Locals react: ‘They gotta do what they gotta do'

October 08, 2001|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH and MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writers

The aromas of fresh coffee and freshly baked bread are a typical backdrop to early morning life on Main Street in downtown El Centro.

This morning the opinions were stronger than the coffee when it came to the bombing raids by U.S. and British forces on terrorist-held strongholds in Afghanistan on Sunday morning.

Jim Driscoll, an El Centro resident, was pleased at the military action, but said, "First we really need to get the terrorists out of our country. There are probably a lot of them still here. Certainly that should be our prime mission here at home."

When asked how he felt about the dropping of emergency food rations to the Afghan people, many of whom are suffering from severe malnutrition, Driscoll said, "I say that we're not mad at the Afghani people per se. They're a poor people … we're not fighting the Afghan people; we're fighting a group of terrorists that happen to be in there."


Morning customers at Boatwright's Bakery on Main expressed confidence in President Bush and the ability of the U.S. military to complete the mission successfully.

Jesus Calles, an El Centro resident, said he is pleased with the way Bush is handling the situation.

"It's good that President Bush is going slowly, slowly and thinking carefully before he does anything," Calles said.

His breakfast companion Alfonso Valenzuela of El Centro, said he agreed fully with Calles.

Boatwright's employee Concepcion Laguna was adamant that if the U.S. military action fails to capture terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, she is going after him herself. Dusting flour from her hands, Laguna said "I have confidence in our people but I don't think they're doing it right. I feel like going in there after him myself!"

Residents in other cities of Imperial Valley also had strong opinions.

Imperial resident Miguel Alvarez's comment was positive and to the point.

"It was about time" he said.

Tamee Valenzuela of Holtville observed, "It's interesting we would bomb and give food on the same day. I think that for a nation to be angry with another nation doesn't give them the right to kill innocent people. But it doesn't mean the person who did this should not be captured. Human life is more important to me."

Noe Diaz, a Brawley resident, said, "They have to eradicate all terrorism and have to do it now. If we don't, it can grow to involve other countries and become a real disaster."

Arthur Preece of El Centro said, "They gotta do what they gotta do. We can't just let them get away with it. If we let them get away with it it's going to get worse."

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