"I Am Concerned"

Minnesota vets on the war in Iraq

Mark: It did some good.

Todd: How many cells did it take out? How many spies did it take out? We had spies in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was hit.

Mark: If you do not take care of Saddam and bin Laden we will be like Israel. We will have car bombings. Even now, we might be postponing it for a little while, but it will happen. I honestly think the world will change.

Westphal American Legion Post Chaplain Stan McClure: people call you unpatriotic if you question what the administration is doing
Michael Dvorak
Westphal American Legion Post Chaplain Stan McClure: people call you unpatriotic if you question what the administration is doing

Todd: We were just talking about re-enlisting.

Mark: I'd say there's an 80-40 chance right now.

Todd: It's hard to sit on the sidelines.

Mark: Would I do it again? To keep freedom for my friends to worship God and go to school and to have my daughter do whatever she wants to do? Then so be it. To do it for my nephews and nieces? So be it.

Todd: In Vietnam the press was bringing back all these pictures of Vietnam and American soldiers, 18 years old, lying in a ditch with their guts hanging out. They say that spurred an anti-war movement. What we are facing now is some more bullshit like what happened in the '60s. People are going to see pictures of some kid with his guts hanging out. They're going to be up in arms about that. But what do you think this whole thing is about?


Friday night, Westphal American Legion Post 251 in Robbinsdale. With approximately 2,000 members, Westphal is the second-largest Legion post in Minnesota. The post chaplain is Stan McClure, who served in the Navy from 1961-66.

McClure: First, keep in mind everybody here supports our servicemen and women. That's without question. But I don't think this is the right thing to do for the United States. I think we are putting ourselves in a big box. I have not seen evidence that what they are saying they are trying to do is true, with the weapons of mass destruction and so forth.

I think that the enemy is Al Qaeda, bin Laden--and they don't even talk about these guys anymore. They switched to Iraq, which is no contest between Iraq and the United States. I feel badly for the people of Iraq, and for the people of the United States. Now we are going to be subject to terrorism. For the first time, I think a lot of us in America are going to witness what other people in other countries have witnessed. You know? Not being secure for the first time. And that's unfortunate.

I don't think that the reasoning for [this war]--we'll go it alone because we're the biggest--is the right attitude. We belong to the United Nations for a reason. And just because they don't go along with us, we shouldn't say, "Well, you're irrelevant and we'll go along without you." That is showing disrespect to the rest of the countries and that is not good.

[Seeing the war start] I'm probably sad more than anything. We are living in a fear that is based on one incident, 9/11. And that's not justification to have the fear that we have, compared to the Palestinians, the Israelis, other people around the world. I can't see the rest of the Arab world sitting back and allowing the United States to bully the rest of the world. Germany tried it, and a coalition had to shut them down. The Japanese tried it, a coalition had to shut them down. Go back to the Romans; every time a country got that powerful, the rest of the world has to step in. I'd hate to lose what we've got.

CP: What about the argument that Saddam Hussein had to be taken out because he was funding the terrorists and abusing his own people?

McClure: Ah, if I remember, China ran over their kids with tanks in Tiananmen Square. That was abuse in front of the world. We did nothing. If he had threatened the United States, if there was a direct connection between him and bin Laden, then it would have been okay to do this. But they've never shown that connection.

Like I said, we all support the troops. That is beyond question, because that is us. But they don't see the connection for the war. They know that there are times when they have to go to war. But you go to war to defend yourself, not to beat up on somebody who is defenseless. If you recall the first time we went into Iraq, they had just come off a 10-year war with Iran that we funded. All their weapons of mass destruction, we sold them and taught them how to use. That's hypocritical. And they know that. At the same time, we've got to be careful because people call you unpatriotic if you question what the administration is doing. It is not unpatriotic to question it.


Friday night, Charles R. Knabel VFW Post 494 in Crystal. Tim Feeney, the pianist in the house band and a former Marine, has a few moments to talk between sets.

Feeney: I was in the Marines for three years, nine months, 27 days, and 11 hours. I was stationed in North Carolina and Okinawa, and served at the tail end of the Korean War. We've had four generations of USMC. My grandson is over in Kuwait right now, over there in Special Forces.

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