Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank)spent Monday in his district, waiting to
see President George W. Bush’s speech, which delivered an ultimatum
to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to leave his country or face war. For
Schiff that day, even meetings with local constituents came back to
the topic of war.
Other congressmen, like Rep. David Dreier (R-La Crescenta), were
in Washington D.C., preparing for media interviews to discuss a war
that now is all but a certainty.
Both congressmen, whose districts encompass the area from Burbank
to La Canada Flintridge, expressed a mixture of support and concern
over the looming conflict.
“The prospect of war is not something you feel good about, but I
know we are doing the right thing,” Dreier said, stressing that “this
is not unilateral action.”
For Dreier, a line was drawn on Sept. 11. After that, a half-century-old doctrine of containment, the foreign policy strategy
pursued by the United States after World War II to deal with Soviet
expansion, ended, he said.
“It changed the world dramatically,” Dreier said, adding that even
with the threat of a powerful military force handing over an enemy’s
head, it’s a world where a chemical weapon can be delivered by mail.
That’s why military action is justified, he said. The diplomatic
card has been played by the Bush administration, without results.
Dreier was cautiously optimistic about the aftermath of a conflict,
adding that even tension with traditional allies such as France can
“It’s not new, but it’s unfortunate,” he said.
The thought of war was not far away for Schiff either. By
mid-afternoon, he was intent on listening to the president’s speech.
“I am concerned with the repercussions of entry into this war
without the support of many of our allies,” Schiff said. “I’m also
concerned about the rift created with the United Nations, and our
ability to work with the world community in the event of
post-conflict reconstruction of Iraq.”
Schiff said he’s received a variety of responses from his
constituents, from hawks to doves.
“But I do hear very widespread concern over the lack of support
around the world,” he said.