Even though they voiced differing views on U.S. involvement in the Persian Gulf war, local residents aligned with various organizations shared a sense of relief following President Bush's announcement Wednesday of a cease-fire.
"It's a great relief," said Allan Hanson, a Kansas University professor of anthropology and a member of the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, a group that opposes war. "We've wanted this war to end for a long, long time, and I'm very happy that it has."
Janice Nesler-Loux, president of Kansans in Support, a Lawrence group that backed the U.S. policy in the Gulf, agreed in principle with Hanson.
"I think it's wonderful, if it really happens," she said of the cease-fire. "It's kind of a `wait-and-see' now."
DAVID BROWN, another member of the Lawrence Coalition of Peace and Justice, said he was pleased with the cease-fire and was "glad that the killing had stopped." Likewise, Lawrence resident Thomas Nau, leader of the "Rally Around the Flag" organization said that his group's members were "very pleased and relieved. We hope it does follow through with being a peaceful end to it."
The consensus of relief, however, was tempered by differing thoughts about what will come next for the United States now that the war has ended.
Hanson said the ease of allied victory may "encourage a military solution . . . to other future challenges and crises in the world."
Scott MacWilliams, a KU student and member of the campus peace group Voice, agreed with Hanson.
"IN THIS `New World Order,' are we the world cop now?" he asked. "I don't hear them (the media) talking about solutions for a real peace plan for the region that's based on justice for the citizens of the region."
Brown shared these concerns. He also was bothered by the U.S. energy policy's dependence on imported oil as well as the number of troops that will be kept in Kuwait.
Nesler-Loux said that if world terrorism increased because of the war's outcome, "it's all up in the air again." But she added that she was satisfied with the U.S. military accomplishments.
"I don't think we need to go in and make the Iraqi people pay for the bad luck of having a bad leader," Nesler-Loux said.
Nau said he didn't know if the U.S. military should have ousted Saddam Hussein, but added, "I don't think we can just let him go right back to being a leader of Iraq. I think that he ought to have to answer to somebody and be punished in some way."
The four groups, which have been meeting from noon to 1 p.m. on Sundays on both sides of Massachusetts Street at South Park to express their views, will gather one last time this Sunday. Nesler-Loux added that Kansans in Support still plans to hold a rally on March 23 to show support for the troops.