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  In a Military Stronghold, a War Hawk [NC Rep. Jones] Circles Back
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Last EditedArmyDem  Jun 19, 2005 12:46pm
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MediaNewspaper - Los Angeles Times
News DateSunday, June 19, 2005 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionBy Paul Richter, Times Staff Writer
Latimes.com : Nation

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. — With its sprawling military bases and huge population of military retirees, eastern North Carolina has believed in the Iraq war, and sacrificed for it, like few other regions.

But as summer heat has settled over the piney lowlands in recent days, a debate has unexpectedly come to life about a U.S. mission that is two years old and counting.

New doubts and divisions have come into view.

It started this month, when Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones, an original supporter of the war, said he had lost confidence in the effort and would sponsor legislation calling on the administration to more clearly define how, and when, it intended to bring the war to a close.

Coming from the staunch conservative who renamed French fries "freedom fries" on congressional menus, the announcement shocked many.

Back home, his change of heart brought denunciations and stirred trouble for Jones within his local Republican Party.

But it also became clear that others in North Carolina's 3rd Congressional District were uneasy about the war, for one reason or another.

Service members' families, watching violence surge, fear it will drag on indefinitely. Others worry it is damaging the military — or that it has been prosecuted foolishly.

Jones "was right to go after the administration," said retired Marine Col. Jim Van Riper, a veteran of Vietnam and Desert Storm who supported the U.S. presence in Iraq but faulted the war plan. "Rumsfeld and the neo-cons have fouled it up from the beginning."
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