Mixed reaction to missile launch
March 20, 2003
Reaction on the South Shore to the beginning of war with Iraq ranged from supporting the campaign to wishing for more time for diplomacy.
At Rojo’s, a South Lake Tahoe bar and restaurant, three men from Washington ate their salads as they watched President Bush address the nation at 7:15 p.m. about the military action in Iraq.
Scott Matthews of Bellingham, Wash., thought Bush’s speech was routine. He hoped the initial missile attack would shock the Iraqis into surrender.
“I just hope they keep focus on keeping the deaths down on (Iraq’s) side as much as our side,” Matthews said.
Jim Wilker described Iraq President Saddam Hussein as running a “criminal enterprise” in the country and deserving punishment.
“Nobody likes to discipline their child but sometimes you have to sit them down and tell them not to cross the street,” Wilker said. “It’s something we had to do.”
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Steve Kentuck, a London native and Rojo’s employee, expressed frustration because his father was expected to fly from Heathrow to San Francisco. With flights likely suspended as war kicks off, Kentuck was doubtful he would see his father.
Kentuck’s roommate, Jennifer Setbacken, sat intently watching Fox News.
“I think it’s sad it had to come to this and I’m nervous about the outcome,” Setbacken said. “I don’t know if there were any other options. It should have been done a long time ago.”
A couple of doors down at Sprouts Natural Foods Cafe, customer Lexi Larkin said she is against the war.
“We teach our children not to fight, not to hate but we’re doing the same thing as adults,” she said.
Bustling between serving drinks and catering to Tahoe Bowl league players, Marcy Scott had a stern take on the war.
“I just want to blow them out of the water,” she said.
At Lake Tahoe Community College, a group of students were using their break to go over a presentation in speech class. Lukas Anderson believed more time should have been allowed for a peaceful resolution to get Iraq to disarm.
“I feel for the people in Baghdad who may be like us and not interested in going to war,” Anderson said.
Dylan Johnson sat next to Anderson and remarked on the irony of both Bush administrations going to war with the same leader more than a decade apart.
Steven Creson listened from across the table. Creson, who spent four years in the Navy, was split in his beliefs.
He supports the war if it will rid Iraq of weapons of mass destruction. Creson said he has seen the effects of biological weapons on rats whose eyes popped out of their heads.
However, Creson said he still does not fully back the decision to take up arms.
“Saddam Hussein is all talk,” Creson said. “He’s proven he’s all talk.”
Down the hall near the coffee cart, Mark Peterson sat slumped in a chair watching a television. He sat in silence, taking a break from class.
“I’m just in a state of shock,” he said.
— E-mail William Ferchland at firstname.lastname@example.org