Stay or Go? Wisconsin Voters Weighing In on Iraq

In Wisconsin this week, people on both sides of the Iraq war will take their passion to the polls, voting in referendums on whether U.S. troops should be pulled out right now.

The measures calling for immediate withdrawal won't carry any legal weight and can't force the Bush administration to pull troops out of Iraq. But just getting the question on the ballot in more than 30 Wisconsin towns is another sign of growing discontent with the war.

Backers of the referendum are canvassing dozens of small towns in Wisconsin, going door-to-door to end the war by distributing anti-war literature.

"You gotta know when to hold them and know when to fold them," Penny Eiler, an anti-war referendum organizer, said. "Well, it's time to cut our losses and walk away."

Watertown is one of 32 communities that will weigh in, and the town of 23,000 seems an unlikely hotbed of opposition. After all, it voted overwhelmingly for President Bush the past two elections.

However, more and more folks there are fed up with the fighting -- including National Guardsman Rustin Wittenburg, a 25-year-old father of two who will head to Iraq for the first time later this month.

"I didn't disagree with it in the beginning," Wittenburg said, "and I kind of do now because I see it going down hill."

But Richard Petarius Jr., a cobbler and Watertown resident, feels strongly the other way.

"I'm going to vote to keep them there," Petarius said, "to finish the job that was done."

Local Paper Full of Opinionated Letters

Watertown's local paper has been flooded with letters to the editor, often pitting neighbor against neighbor, even veteran against veteran.

"I feel that if enough people at the grass roots level make a statement, the government has to listen," said Lyle Lidholm who fought in the Korean War.

But the troops are listening, too, says Louis Checkai, who spent four decades in the National Guard.

"The big danger is that morale of the troops is going to go down," Checkai said. "That's what the big danger is."

As divisive as this referendum is, both sides agree on one thing: they need to support the troops no matter how long they are in Iraq.

ABC News' Geoff Morrell and Tom Giusto reported this story for "World News Tonight."

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