One of the state’s top veterans says European allies who’re balking at waging war against Iraq will come around, eventually. David Klingensmith of Kingsley, Commander of the Iowa American Legion, says he honestly believes that if there is a war with Iraq, the Europeans — particularly the French — will “forget all this foolishness and join us.” Klingensmith is disturbed that the French people aren’t supporting the U.S. position on Iraq. “How many times have we been over there to bail them out when they were in real trouble?” Klingensmith says. Klingensmith spoke yesterday at a news conference during the American Legion’s mid-winter conference in Des Moines which attracted 700 of the state’s 71-thousand Legion members. Vietnam veteran John Brieden of Texas, the lead candidate for National Commander of the American Legion, says the organization’s primary mission is to support the troops who’re called up. He says “warriors understand warriors” a lot better than people who haven’t been to war.Korean War veteran Don Mason of South Dakota, the Legion’s National Vice Commander, senses broad public support in this area of the country for intervention in Iraq.Mason says the Legion’s top priority is getting the federal government to improve health care benefits for veterans.
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