War justified by Jenkins

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Despite weakening international support from U.S. allies supporting the occupation of Iraq, Congressman William "Bill" Jenkins believes Americans should heed the words of liberated Iraqis - not European naysayers - when gauging America's presence in Iraq.
   "I think there is substantial support for the war on terror and it will grow in the future," said Jenkins, who appeared at the Carter County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner Friday night.
   Spain is the latest European nation to decry U.S. military intervention in Iraq after a terrorist attack fueled a change in power of that country's national government.
   Bombs tore through commuter trains in Madrid two weeks ago, killing more than 100 people and wounding 300 others three days before Spain's national election.
   Spanish voters ousted sitting Popular Party Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, a Bush ally who had deployed 1,300 Spanish soldiers in support of the occupation of Iraq. Spain's Liberal Party swept into power, winning elections and unseating Aznar in the election as anti-war sentiment inflamed voters.
   Incoming Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has called the Iraq occupation of Iraq a "fiasco" and has vowed to withdraw all his country's troops from Iraq unless the United Nations takes over the occupation.
   Jenkins said he believed Spain would maintain its support of the war on terror in the future. He also felt Zapatero's decision set a dangerous precedent that could allow terrorists to "come in and push (Spain's people) off of the earth." Traditional American allies France and Germany opposed the Iraq war since the get-go and have continued to criticize the U.S.-led occupation.
   Jenkins said the war on terror was ongoing and the terrorist network of Al-Qaida was still a very real threat to America and the world. "There are a lot of these people and they are going to be around for a long time," he said.
   Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry has lambasted President Bush's handling of the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq. In a statement released Friday on the one-year anniversary of the war in Iraq, Kerry reiterated his belief that the president misled the American people about Iraq's nuclear program and weapons or mass destruction and "refused to level with the American people about the cost of the war." More than 570 Americans had been killed in Iraq through Saturday since the war began one year ago.
   "What the country needs to hear is from the American soldiers who have been to Iraq," Jenkins said, "and from the Iraqis themselves and how they appreciate how we have liberated their country."
   The Hawkins County judge also dropped a plug for his own upcoming election to Carter County voters. Jenkins will be seeking his fifth term this year representing the 1st Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. David Smith of Kingsport is challenging him for the Republican nomination that will be on the federal primary ballot in August.