LOS ANGELES -- Patients at West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, the nation's largest veterans hospital, greeted President Bush's speech with strong approval last night as they and their attendants watched him on television in their recreation room.

"It was a very good speech," said Bobby Asberry, 40, a hospital medical assistant and Vietnam veteran. "I would have hoped that a peaceful solution could have been found. {But} I'm glad he didn't wait because the longer he waited, the worse the troops would have been."

Asberry said that, after he found out "what type of person" Iraqi President Saddam Hussein was, he knew the United States would "have to go to war." Of Saddam and his aides, he added, "In about two months, they should be hung."

Asberry said he thought one-third of the U.S. troops would have to be left in the Persian Gulf region for a year. The gulf war would not be as bad as Vietnam was, he said, because "they're going to let military people do their job" this time.

Bob Gittens, 59, a retired mailman who lives in La Puente, a Los Angeles suburb, said that when U.S. troops expel the Iraqis from Kuwait, "I think they should keep on going until the entire regime is out of there."

He said Bush had no choice. "A country like ours cannot give deadlines and then back off," Gittens said.

Gittens said that the war must end quickly, with a minimum of casualties, because people would not support a long war. "This is necessary, but it's still going to be an unpopular war because people are fed up with wars. Vietnam did something to this country that's going to take a long time to heal."