Watching the war at home

Area residents find coverage of the fight in Iraq overwhelming -- and unavoidable

Karla Morris' more pressing "shock and awe" was a Wednesday morning plumbing emergency, which had water running into a family bathtub and Morris on a quick trip to Safeway to deal with the problem.

But one week into America's war with Iraq, the images, questions and correspondents' non-stop chatter had clearly embedded into Morris' life.

And others.

"It wasn't ever going to be quick," Morris said. "It's something that needs to be done and it should have been done a long time ago."

Still, Morris, 51, was wary of coverage of the conflict, wondering if U.S. forces might be endangered by reporters' unprecedented proximity to the fighting.

"They're going a bit overboard," she said. "The public needs to know but they could keep it quieter."

"It's depressing," said Linda Goffe, as she tackled her morning shopping list. "He (Saddam Hussein) just doesn't seem like a person who is going to give up."

Goffe -- whose flag-emboldened T-shirt memorialized Sept. 11 reading "Come together right now" -- said she expects a drawn out fight in Iraq.

One she didn't want to see.

"A lot of innocent lives will be lost and I think this will lead to other wars," said Goffe, 52, citing her faith and prophecies of Armageddon.

"I'm glad my kids are grown and I wouldn't want to raise any in today's world."

But she backs U.S. troops despite her fears.

"My flag has been out everyday since Sept. 11," Goffe said. "My husband wishes more houses had flags out."

She said today's anxieties don't compare to the aftermath of Sept. 11, but are still there.

"Are those weapons going to reach us? We don't know that," Goffe said.

At McDonald's, Don Cromk and Roger DeGuelle differed on the war's wisdom but both said coverage was overbearing.

"There's too much of it ... people talk too much when they shouldn't," said Cromk, a Vietnam-era veteran who said he has opposed the Iraq fight from the outset.

The costs and duration of which are now hitting home, he said.

"Nobody seems to be shocked and awed about anything over there," said Cromk, 55.

DeGuelle, 46, said predictions of swift, relatively painless conflict by some were misguided.

"You can't assign timeframes for everything," DeGuelle said.

Steamboat Springs resident Brian Kelley, drinking coffee and reading Newsweek on the couch in Serendipity in downtown Craig this morning, said one can't help but follow the war.

"I've been following it on CNN," he said. "It's the new reality TV."

He said he's amazed at the coverage so far.

"I think it's interesting that we have 600 reporters intermingled with the troops," he said. "But I don't think that's a bad thing. It's interesting that they can report things that quick."

The first-hand accounts of what is happening in Iraq have not impacted his thoughts on the war, he said.

"I'm not sure we needed to get involved right away but now that we're there, we need to finish what we started," he said. "I support the troops. I think war was inevitable. It had to happen eventually."

He said he is not surprised at the U.S. force's progress so far.

"I still think it will be quick, but I didn't anticipate it being over in a couple of days," he said.

Craig resident Sherri Fredrickson, drinking coffee with three friends this morning at Serendipity, said she tries to avoid watching the news reports too much, but said it's difficult to avoid.

"I can't help it," she said. "I don't like to follow it but I have friends whose kids are over there."

Those seated with her nodded in agreement when she said the coverage was overdone.

"They show the same thing over and over again," she said.

But her curiosity causes her to continually see what's happening.

"I just turn it on for a minute to see what has happened then I turn it off," she said. "My son went to school with a lot of those boys and I think about them all of the time."

With war underway, the United States needs to take care of business, she said.

"I think we need to be there," she said. "I wish we would have done it 12 years ago. I hope they get rid of Saddam or it will be a waste."

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