The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

October 27, 2012

Hopefuls address Mideast issues

— The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for 11 years.

Along with that conflict, the country has fought against Iraq twice, endured the 9/11 attacks, bombed Libya, launched drone attacks in Pakistan and carried out anti-terrorism activities in numerous nations throughout the past quarter-century.

Recently, the ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, was killed during an attack at the United States’ consulate in Benghazi.

And, now, a civil war in Syria and the threat of Iran developing a nuclear weapon could potentially lead to further military intervention in the Middle East.

So, candidates seeking federal office, such as U.S. Rep. Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, and Republican Keith Rothfus in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, need to develop clear plans outlining what the nation’s policy should be in the region.

Critz and Rothfus have presented similar ideas.

Both feel, barring unforeseen circumstances, the United States should end the Afghanistan war in 2014, as planned. Also, they believe if Israel becomes involved in a war with Iran then America must support its most important ally in the Middle East.

“America needs a strong military and a strong economy to project strength and to maintain peace,” Critz said. “With the end of the war in Iraq and the nearing of the end of the war in Afghanistan, we must rebuild our military and take care of our veterans, while also learning the lessons that came out of both conflicts.”

He thinks the U.S. can reduce its involvement in overseas battles by developing a new energy policy.

“We have fought too many wars in the Middle East and we will continue to be drawn into these conflicts until we become energy independent as a nation. ... The faster we develop a comprehensive policy to make the United States energy independent, the faster we can stop relying on the Middle East for our energy needs,” Critz said.

Rothfus, an Allegheny County lawyer, did not agree with America’s bombing of Libya, which helped rebels overthrow longtime dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi. Nor does he support taking action in Syria, where supporters of President Bashar al-Assad and opposition forces have clashed since the Arab Spring started in 2011.

“You have to evaluate what are the strategic American interests when you look at a country,” said Rothfus when discussing his nonintervention approach toward Libya and Syria. “I think conservatives, we learn from history. We learned from our experience in Iraq, or we should have. We’ve got to be very careful before we decide to commit our troops, and we have to understand the mission that we’re going into.”

Rothfus thinks President Barack Obama has not dealt strongly enough with unfriendly Middle East nations nor offered enough support to Israel.

“Number one, we have to defend Israel,” Rothfus said. “Now there is so much equivocation, so much uncertainty. When there is that kind of environment, there’s a vacuum. We have not sent a clear message on support for Israel.”

Critz has dealt with the military for more than a decade, dating back to when he worked on the staff of the late U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown. He currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

“Whether it’s meeting with veterans or working with national and local veterans organizations, Mark understands, like Mr. Murtha did, that you have to uphold the promise you made to those who have served our nation,” said Critz’s chief of staff, Matthew Mazonkey. “With his seat on the House Armed Services Committee, Mark speaks regularly with our military’s leaders and troops, and these conversations help to give him a better perspective of what’s really happening around the world.”

Rothfus is on the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania board of directors. The organization assists veterans in becoming self-sufficient after leaving the military.

“Our veterans are the real American heroes, and our nation owes them a debt of gratitude that can never be truly fulfilled,” said Rothfus. “Their sacrifices on the front lines of our battles for freedom should never be forgotten, and it is our duty to ensure that they are provided the benefits and care they deserve. That’s why I’m proud to serve on the board of directors of the Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. The VLP provides housing and employment assistance to western Pennsylvania’s veterans, and I am proud to play a part in it.”

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • bank1 West End bank robbed

    The West End branch of AmeriServ Financial was robbed Tuesday morning, two days before the branch is scheduled to close.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • weather_2 Old Man Winter returns to area

    Just when you think we’ve finally escaped the cold temperatures, winter swoops back in to remind us it’s not going away just yet.

    April 15, 2014 2 Photos

  • Home is Where The Tribune-Democrat is Delivered!

    April 15, 2014

  • City seeks support for sewer revamp

    The city is looking for backup from the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority in spreading what they call “true” facts and figures regarding the city’s encompassing sewer revamp.

    April 15, 2014

  • Airport gets lift with $180G grant

    The John Murtha Johnstown–Cambria County Airport needs to replace some basic maintenance equipment: a pickup truck, painting machine, chain saw, weed eater, hand tools and more.
    So, on Tuesday, the airport’s authority agreed to accept Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Aviation grant money that already has been tentatively allocated.

    April 15, 2014

  • Cresson asks court to force ex-chief to sign pact

    An agreement reached more than a month ago between Cresson Borough Council and its former police chief still has not been signed, and the borough is asking a judge to intervene.

    April 15, 2014

  • hamer 16 Mom told to seek help for addiction

    A Johnstown woman charged with tossing her 4-month-old baby and with drug-related offenses pleaded guilty and was sentenced in Cambria County court on Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • District hopes refinancing will save additional $40G

    Refinancing about $4 million in debt will result in savings more than twice as large as initially expected, Windber Area school board members learned Tuesday night.

    April 15, 2014

  • Elder justice events set

    In an effort to combat elder abuse in area communities, an elder justice seminar will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24 at the Johnstown Senior Center, 550 Main St., downtown Johnstown. In addition, a free elder abuse clergy training seminar will be held from 8:30 to 10 a.m. April 25 at Moxham Lutheran Church, 500 Park Ave., Johnstown.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local briefs 4/16/2014

    April 15, 2014

Poll

Do you think that Jack Williams will get the 270 signatures from city residents needed in order to have a referendum placed on a municipal ballot to have the city's pressure test mandate repealed?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads