Canton Repository

March 20, 2003

Area congressmen urge support of Bush, troops

Copley Washington correspondent

Even area congressmen with reservations as America moved toward war with Iraq called for solidarity after the first shots were fired Wednesday night.

“It’s a sobering moment, and I hoped that it would never come to this, and I’m sure the president felt the same way,” said U.S. Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, from his apartment in Virginia. “I just hope and pray that we get it over with as quickly as possible.

“I think action will pick up pretty fast now. I think the preliminaries will go quickly,” he predicted.

Still, he expressed concern over the difficulty of invading Baghdad.

“It’s hard to predict what kind of defense the Republican Guard will create there. I think there will be some tough slugging in the city of Baghdad and in suburban areas.”

Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Lorain, opposed going to war against Iraq. But now that the attack has begun, he said Wednesday night, “we all need to get behind the troops and support our men and women who are fighting for this country.”

Brown had hoped the United States would exhaust all diplomatic options before the war began. Now, he said, his objective is to get U.S. troops back as quickly and safely as possible, and “to work to protect the public against terrorist attacks made more likely by this war.”

Rep. Bob Ney, R-St. Clairsville, has been a strong supporter of President Bush and the war. In a prepared statement Wednesday night, he said, “I stand behind President Bush and the brave men and women in our military as the next step in the war on terrorism begins.

“We did not seek out this war, but it is one that we will win.”

Senator Mike DeWine said, “Like all Ohioans and all Americans, our servicemen and women are in my prayers. Their families, who await their safe return, are in my thoughts. I am confident that our military will prevail, and I pray for a quick conclusion to the hostilities.”

“The military action that we had hoped and prayed to avoid is upon us,” said Sen. George Voinovich. “It is our responsibility to finish the job begun by the U.N. and end the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.”