Soldiers Who Dined With Bush on Thanksgiving Welcome U.N. Resolution With AM-Gulf Rdp, Bjt
EDITH M. LEDERER
Nov. 30, 1990
IN EASTERN SAUDI ARABIA (AP) _ The soldiers who shared Thanksgiving dinner with President Bush said Friday they welcomed the ultimatum set by the U.N. Security Council as the only way to get Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.
''He better let the hostages go and he better leave, or we're coming to get him,'' said Sgt. William R. Blocker, 27, of Sylacauga, Ala., who chatted with Barbara Bush as he ate his turkey and trimmings.
A week after their commander-in-chief told them he would not let Saddam remain in Kuwait indefinitely, soldiers from the 197th Infantry Brigade gathered in their dusty desert camp to voice support for his latest success at the United Nations.
Several said the resolution authorizing the use of force if Iraq fails to leave conquered Kuwait by Jan. 15 should have been adopted months ago. It was passed Thursday.
''I think it's about 90 days too late, but I can live with Jan. 15,'' said Sgt. Mark Channer, 25, of New York City, who was Mrs. Bush's escort.
His advice to Saddam: ''Pack up and move out quick.''
Sgt. James Landreth, 29, of New Boston, Ohio, who ate turkey with Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole, echoed Channer saying, ''it should have happened a while back. As we got here, they should already have figured that out.''
For months, Blocker said, the troops have ''been in limbo'' not knowing if they were going to stay here or go home.
''Now we know we're going to be here 'til the end - 'til he either leaves or we force him out. It's a good relief to hear something like that because basically they opened the door and let us out of the dark and they let us know what was going on,'' Blocker said.
Cpl. Thomas Cook, 32, of Granite City, Ill., like the rest of the brigade has spent three months in a desolate patch of desert, about an hour's ride from the nearest paved highway in a four-wheel drive vehicle down a bumpy sand trail.
Bush wants to put an end to the stalemate, he said.
''We can't just sit out here and just keep yelling at each other so somebody's got to do something,'' Cook said.
Sgt. 1st Class Steven Campbell, 37, of Ft. Benning, Ga., where the brigade is headquartered, said: ''It's an indication again that we're not going to back down from Hussein. I think it needed to be done and we did it, and the U.N. is the forum to do it.''
''I'd like to get home sooner to my wife and children, but I'm not packing my bags yet,'' said the 19-year Army veteran who introduced the president to the 1,250 soldiers and politicians at Thanksgiving dinner.
Spec. Robert Terry, 23, of Rehoboth Beach, Del., said Bush's visit helped morale and the U.N. resolution would also be a boost.
''I think the guys out here - now that they have a positive date that something will happen, I think that'll help 'em out,'' he said.
''But truthfully, I think Hussein'll pull out before that. He's got more brains than that,'' he said.