly what. Children, ever since they've been born, have known nothing but war, and we should not let this happen to them again in another war."