Hawaii Reaction To Bush Iraq Plan

Nick Sporic
Nick Sporic
President Bush
President Bush

By Paul Drewes

(KHNL) - Hawaii, with its military presence, is home to thousands of enlisted men and women from all branches of our armed forces.

Several retired and active service members on Oahu listened to President Bush's speech on Wednesday.

It's a touchy subject.

Active military members refused to go on camera to tell us how they feel.

Off the record, some admitted they think more troops would not help win the war or could even be a costly mistake.

But we did find some who have served and who were willing to share their thoughts on the plan.

"So I have committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq," said President Bush on Wednesday.

The president's revised plan for Iraq keeps some supporters firmly on his side.

"He gave good reasons for the plan, if he's commander in chief we should go along with it," said Bud Williams, who is retired from the U.S. Navy.

"There is no choice, we have to win there or we'll be fighting them here," said Rick Nelson, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force.

For others, their support will only last so long.

"I would have to reconsider my position if by the end of the year, there is still a quagmire. Then we'd be in a bad position," said Mike Sarpy, who is retired from the U.S. Army.

Those who have served their country support the troops in Iraq, but not all support the president's decision to step up the number of soldiers.

"I absolutely support the troops but I don't think sending more troops is going to do that, get them out of there is a better way to go," said Nick Sporic, who is retired from the U.S. Air Force.

And one army soldier went so far as to not only oppose the president's plan but also voice his support for Lt. Erin Watada - who is being tried for his refusal to deploy to Iraq.

What does Wednesday's announcement mean for island soldiers?

There have been assurances from General Lee that no more Hawaii National Guard troops will be deployed to the conflict in Iraq.