In The Nation, George Wilson presents an interesting look at North Carolina congressman Walter Jones’s antiwar tendencies. What makes it odd for Jones to have common cause with The Nation‘s readers is that he is not only conservative (on other issues), but a religious conservative:
Even though more retired military people live in Jones’s district than in most other districts in the country, he has discovered that many marines who served in Afghanistan agree with him that the United States is fighting a hopeless, never-ending war for a corrupt government. Jones, who gets down on his knees every night to pray for God’s guidance on the issues he will be voting on in the House of Representatives, is conscience-stricken about all the American lives being lost or ruined in Afghanistan and Iraq. His conscience, laminated to his guilt for voting to invade Iraq in 2002, has radicalized this conservative Republican from rural North Carolina into doing everything he can to get the roughly 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan the hell out of there.
Jones believes his anti-Afghan War effort is slowly winning supporters in the House. Most of them are Democrats, but he has high hopes of converting Tea Party Republicans looking for more places to cut the budget. “A lot of these Tea Party types said during their campaigns that they were ready to get out of Afghanistan,” Jones said. “Slowly, but not enough of them, Republicans are beginning to inch toward bringing the troops home.”
Jones has been a thorn in the Republican leadership’s side for his antiwar votes; for instance, he was one of the four Republicans to not vote for the 2012 budget. Yet he was once just as big a hawk as he is now a dove — as Wilson mentions, he was one of the House members who got the House cafeteria to rename French fries “Freedom fries” in 2003 when France did not back the invasion of Iraq.