Most Americans -- 63 percent according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll last week -- support a U.S.-led war against Iraq if necessary to force Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. But when they talk about the possibility of conflict, a wealth of voices emerges.
Many want to support President Bush's decisions, despite concerns about a long-term conflict and disturbing comparisons to Vietnam. Some believe the United States has been too patient; others are uneasy about justifications given for the massive deployment.
Washington Post reporters who traveled to six areas of the country last week found all of these views.
In Shelbyville, Tenn., and Chula Vista, Calif., home to many military families, few doubts were expressed. In small-town Indiana, retired banker Blaine H. Wiseman said: "Any time a bully captures another country, we can't let that happen."
But Margarita Bianco, a private school teacher in Atlanta, wants more answers. "I think the reasons for our involvement have been very unclear," she said. In Auburn, Maine, ex-police officer Bill Fournier asked: "Are we willing to die for oil?"
And in Longmont, Colo., Pat Thorpe worried about her son in the Persian Gulf. "I listen to the president and, God, I want to believe him," she said. "He holds my son's life in his hands."