Monday, October 31, 2011

The Honorable Congressman Walter B. Jones

Catholic News Service profiles the "conservative Republican from Farmville, N.C., [who] has been pushing the Obama administration to end the military occupation of Iraq since the president took office in 2009," after having "pressed President George W. Bush to do the same for nearly five years" — War dead prompts letters of 'penance' from North Carolina rep.

"I am just sick and tired of people sending young men and women to die when it's not justified," said the heroic Congressman Walter B. Jones, in what reporter Dennis Sadowski rightly calls "a bold stance for someone whose congressional district is home to Camp Lejeune, the country's largest Marine Corps base, as well as tens of thousands of retired military veterans."

We learn that "he now maintains that the Iraq invasion was pursued under the guise of deceit, fed by misinformation and the manipulation of intelligence by key leaders of the Bush administration," and "also sees no need for U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan." "He has teamed with Jim McGovern, D-Mass., liberal Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and conservative Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, in introducing legislation calling for the pull out of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan."

The congressman, "who was born a Baptist and became a Catholic in 1977", said he "opposes the Iraq War because of his Christian values." About his being "among the majority in Congress who voted in October 2002 to authorize the use of force in Iraq," he said, "I've always said I should have trusted God and voted my conscience." He is now "trying to make amends for his vote through a self-imposed penance: writing to the families of each and every soldier killed in those two far-off conflicts."

[As an aside, it is interesting for this Upstate New Yorker to remember that North Carolinians joined us in Anti-Federalism, and that some six decades earlier the Tuscarora people were invited to join the Iroquois as the sixth nation to join the "League of Peace and Power." Must be something in our waters.]

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