Soldiers, Family Laud Bush Speech

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There will be no timetable for bringing American troops home, Bush said in his address Tuesday night from Fort Bragg (search), N.C. There have been — and will be — sacrifices, he said, but the United States "will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

"I agree with him, even though I want to tell him 'Bring the guys home,"' Dombrowski said from her home in Ludowici, Ga., five miles from Fort Stewart.

And while she agreed with Bush's statement that the war is worthy of sacrifice, Dombrowski acknowledged that she and her family could be the ones paying that price.

Dombrowski's husband, Staff Sgt. Joe Dombrowski, is now on a second tour of Iraq with about 19,000 other soldiers from Fort Stewart's 3rd Infantry Division.

"I sound like a bad person when I say, 'yeah' — and it hasn't happened to me — but that's my husband's job," she said. "And if it was to be him, I'd know he died making a sacrifice to save his country."

It remains to be seen whether Bush's speech resonated with an American public that polls show is increasingly dubious about the direction and human cost of the more than two-year-old war.

Associated Press reporters in some of the states that have seen the highest number of deaths in Iraq in the year since sovereignty was returned to the Iraqi people spoke to soldiers, Marines and others about the president's message.


Some 2,500 miles from where Bush spoke to the troops, the president's photograph hung on a wall at Beachcomber Barbershop in Oceanside, Calif., while Marines from Camp Pendleton got their hair cut and listened to the speech.

Cpl. James Anderson, 22, said he welcomed Bush's refusal to set a timetable.

"Like any Marine, you do the job until it's done. You don't just do it halfway and leave," said Anderson, a Houston native who said he is scheduled to leave for Iraq soon.

Fellow Houston native Cpl. Chase Krebb, 22, agreed.

"I'm a Marine. That's why I joined, to do this stuff, to serve and protect," Krebb said.


Thirty-five miles west of Chicago, in Elgin, Ill., Marine Staff Sgt. Shawn Doty watched Bush's speech in his basement with his wife and their two children.

"He hit everything. They knew what they were doing with that speech," said Doty, a 30-year-old reservist and radio technician who returned to Illinois in April after a six-month tour in Iraq.

"They need freedom as much as anybody else," Jen Doty said. "If that means sending our men over there, then that's what we have to do."


In Ohio, reactions to president's speech echoed the divisions of last fall's presidential race, when the state narrowly secured Bush's re-election.

Frances Troutman, who with her husband James is retired from the Air Force, dabbed at tears as she talked about the likelihood that daughters Danielle and Jennifer, both in the Air Force, will have to return to Iraq from their home in Kettering, near Dayton's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

"It's going to turn into a Vietnam," Frances Troutman predicted. " ... I listened very intently to what he had to say, but it doesn't change the fact that I still believe we're in the wrong place."

Danielle Troutman, on leave from the Air Force after spending 41/2 months in Iraq as a security escort, was even blunter than her mother.

"He doesn't know what the course is," Danielle Troutman said of the president.

In nearby Centerville, Maj. Rick Webster was reassured by Bush's determination to push ahead.

"I really think, as an overall whole in this, we're ahead of schedule," said Webster, 37, a pilot for the 445th Airlift Wing at Wright-Patterson.

Webster's wife hoped the speech would shore up support for the Iraq mission.

"To have my children have to hear, 'Oh well, we shouldn't be over there,' I think that's very degrading to the people who are" fighting the war, Jennifer Webster said as she played with the couple's 5-month-old son and 2-year-old daughter.


Bush's refusal to set a deadline for bringing troops home could mean Fort Hood, Texas-based Army Pfc. Jason Burt will get his wish.

After five years in the military without seeing combat, the 23-year-old from Greenville, N.C., re-enlisted last year in the hope of going to Iraq, he said as he watched Bush's speech from a restaurant in Killeen, near the base.

Burt's grandfather fought in World War II. His father is a Vietnam veteran.

"Every generation of my family has served, and I want to do something significant with my life that I could look back on and say I served my country and achieved something great," he said.