GOP Senate Hopefuls Differ on Terrorism Spending
Krol, Eric, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Eric Krol Daily Herald Political Writer
The Bush administration dropped strong hints last week about a possible invasion of Iraq to stop the country from developing nuclear weapons.
The three candidates seeking the Illinois Republican nomination for U.S. Senate all would support such a move - provided the United State can't resolve the situation diplomatically - as part of an expansion of the war against terrorism.
While state Rep. Jim Durkin, financial manager James Oberweis and businessman John Cox agree on Iraq, they have different ideas about where the country should be spending its money at home to defend the country against terrorist attacks.
Durkin called for more federal money for the nation's "front line soldiers" in the war on terrorism: police, fire and public works departments.
"The front lines are not on Normandy and across the seas," said Durkin, a former prosecutor from Westchester. "There's a massive task ahead for law enforcement."
Federal money should take the form of training grants so local authorities can detect and respond to terrorist attacks, Durkin said. He also called for the federal Centers for Disease Control to come up with an early warning system for state and local health departments on what to do if a bioterrorist attack takes place.
Oberweis said the nation must spend more money on military intelligence, allowing CIA and other operatives to gather important information on terrorists.
"As an entrepreneur and a chess player, I think it's important that we try to think ahead and anticipate events before they occur," said Oberweis, an Aurora resident who owns a dairy business that bears his name.
When asked to say where he would spend money to combat terrorism, Cox called for a change in the way the United States doles out foreign aid. Cox questioned continued foreign aid to Saudi Arabia, saying many terrorists wanted by the United States have spent time there. Pakistan, on the other hand, has tried to help the United States and deserves more aid, Cox said. …