- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Amid heightening talk of war in Iraq, Don "Gibby" Giblin celebrated St. Patrick's Day yesterday at the Irish Channel pub in Northwest with no intentions of watching President Bush's address on a military strike.
A retired Marine, Mr. Giblin has seen conflict up close. His younger brother, Timothy Giblin, was 20 when he was one of 241 U.S. Marines killed Oct. 23, 1983, in Beirut, when two Islamic extremists rammed a truck packed with explosives into a building housing service members. The brothers were stationed in Beirut together.
"We are going after the wrong people with this war in Iraq. The real enemy is Iran," Mr. Giblin said.
"There is nothing [Mr. Bush] can tell me that I don't already know," he said. "Remember, we sided with Iraq during the [Iran/Iraq] war, and it has been Iran that has funded every terrorist act against the United States since 1979, not Iraq."
Other patrons who stopped by the pub last night said they support the American troops who are preparing to go to war.
"No matter what the president said tonight, I hope the people of America support the GIs who are there because they didn't support us when we were in Vietnam," Vietnam veteran Jim Tobin, 56, said after listening to Mr. Bush's speech.
"I will not let these boys be alone. We will stand together," said Mr. Tobin, a firefighter from Rhode Island.
Eric Hoffman, 28, a salesman from the District, said he supported Mr. Bush.
"The president was saying what was on the mind and in the hearts of all Americans," he said. "It's time to put an end to this problem."
In his address to the nation last night, Mr. Bush gave Iraqi President Saddam Hussein a 48-hour deadline to flee his country or face a U.S.-led invasion, saying American forces will wage war "at a time of our choosing."
Among the president's supporters was Veronica Crim, 27, of Arlington, whose husband, Marine Capt. Christopher F. Crim, is in Kuwait awaiting orders. Mrs. Crim said Saddam has had his chance to come clean.
"The ball is in his court now," she said after she watched the address. "He has had the last 12 years to disarm, and he hasn't. … I can watch this speech because of the freedom of speech, which is what my husband and the troops are fighting for over there. My husband is defending me and what we Americans believe in."
During the speech, most patrons sat quietly as they listened to Mr. Bush talk about the country's intentions.
Pub owner Tom Stack, 42, said the patrons requested that the bar's television sets be on so they could listen to what Mr. Bush had to say.
Others disagreed with Mr. Bush's comments and his push to go to war.
"I can't help but think that we are here in our capital city and we are safe," said Katie Carroll, 25, a contractor with the U.S. Agency for International Development. "But Mr. Bush was talking to the people of Baghdad, and who knows in two days they will probably be dead.
"If the people over here have to suffer like they will, we probably would not be going to war."
Dan Weber, 21, a health care researcher from the District, agreed.
"I didn't like the fact that Mr. Bush made an ultimatum [for Saddam] to vacate," he said. "We have been egotistical in the way we've handled this. There was a more diplomatic way to go about this."

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