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Views vary on possible U.S. attack

September 02, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Tri-State residents interviewed over the weekend are divided over whether the United States should attack Iraq.

"I say bomb them. Take them all out. We should have done it last time," said Dwight Kennedy, 21, of Waynesboro, Pa.

But Matt Hade, 21, of Greencastle, Pa., said he is undecided. He thinks a military attack would make sense but he is concerned about the possibility of American casualties.

"How many more lives do we want to lose?" he asked.

Heather Leonard, 20, of Shepherdstown, W.Va. was in town on leave. A member of the U.S. Air Force, Leonard is on the rotation to be deployed overseas.

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"We're going after the wrong people and too many innocent people are getting hurt," she said. "With the intel we have, we should be doing more than destroying the whole country."

Jason Stockslager, 24, of Hagerstown, who sat outside a Shepherdstown restaurant reading a copy of Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October," said the issue is "tricky."

"I don't think we should provoke anything. The U.S.' foreign policy ... is what is provoking terrorism," he said. "We get involved in other countries for our own economic benefit, political benefits."

He believes it is not the U.S.' beliefs that have prompted hatred from other countries, but this nation's foreign policy. Countries with similar beliefs, such as Denmark and Sweden, are not being attacked, he said.

"I think we should do something," Vince Budny, 56, of Maugansville, said.

If Iraq has biological weapons, the United States needs to take military action to make sure those weapons are not used, he said.

He is concerned, though, that battles with Iraq will be worse than during the Persian Gulf war if biological weapons are used against American troops, he said.

James Jones, 27, of Hagerstown; Rose Short, 46, of Clear Spring; and Leon Racks, 19, of Hagerstown said they support an attack.

Some Tri-State residents, were more cautious.

"Not yet," Terry Fessler, 58, of Waynesboro, Pa. said.

The United States needs to see how much support it would get from other nations for a military strike, he said.

"I don't think so," Leo Pfeiffer, 68, of Hagerstown, said.

He opposes military action because other allied nations oppose an attack.

Jim Pantle, 63, and Guy Frank, 83, both of Shepherdstown, said the United States should stay put for now.

"Until (the U.S.) can really verify they are a huge threat, they're going to have to build a coalition" with other countries, including Arab nations, Pantle said. "Until (Iraq) shows animosity and deploys (a weapon) in some kind of concrete act ..."

"I think it's very dangerous to go at this alone," Frank added.

Betty Ingels, 79, of Waynesboro, Pa., believes it's too dangerous to go into Iraq.

"It's dangerous for both sides. A lot of innocent people will be killed. I think they should fight their own battles," she said.

Dick Keil, 75, of Fayetteville, Pa., a veteran of three wars, said: "It's an extremely difficult question. I don't want to hang around and wait for some catastrophe to happen, but I don't want to go in there and create a catastrophe either. We shouldn't go in without allies."

Charles Jones, 42, of Hagerstown, said he opposes an attack because it would "upset the balance of power in the Middle East."

Missy Puterka, 20, of Shepherdstown, believes the United States should stay out of Iraq.

"I don't agree with Bush's eye-for-an-eye mentality," she said. "If we keep doing that, there will be nothing left. It makes me angry."

Kathy Virts, 45, of Kearneysville, W.Va., said she understands both sides of the issue but worries, like others, that innocent people might be harmed. She does not think the U.S. should invade.

"I feel really bad for some of those people. I know we have to do what we have to do," she said. "There are good people there."

Sheila Jones, 23, of Hagerstown, said she would only support an attack as a last resort.

Philip West, 63, of Chambersburg, Pa., thinks the U.S. should only invade Iraq if there is good cause to do so. So far, he said, "it hasn't been shown. We hear a lot of speculation, but I question what the truth really is."

M.J. McCleaf, 70, of Waynesboro, Pa., isn't sure what America should do about Saddam Hussein.

"It's dangerous if we go and it's dangerous if we don't. If we do get rid of him someone else will just take his place," she said.

Edward E. Wible, 48, of Waynesboro, Pa., wants to err on the side of caution in the event that Hussein does have weapons of mass destruction.

"I think we ought to go in," he said. "We don't know if he has chemical weapons or not, but I don't trust that man."

Wible said he thinks the president is doing the right thing by not saying what he plans to do.

"If it was me I wouldn't say anything either," he said. "I'd just go in with no warning, a sneak attack."

Staff Writers Candice Bosely and Richard Belisle contributed to this story.

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