Frustration at another failure, support of the president and disappointment at that ever-elusive idea of peace were among the responses offered by Utahns after President Bush rejected the Soviet peace proposal and handed Iraq another deadline to leave Kuwait.
More than 100 people gathered on the steps of the Utah Capitol Saturday afternoon to show their support for the troops - the same way they've done every other week since the war began. Many said they have family members and friends in the gulf and would like to see a peace plan work, but know their troops want to ensure any peace is one that will last.At the Salt Lake County Complex, about 35 Utahns gathered at Rep. Wayne Owens' town meeting to discuss the recent developments in the gulf and the impending ground war, which started later in the day. Owens said he felt it was unfortunate that Saddam Hussein wouldn't take this last opportunity to avoid destruction.
"I've seen two peace deadlines pass that I thought would be successful," said Owens. "I had hoped the ground war would be avoided."
Owens said he felt the Soviet peace plan was acceptable, but said the president has more information than he does and hoped it was a good decision to reject the Soviet plan. Owens felt acceptance of the peace plan would have been total victory and said he believed the president was adhering to his original goals in the Middle East.
Owens added that he felt the air war had been successful, and that he didn't think the land war would have been pursued if it hadn't been.
In front of the Federal Building, dozens of other Utahns - mostly members of the Utah Coalition Against the U.S. War in the Middle East - gathered to show their anger at the rejection of the peace plan.
"We want to bring it to the attention of the United States people that they're being lied to," said Buddy Beck, an organizer for the group. "It's not a matter of their concern over liberating Kuwait. The Bush administration has let no ground for a peaceful solution."
"I thought it (the peace plan) was a way out without causing more death and destruction," said Paul Mailhot, another organizer from the group. He also felt that the reason there was so much public support of the war right now was because it really hadn't hit home yet.
"People really haven't been able to see what the war's all about," Mailhot said. Mailhot also felt that as casualties mount, support for the war will dwindle. The group was calling the gathering an emergency picket line, protesting the initiation of a ground war.