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03-20-03: Grand Lake area residents respond
The Daily Standard
    Local residents were glued to the television Wednesday night and this morning, watching the war with Iraq unfold before them.
    Some support it, and others are against it.
    "The war is something that has to be done," says Jim Hone, 70, of Celina, who served with the United States Sea Bees during the Korean Conflict, 1952-1956. "I've been watching the television all morning and I am not ambivalent about the use of force. I am behind it 100 percent."
    Hone and his wife, Donna, suffered a personal loss when their son, Don Hone, a United States Special Forces Lieutenant Commander, died a number of years ago in a diving accident during training in Guam.
    "Having served myself and having a son who died while in the military, I'm always behind whatever our guys come up against," Hone said.
    Joe Lersky, long-time editor of The Daily Standard, said he thinks going to war "sucks."
    "We are in violation of every precept that made this country great. It's immoral, unethical and illegal," Lersky said during an interview this morning in Celina. "We are going back to the days of American imperialism, and I keep thinking of all the Iraqi kids that are going to be dead."
    Lersky said it is true that Saddam Hussein has ignored United Nations resolutions, but for Bush to order a pre-emptive strike is wrong.
    "This has never been done before, it's setting a bad precedence," Lersky said. "If America can do it, why can't Libya do it, or Israel. It's just a human tragedy."
    Adam Long of Celina, an Air National Guardsman who has served in Kuwait a total of 24 months during the past 10 years, said Wednesday night's strike on Iraq couldn't have been a surprise.
    "It's been coming for 12 years," he said, adding he doesn't expect to be called into action. "(Our group) would already be there if we were going, but, with war, it's always a possibility."
    Long, now a Celina firefighter, said the fact that U.N. inspectors found weapons in Iraq is a sure indication that Hussein has no intention of disarming.
    "He was supposed to get rid of everything after Dessert Storm in 1991, so I believe everything else he's said has been a big lie," he said.
    Having been to Kuwait, Long said the men and women of the armed forces in a combat situation do a lot of guessing.
    "There were still missiles being fired when I was there the first time and it's a constant guessing game. Are these chemical? Are they just duds. Will they go off?," he said.
   World War II veteran Leon Schoch, 83, of Celina, says he feels the war with Iraq will not accomplish anything. He says he doesn't want anyone to go through what he went through at age 22 when he served.
   "I've said from the beginning this war is unnecessary. I don't see what we're going to gain from it," Schoch said. "I went in at Normandy, which was D-Day Plus 6, and it's not fun. Talk about boys in bags. It's nothing to sneeze about."
   Schoch now is concerned about his grandson, Sam Schoch of Celina, who is serving in Kuwait.
   "I really feel for him and all the kids over there," Schoch said. "I have already been through it (war), so I have an idea of what's going through their minds."
   Cindy Luedeke, a Celina resident, said dealing with Iraq is the price we pay for freedom.
    "I'm not an anti-war person and I'm not a war monger," she said. "But I wish it was him that we got last night. Then we would have set an example of Owe give you opportunity, we give you time.'  Would he not kill President Bush if he had the chance? Yes he would."
    Her main worry about war is if the whole world begins to take sides.
    "I am worried that it will escalate into a planet debacle with everyone picking sides," Luedeke said.
    Julie Linton, a Celina High School senior, this morning said she disagrees with the use of force against Iraq.
    "I am strongly against any military action. Bush says we're acting in self defense. But Saddam hasn't yet made any concrete effort to destroy our security," Linton said.
   Jim Rohr, a Chickasaw resident retired from New Idea after 38 years, agrees with the operation underway.
    "I think we should have done it a long time ago," Rohr said, standing outside Big Bear on Logan Street in Celina this morning. "He's no good."
    Rohr's major concern is that Iraqi troops will burn oil fields. He is not worried about the security of our troops because they are well trained and prepared, he said.
    "There's not going to be much to it," he said of the war.
   Ken Westerbeck, a Celina resident of 13 years, is concerned about the future lives of his new granddaughters, but understands this needs to happen.
   "We've been playing games with him for 12 years, and he hasn't come through with what he said he's going to do," Westerbeck said.
    Westerbeck can't understand why someone would think America isn't the best place on earth to live.
    "Living under a dictator is like having a really bad baby-sitter," he said.
    "My major concern is the possibility of an atomic strike in this area," he added, naming the tank plant and oil refineries in Lima, and the Air force base in Dayton. "We are a target."


Phone: (419)586-2371,   Fax: (419)586-6271
All content copyright 2003
The Standard Printing Company
P.O. Box 140, Celina, OH 45822