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Keller @ Large: A Divided Nation Contemplates A Wider War

BOSTON (CBS) - At his press conference Monday morning at the G-20 summit in Turkey, President Barack Obama stood pat on his longstanding policy - no more than a token number of U.S. ground troops in Syria to take the fight to Daesh (ISIS).

But some of our allies and voices from both parties in Congress are saying it may be necessary. And we wondered - what do people in our area, a traditional stronghold of anti-war sentiment but also home to many military families, think of the prospect of escalation?

Inside Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Church in Waltham, the views of parishioners gathered Monday night at a prayer service for peace reflected our leaders' division and anxiety over the prospect of another ground war.

"It's a very difficult decision because I'm totally against war," says Lourdes Alvarez of Belmont, a Cuban-American who says she understands the need to push back hard against the terrorists. "At some point somebody has to stop what's going on with ISIS. They say that once the power of love can conquer the love of power, that's when we're gonna have peace."

And for Franco-American Patrick Botti, the horror in his homeland prompts a reluctant resolve.

"I would be opposed [to a wider ground war] on principle as a Catholic, because I believe in peace," he says. "At the same time, if that's the only solution, then I would support it."

But just like the rest of the nation, according to the polls that show majority opposition to adding ground forces, this parish is a house divided.

"We're losing a lot of our fine young men and women now already in wars and fighting pretty much the same thing," says Caroline Mei of Waltham. "So do we have to add to that?"

"I really don't think I could condone it," adds Toni Berit of Waltham. "I definitely want to promote peace as much as I can, not fighting and bringing more ground troops in there. Violence only breeds violence."

And the last word goes to young Alfreda Antonyraj of Waltham, on hand with her sister Alexandra to sing for the congregation. "It's surprising that the world is like this and we want it to change," she says. "So we pray to God and sing."

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