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Ex-Marine says U.S. needs to act

Doug Laurence can only shake his head at those who would climb a tree and go on a hunger strike to demonstrate their opposition to war with Iraq.

Hey, if they are stupid enough to go up there, let them go hungry, he said.

But, he added, People are entitled to their opinion, as long they don't harm anyone else.

Laurence, 54, of Phoenix, a 17-year-veteran of the Marine Corps, beginning with a tour of Vietnam in 1967-68, is all for dropping the bombs on military targets in Iraq now.

My personal feeling is that I when I feel threatened, I take action, he said. I think the U.S. is threatened right now. We need to take action.

A veteran of the Gulf War, Laurence, who left the Corps after the Vietnam War era and rejoined in 1981, serving until 1993, described himself as a conservative Christian.

There is no doubt in his mind that Saddam represents evil, and that he will use whatever weapons are at his disposal when he gets the chance.

If someone is a potential threat, and it's been verified they are, then why let them take the first strike? he asked.

This man is a madman, he added. He will attack when he gets a chance. Why give him that chance? Take them out in my book.

Laurence agrees with the Bush administration that Saddam is in violation of the United Nations resolution requiring him to disarm.

The United States, its allies and the coalition have every right to do what they intend to do: Disarm him, he said, adding that Saddam is the one who is in the wrong, not the U.S.-led coalition.

He's lying, he said of denials by Saddam that Iraq has gotten rid of all of its weapons of mass destruction.

We don't need to give him anymore time, he said. It doesn't make sense.

A sergeant when he was discharged, Laurence said he would rejoin the military if he were younger and in better shape.

A lot of people are concerned about the war, concerned about our armed forces being put in harm's way, he said. But they should remember these people joined to protect our nation, to eliminate any threat, foreign or domestic.

There is no question in his mind that Saddam is a threat to both the United States and the free world.

We have people willing to go, to prevent people like Saddam from continuing to be a threat, he said. And we've got a bunch of little Hitlers out there we need to stop. This is pre-emptive.