Counting down to war

Pat Kravitz says war proponents are draping themselves in the flag and it’s almost as if you’re against the war, you’re not an American.

“At least I’m a thinking American, and I’m not about to be bulldozed,” said the Lorton woman who takes her grandson to school in Prince William. As for her patriotism, she said her lineage goes back to George Washington and her daughter is in the military.

“The Constitution says we should not go to war unless Congress declares war,” she said.

If Iraq poses a threat to America’s national security, she said President Bush has not made that case.

“If Bush has special information that he’d be able to share with the people of this country, I would be willing to listen. But he hasn’t. The whole thing has been shrouded in secrecy,” she said.

Frank discussion debunking this unprecedented and unjustified “preemptive war” cannot get balanced coverage, said John Lovaas, organizer of a Reston peace coalition whose March 3 event was the source of controversial remarks by Rep. Jim Moran, D-8th.

Moran said if it weren’t for the strong support of the Jewish community America wouldn’t be going to war. He apologized later.

“A dozen or more people who attended the actual meeting have contacted me — every single one of them is angered by the unfair treatment of Congressman Jim Moran,” said Lovaas, a retired senior foreign service officer.

Moran is strongly against the war, and during the discussion when asked why Bush was going ahead with the war, he said he thought it was because the economy is in the toilet and the war would be a convenient diversion, Lovaas said.

The press reports did not report on that and other portions of the discussion where Moran said the United States needs to take a more active role in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict over Palestine, the most important issue for Middle East countries, but one the Bush administration has dropped, Moran said.

Elected leaders in Prince William say the president is well within the U.S. Constitution.

Congress approved the “Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002” on Oct. 16, public law 107-243; 116 Stat. 1498, according to a resolution the Prince William Board of County Supervisors will discuss today.

Board chairman Sean T. Connaughton, R-at large, drafted the resolution in response to the Richmond City Council considering a resolution against the war.

The Constitution gives the president authority to engage in foreign affairs and act as commander in chief, and Congress fulfilled its role passing the October resolution that authorizes the president to use the military against Iraq “to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq and to enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq,” Connaughton’s resolution states.

State and local jurisdictions should not interfere with foreign affairs, the role of Congress and the president, Connaughton said.

He faces opposition already voiced by fellow board members who say that’s precisely why the board has no role declaring any views on the issue.

Rep. Tom Davis, R-11th District, who represents most of Prince William, supports Bush and the resolution passed by Congress.

“Davis believes that the last thing you want in times of potential war are 535 secretaries of state,” said his spokesman David Marin, referring to the total seats in Congress.

The case has been made of Iraq’s threat, he said.

“The gravest danger we face in the war on terror is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. We know Saddam has dangerous weapons today. Does it make sense to wait to confront him as he grows even stronger and develops even more dangerous weapons? Davis thinks the answer is no,” Marin said.

Sept. 11, 2001, is still fresh in many people’s minds and the country cannot rest its hopes on the possibility that Iraq will comply with U.N. resolutions, after it has defied them for more than a decade and continues to do so, Marin said.

“As we fight the war on terrorism, we must give the president the support he needs. We must speak in one voice to those who have vowed to kill innocent Americans, simply because they are Americans.”

Kravitz said she has always considered herself an independent, but now she may call the local Democratic party because she said her side has not been part of the decision-making process. The country is on dangerous ground, she said.

“In any case, this country is about freedom of speech, if nothing else,” she said.

Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.

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