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Hill: ‘We’re probably going to war’

Hill: ‘We’re probably going to war’
Hill: ‘We’re probably going to war’
Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill addresses the crowd Saturday at the dedication of the new Corydon Street Dept. garage. (Photo by Randy West)

Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill urged about 200 people in Corydon Saturday to pray for the safety of United States servicemen and women because “we’re probably going to war.”
Following his five-minute speech at the dedication ceremony for the new Corydon Street Dept. garage, Hill said he expects the U.S. to attack Iraq in the next three or four weeks. He cited the recent deployment of several thousand troops in the 101st Airborne Division from Fort Campbell, Ky., and the U.S.S. Kitty Hawk aircraft carrier battle group now steaming from the coasts of China and Korea toward the Persian Gulf to join several other battle groups already there.
Hill, D-Seymour, said the war will be serious business and include loss of life. He also expressed concern for innocent Iraqi men, women and children who will lose their lives in a U.S. war aimed at eliminating dictator Saddam Hussein and his weapons of mass destruction.
An estimated crowd of 200 people, including State Sen. Richard Young, D-Milltown, and State Rep. Paul Robertson, D-Depauw, attended the program inside the new $430,120 brick building at the corner of West Chestnut and Water streets.
After mingling with constituents, Hill said he doesn’t know why President Bush chose to go after the Iraqi dictator rather than concentrate on Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. However, Hill said a meeting he attended between former President Bill Clinton and Bush just before the latter assumed office is instructive. Clinton told his successor that if his foreign policy priorities were Iraq and Hussein, he needed to reconsider because he, Clinton, believed the more immediate threat to U.S. security was bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist network.
Asked if Bush is attempting to finish the war with Iraq that his father did not do 12 years ago, and perhaps keep the Iraq oil flowing to western countries, Hill said he didn’t know.
Hill said Secretary of State Colin Powell did a good job of “tying the knot” between Hussein and al Qaeda during his speech last week before the United Nations Security Council, although Hill said he’s not as convinced of the connection as Powell is. He said Powell, the former chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff, has always been the voice of moderation in a hawkish administration, although lately he’s seen to be more ready to go to war.
Hill said North Korea, with its nuclear missile capability and an unpredictable leader, presents a more serious threat to U.S. security than Iraq, but Korea does not have Iraq’s history of attacking its neighbors.
Hill said he wouldn’t be surprised if Hussein gave al Qaeda chemical and biological weapons to use against the U.S. He said if the U.S. attacks Iraq, we should expect Hussein to use those weapons. “We’ll prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Hill said. Israel, he said, is also preparing for the worst.
The larger question now, Hill said, is, after the war, what do we do with Iraq? He thinks American forces could be there for five years, perhaps longer.
He doesn’t expect a large-scale guerrilla war in Iraq because he believes, by and large, that Iraqis like Americans, and they want American help in getting rid of the dictator who has led them through several disastrous wars.
As for the dedication, Corydon Town Council President Fred Cammack introduced town trustees Becky Campbell, Judy Kennedy, Charles Lynch and Roy McKim, and other local dignitaries. He said 50 percent of the cost of the garage came from Caesars Indiana riverboat tax revenue.
David L. Dahl, president of Midwestern Engineers of Loogootee, said the garage, with seven bays, will house garbage trucks, snow plows and leaf collectors – about half a million dollars’ worth of equipment. Street superintendent Kenny Blum will be in charge of it.
Because the garage was built in the flood plain (not far from the confluence of Big and Little Indian creeks), the office was built four feet higher than the garage floor. The concrete block walls are reinforced with steel up to four feet high to withstand a 100-year flood, which has been known to happen here. Corydon’s James L. Shireman Co. built the garage.
Dahl said that whenever his company is given a project for the town, he is told to: 1. Solve the problem; 2. Manage the costs, and 3. Don’t skimp on quality. He thinks that was done with the garage.
Hill is asked to speak at all kinds of events throughout the Ninth District. He said he wasn’t quite sure what to expect when Cammack asked him to speak at the dedication, but after he saw the new building, plus a rather large crowd to boot, he declared it the “Taj Mahal of all garages.”
Will Fosse of Fosse and Associates of Evansville was the architect.