Candidates for U.S. House split on Iraq

Democrat Peter Buckley and Republican Greg Walden express differences on many topics

Democratic candidate Peter Buckley sharply rebuked his rival, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., for not attending a candidate’s forum at the Hood River Middle School on Tuesday.

“He does still live here doesn’t he?” quipped Buckley after telling the 30-member audience that he “passionately” believed that a public debate was necessary to highlight their ideological differences.

Camille Hukari, who represented Walden at the forum sponsored by the Citizens for Responsible Growth, apologized for his absence but explained that the elected official had just gotten out of a federal legislative session to set the national budget and debate possible military action against Iraq. She said Walden was following that workload with attendance at 56 events in 15 of his 20 counties.

“Greg is always being pulled in a lot of different directions, particularly this time of year, and unfortunately his schedule doesn’t allow him to be everywhere he’d like to be,” said Dallas Boyd, Walden’s legislative assistant, in a follow-up interview.

However, even Walden’s written response to a question submitted by Mark Nykanen of Columbia River Fellowship for Peace showcased the sharp differences between the two rivals for the Second District Congressional seat.

The federal candidates gave divisively different answers to the question, “Do you support the new doctrine of ’pre-emptive’ attack proposed by the Bush Administration, which reverses established international law that has developed over the last century, and do you feel a pre-emptive attack on Iraq will destabilize the Middle East?”

Walden, who is seeking a third term in office, said he was “hopeful” that the threat posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction could be eliminated without using military force. However, he believes the United States has to reserve the right to use force if diplomatic efforts failed.

“It would be irresponsible of America’s leaders to allow a profound threat to our national security to gather without using every means at our disposal to neutralize it,” Walden wrote.

Buckley began his response with a quote by Gen. Dwight Eisenhower that termed a pre-emptive strike as a “foolish idea” and warned against listening to anyone who suggested it.

“I’m absolutely opposed to this war in Iraq, I think it stinks,” said Buckley. “There is a different way besides bloodshed to resolve differences.”

In fact, Buckley suggested during the evening that the answer to some of the country’s budget woes over unfunded government mandates was to cut the $11 billion national defense expenditure for a nuclear weapons shield.

In his campaign platform, Buckley, an arts administrator from Ashland, contends that the War on Terrorism needs to be centered on bringing the world a better understanding about American values of democracy and justice — instead of a “mockery” of true leadership.

He said the nation needed to live up its ideals and stop “massive” expenditures on weapons systems and focus its energies on searching out the root of the problem that creates terrorism.

“If we need to have a war on terrorism let’s go after Al Qaida but let’s respect international law,” said Buckley, who believes military action will bring polarity between the United States and the Middle East.

Conversely, Walden said that use of the proper military action against Iraq could have an overall stabilizing effect in the region since Hussein’s regime was responsible for much of the current unrest.

He said that was evidenced by two “aggressive” wars against Iran and Kuwait, as well as attacks launched on Saudi Arabia and Israel and payment to families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

“Removing Saddam from power may well have the effect of cooling tensions around the region, especially if we try to ensure that a post-Saddam government of Iraq is a functioning democracy, which could inspire democratic reforms around the Arab world,” Walden said.

Both Walden and Buckley unanimously joined four Oregon House and Senate candidates in the belief that public school funding needed to be secured and given top priority at all levels of government.

At the forum Rep. Patti Smith, R-Corbett, faced off with her Democratic challenger Larry Cramblett of Cascade Locks.

They were joined on the platform by Sen. Rick Metsger, D-Welches and his Republican rival Bob Montgomery, also of Cascade Locks.

All four contenders for state office were united in their opposition to Ballot Measure 27 which would require foods containing genetically engineered ingredients to be labeled.

The candidates said the new law would place huge hikes in production costs on farmers who were already struggling financially.

In addition, they said Oregon would be the only state with the regulation and would be placed at a marketing disadvantage.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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