This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
While most Utahns no longer support President Bush's handling of the Iraq War, many are willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on a new strategy that includes sending 20,000 more troops into combat.
"We need to send more troops over there," said Mariel Steel of South Jordan, after listening to Bush's national address Wednesday. "The situation needs a little more time. We need to help get [the Iraqis] on their feet."
Forest Hansen, a Salt Lake Korean War veteran says, "I don't think we have any other option" to the troop "surge," which the president hopes will reduce sectarian violence by November.
Hansen hopes the nation will give Bush's new strategy time to work. "I haven't heard any kind of a plan from the Democrats," he said. "All I've heard from them is cut and run - though you'd never get them to use those words."
Lydia Manning, however, is exasperated with the president's plan. "He's heading in the wrong direction," says the West Jordan grandmother of a Marine. "I don't think it's going to work out the way he anticipates. By November? No way."
Similar troop escalations have failed in the past because Bush doesn't seem to understand the realities of the Iraqi government, Manning says. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki ''doesn't have the backbone to keep going [after the militias]."
Manning fears the majority of Americans are insulated from the sacrifice that an increased deployment will mean to families across the country. She and her husband worry about the granddaughter they raised from infancy who is now Marine Cpl. Stephanie Dawn Manning.
"I have a granddaughter who at any time could be deployed to Iraq. We have friends who have children serving in Iraq," she says. "It's so hard to be on this side of the table."
Bush announced Wednesday night that he would send more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq to provide security in the Bagdad area and the Anbar province. The strategy to "clear, hold and build" neighborhoods would include participation of Iraqi troops and police.
The president said the troop increase will "break the cycle of violence" because enough troops will be available to hold the areas after they are secured. The troops also will have a green light to sweep sectarian neighborhoods, Bush said.
Stacy Mann, a West Jordan business owner, found little new or positive in the plan.
"It seems like we aren't making much of a difference there. It's a shame to send more troops over because the casualties are so high. I can't see how sending more is going to help. Sooner or later, the Iraqis are going to have to step up and do it on their own anyway."
But most Utahns, including Alan Balls of Hyde Park in Cache County, are willing to give the president's plan time to work - as much as a year or more to see a reduction in violence. "I hate to see more troops go over there," Balls says. "But we have to get it done before we leave."