- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 20, 2003

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Washington-area residents reacted to last night's announcement by President Bush that the war in Iraq had begun with measured calm, although some believe that living in the nation's capital might become dangerous.
"Yes, I'm nervous, but what can you do?" said construction worker Mark Eggers, 29, from his home in Alexandria.
His wife, Amy Eggers, 29, agreed.
"Aside from being vigilant and observant, there is really nothing you can do," she said. "You just hope that the government is well-prepared to handle anything. You just have to deal with it."
Tom Howell, 50, of Falls Church, said the initial attack didn't surprise him.
"We knew it was going to start tonight," he said at the Safeway supermarket in Annandale. "It was just a matter of what time we would attack."
He said he felt safe living so near to the seat of government. "I know that we are well-guarded," he said.
Cheryl Kiely, 30, of Fairfax, on her way home from work, had stopped by to get bread at the Safeway when she heard the news.
"I wish we would have taken a more diplomatic approach, but what do I know?" she said as she loaded groceries into her car. "I think this is just a bad move on our part. We'll get hurt in the process."
At Madam's Organ, a popular bar in Northwest, manager Karen Connell asked the band to observe a moment of silence and say a prayer after the bombing began shortly before 10 p.m.
Steve Adams, visiting the area from Omaha, Neb., was at Dietle's Tavern In Rockville. He said he feels a lot safer in the Midwest.
And now that the war has started, he said he is "putting the Allegheny Mountains between me and here."
Jamie Barnhard, a former Navy engineer, also heard the news at Dietle's. He said the attack was completely justified and that Americans protesting the war have to realize that freedom comes with a price.
Stan Warren, 50, a graduate student in sociology at Howard University from Jamaica, said he has received a lot of calls from family and friends telling him to come home where it's safer, but he said he is going to stay.
The fear that the war with Iraq will spark terrorist attacks came from people on both sides of the issue.
Chris Surdak, at Anabelle's bar in Alexandria, said the attack was long overdue and completely justified. But the Internet executive said life in America is likely to change in the next three to six months because of terrorist attacks in response.
Dr. Edmond Kram, who opposes the war, predicted that it will spark an Islamic jihad, or holy war, against the United States. He believes there will be September 11-style attacks against the United States, but that Americans won't get the sympathy as in 2001.
"I expected we would go to war this soon because the president gave Saddam Hussein a deadline. I figured it would be tonight," said David Finger, 25, a legislative assistant on Capitol Hill who watched Mr. Bush on television at his apartment in Columbia Heights. "I have no uneasiness. I moved here after September 11, so I expected some sense of danger, but I have no heightened sense tonight."
Across from the White House last night, Lafayette Park was closed, but about a half-dozen protesters gathered on nearby H Street NW carrying signs that said, "Stop the war in Iraq."
About 11:45 p.m., one of the protesters shoved his sign in a trash can and walked away.
Staff writers Ellen Sorokin, Joseph Weber and Matthew Cella contributed to this article, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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