Ohio Reaction Mixed to Bush’s Iraq Plans

President Bush will tell the nation tonight about revised plans for Iraq, including sending thousands of additional U-S troops there. But people on their lunch hours in downtown Columbus were mostly critical of the details.

Reports say the president wants to pump $1 billion into the Iraqi economy and will send an additional 21,000 troops to the country. That was good news for Peter Marlin, who was leaving Tommy’s Diner on West Broad Street. Marlin, who said he was a sergeant in the Marines during two tours of duty in Iraq, said he supports the president’s plan.

“Hell, yeah, I support it, Marlin said. “I was over there for a year and a half. So I’m all about getting more bodies over there to help out.”

Still eating at the counter inside was Ken Wilson who’s opposed to the new plan. Wilson says he spent 18 months in another controversial U.S. conflict.

“I say no. I’m firmly against it. We should not be over there. I spent too many years in Vietnam for nothin.’ And we don’t need to be over there, either.”

A senior administration official says Mr. Bush will commit 4,000 more Marines to the volatile Anbar Province and 17,500 more combat troops to Baghdad. But diners Sally Haines and Angela Smith said they think the death toll among U-S troops is already too high. More than 3-thousand have been killed – 132 of those from Ohio.

“I don’t think they should be over there, they need to bring the boys home, that’s enough. We’ve lost enough lives over there.”

20,000 more troops? How many lives is that out of that 20,000? That’s not fair to those young men. And for us to keep hearing that there’s a strategy problem, that just doesn’t seem fair.”

Customer Neal Crabbe said he has supported the president from the beginning because in his words he’s doing the right thing. And Crabbe says he’ll continue to support the president to the end. But Ida Smith doubted whether the Bush Administration’s aims would ever be achieved. She said leaving the country entirely is a better idea.

“We need to get out of Iraq. The sooner the better, yes. 100%. Because we can’t make other countries democratic. They had their governments long before we ever existed – Biblical times they had that country, yes.

The first brigade will arrive by next Monday.

Democrats are planning to register their opposition and may vote onthe increase in an effort to discredit the demonstration’s his handling of the war.