Hinesville Couple Joins Crawford Protest

The protest outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, is getting bigger. Dozens of people are joining Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died in Iraq. He had only been in Iraq for five days.

Sheehan wants the president to pull the troops out of Iraq immediately and tells the president if he's so in favor of the war, why doesn't he send his family to fight?

"What was the noble cause that my son died for?" she asked. "I don't think it's noble. I don't think a war on aggression on a country that was no threat to the United States is noble. I want to know, George Bush, if you think this is such a noble cause, do you encourage your own daughters to go over, take the place of a soldier who wants to come home?"

"I've heard her position from others, which is get out of Iraq now," said the president. "And it would be a mistake for the security of this country and the ability to lay the foundations for peace in the long run if we were to do so."

Sheehan vows to stay there until President Bush comes out to talk to her, saying she'll continue her protest to Washington if he doesn't.

A Hinesville couple's joining the protest. Phil and Linda Waste have three sons and two grandchildren who've all had tours of duty in Iraq, fighting a war with which they disagree.

With so many family members to worry about, Linda has had to do a lot of math. "They have given a total of 57 months already with 18 more on seven deployments," she said. "And we're looking at the possibility of 24 more months. Our family has given enough."

"We support our troops," said Phil. "Bring them home now."

The Wastes are in Texas, lending support to Cindy Sheehan's protest. The president they're so desperate to talk to says he understands their concerns.

"I think about their cries and their sincere desire to reduce the loss of life by pulling our troops out and I just strongly disagree," President Bush said.

President Bush says at this point in the war, the loss of life would be greater if we did pull out all the troops instead of keeping them there to finish the job. "We're training the Iraqi security forces so Iraqis can defend themselves," he said.

No matter which side people take, Linda Waste told us on the phone it's been intense. "It's been an incredibly moving experience."

She says the president's comments about the protest aren't quite what they were hoping to hear when it comes to Cindy Sheehan.

"Unless he is speaking directly to her, answered her questions, answered the questions of all the Gold Star members and military families who are speaking out, he has given empty words," she said.

Linda and Phil Waste are scheduled to come back to Hinesville late Saturday night.

Reported by: Chris Cowperthwaite, ccowperthwaite@wtoc.com