US lawmaker of 'freedom fries' fame turns against Iraq war
Sun Jun 12, 5:31 PM ET
A prominent lawmaker who prompted cafeterias in the US Congress to change the name of their french fries to "freedom fries" in anger over France's opposition to the Iraq war, has now turned against the conflict and wants a firm schedule on the withdrawal of US troops.
Representative Walter Jones (news, bio, voting record), a North Carolina Republican, has written more than 1,300 letters of condolence to the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and will introduce legislation this week calling for a firm timetable on the withdrawal of US troops, ABC's "This Week" said Sunday.
"This is what I believe is the right thing to do for our military first; and secondly, I think we are doing everything we can do in Iraq to give them an opportunity to have a democracy, to defend themselves," Jones told ABC.
President George W. Bush's administration has refused to set a timetable on withdrawing its forces from the war-torn country.
Asked about his change of heart on the war, Jones said he had attended two years ago the funeral of soldier, a married father of three, who was killed in Iraq. "That really has been on my mind and my heart ever since."
He added: "When I look at the number of men and women who have been killed -- it's almost 1,700 now, in addition to close to 12,000 have been severely wounded -- and I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that's all been proven that it was never there."
"And my heart aches, quite frankly," Jones told ABC.
In March 2003, just before the US-led invasion in Iraq, Representative Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), chairman of the committee on House Administration, ordered that the term "french fries" be removed from all restaurant menus in the three House office buildings and replaced with freedom fries.
Jones joined Ney in taking the action, issuing a joint statement saying: "This action today is a small, but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France."