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Voices in the Desert : There's a Feeling of 'Let's Get It Done'


EASTERN SAUDI ARABIA — Comments from some Americans waiting for war or peace in the Persian Gulf:

Sgt. Rodney Pigford, Philadelphia, who has yet to see his first child, born Nov. 7:

"I pray for my wife because I love her so much. And I pray for my fellow human beings because this old world seems to be having a whole lot of trouble."

Master Gunnery Sgt. James Carter, 27-year Marine veteran:

"If Marines aren't complaining, there's something wrong. With Marines, it's too hot, it's too cold, it's too wet, it's too dry. Put 12 Marines in the Garden of Eden and all 12 would find something to complain about."

Sgt. Steve Tafoya, Sacramento, National Guard truck driver:

"I don't like being here, but I think about all the people who died for our country, and they didn't want to be where they were either. So I figure I'm just doing my duty and that makes me feel kind of proud. In a way, I feel I'm here defending my family. You give guys like Saddam Hussein an inch here, a country there and tomorrow you're fighting in California. I don't think Saddam Hussein knows what he's gotten himself into. He isn't up against some piss-ass country. He's up against the United States of America."

Cpl. Jeff Manka, Grand Island, Neb.:

"I heard on the radio this morning that Congress is raising questions about supporting us. Morale's pretty good out here, but I'll tell (you), that really takes you down a peg."

Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Va.) after visiting U.S. troops in December:

"I didn't find a single soldier who didn't say he'd rather get this over with and go home."

Sgt. Paul Diaz, National Guardsman from Weymouth, Mass.:

"I don't want to see nobody get dead. But if we're going to do it, let's get it done. If we declare peace and leave, then there's going to be grief later, having to deal with Iraq again. If there's war, there's going to be grief now."

Lt. Cmdr. Terry Aragoni, Syracuse, N.Y., a Navy surgeon:

"The boredom and sense of deprivation can be overwhelming. You waste time trying to decide the most inconsequential things, like, should I use hot or cold water to shave with this morning? We know we're missing out on life here, but I guess we're all willing to be here."

Maj. Baxter Ennis, Fayetteville, N.C., 82nd Airborne Division:

"If we go to war, I hope it's with Congress' declaration. This shouldn't be the military's war. Especially not when you've got an all-volunteer military. The American people, Congress, the military should all be involved. In Vietnam, a lot of anger, frustration and hostility was directed at the military and that wasn't right. It should have been directed at Congress."

Lt. Gen. Gary Luck, commander, 18th Airborne Corps:

"There is nothing glorious about war. But if Saddam Hussein wants to try us, he's going to find he's picked the wrong outfit."

Gunnery Sgt. John James, Emporia, Kan., on the countdown to Jan. 15:

"If it happens, it happens. If it don't, it don't."

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