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US Troops Skeptical About Obama’s Plan

Some truly creative writing from the Associated Press:

US troops hopeful Obama plan will wind down war

By Denis Gray, Associated Press Writer

December 2, 2009

FORWARD OPERATING BASE AIRBORNE, Afghanistan – U.S. service members in Afghanistan said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops offered hope that they can go home — if the reinforcements can build up the Afghan army to protect civilians against the Taliban.

The troops at this base in Wardak province, west of Kabul, learned of Obama’s decision while watching TV clips of his speech during their breakfast of sausage, eggs, hash browns, fruit and cereal. Obama said that if conditions permit, the troops could begin coming home in 18 months.

"Really, I’m truly happy," said Air Force Tech. Sgt. Phillip M. Hauser, an explosives demolition expert from Salina, Kansas, who is on his fourth tour of Afghanistan and Iraq. "As soon as the Afghans can do it on their own without our help, we can go home."

Sgt. Maj. Andrew Spano of Northboro, Massachusetts, deployed with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division, wondered whether to bank on the beginnings of a U.S. pullout in 18 months.

"Obama talking to the American people and the world shows that we have much greater direction," he said. "The train has been going down the track for some time, but this just gives us more guidelines."

But Spano appeared skeptical whether Afghan forces would be ready in 18 months — a fear echoed by a number of Afghan officials who believed the timeline was too short. Asked about the 18-month timeframe, Spano asked: "What does it really mean?"

Capt. Mark Reel from Norfolk, Virginia, a civil affairs officer, said more troops mean nothing unless they can give local Afghans a sense of perceived security.

"They have to believe they are more secure. You get thousands of troops on some of these bases here, but what are they really doing? The troops just have to get out there."

The reason the surge worked in Iraq, he said, is because troops were able to get into the field and make Iraqis feel safer.

"The additional forces will allow us to partner with even more units of the Afghan army and police and deliver even more relationships with those local influential leaders who may be sitting on the fence," said Col. David Haight, commander of Task Force Spartan, which has about 4,000 troops in Wardak and Logar provinces.

In the United States, battle-weary troops and their families braced for a wrenching round of new deployments to Afghanistan, but many said they support the surge as long as it helps to end the 8-year-old conflict.

Marines and their families interviewed by The Associated Press in Jacksonville, North Carolina, near Camp Lejeune, felt a mix of fresh concerns and renewed hopes. The Marine Corps base could supply some of the first surge units by Christmas.

"All I ask that man to do, if he is going to send them over there, is not send them over in vain," said 57-year-old Bill Thomas of Jacksonville, who watched Obama’s speech in his living room, where photos of his three sons in uniform hang over the TV.

One of his sons, 23-year-old Cpl. Michael Thomas, is a Marine based at Camp Lejeune. He’ll deploy next year to Afghanistan.

An ex-Marine himself, Thomas said he supports Obama’s surge strategy. But he shook his head when the president announced a 2011 transition date to begin pulling out troops.

"If I were the enemy, I would hang back until 2011," Thomas said. "We have to make sure that we are going go stay until the job is done. It ain’t going to be as easy as he thinks it is."

As the wife of a Marine stationed at Camp Lejeune, Jamie Copeland said she wished the war "would be over and done with."

Copeland’s husband, Sgt. Doug Copeland, is already scheduled to return to Afghanistan later this fall. She hates to see him go — he just returned from his last seven-month tour in August — and miss more time with their 1-year-old son. But she also conceded that American forces need more help fighting Taliban insurgents.

"We need to be in Afghanistan," said Copeland, 24. "Our Marines are getting slaughtered out there. I would say we need more out there. Iraq is done."

At the John Hoover Inn, a bar in Evans Mills, N.Y., near Fort Drum, a dozen soldiers watched the speech on a large-screen TV, drinking beer out of red cups. When Obama announced the troop increase, only one cheered, and the rest remained silent. They continued to play darts while the president was speaking.

"I’m just relieved to know where we’re going," said Spc. Adam Candee, 29, of Chicago.

Theresa McCleod said she worries what Obama’s plans might mean for her husband, a soldier in the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum. She said he’s already done a long combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, leaving her to care for their three children.

"First he was supposed to be pulling everyone out, and now all the sudden he’s throwing everybody back into Afghanistan and it’s like nobody can really make up their minds," McCleod said of Obama.

Of course our soldiers would like to come home.

But the Associated Press has made it sound like they approve of what Mr. Obama has announced.

From the article’s lede (lead):

U.S. service members in Afghanistan said Wednesday that President Barack Obama’s decision to send 30,000 more troops offered hope that they can go home…

Meanwhile, only one of quotes from the several service men or relatives cited supports this claim. (It’s the first in the article.)

The rest seem to fairly dubious of Mr. Obama’s strategy to some degree or another.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

7 Responses to “US Troops Skeptical About Obama’s Plan”

  1. Liberals Demise says:

    “Hope and Change” is now in place for the “Great religion of the world.”
    How does the Commander in Grief feel about giving “Aid and Comfort” to our sworn enemies?

    Answer: He doesn’t!

  2. proreason says:

    Pre-surrendering. What a concept.

    Let’s get married. We’ll divorce in 18 months after you gain 20 pounds.
    I’m going to college. I’ll quit in 18 months when the tough courses start.
    Let’s buy a house. We can default in 18 months to be able to buy new cell phones and plasma tv’s.

  3. Tater Salad says:

    The troops are skeptical and the rest of the world is also!

  4. MinnesotaRush says:

    The propagandizing AP couldn’t print what most of our troops think or feel about this inept and cowardly president and administration!

    Once again, o-blah-blah (and his ilk) has shown he’s completely out of touch!

  5. tranquil.night says:

    It’s obvious what Bam thinks of war, the military, sacrifice, and pretty much anything selfless: it’s all game so long as He can control it without having to participate in it.

    But when in public perception did Afghanistan go from ‘the good war’ to the new quagmire? Was this accomplished simply by the seasons’-long dithering? At this point is it just better to pull-out then throw away the lives of good Americans by what we know will be a TRULY mismanaged war?

    Why hasn’t it been noted over and over again now that the rising violence on American troops in Afghanistan has come in the wake of our drawback in Iraq? Given this knowledge, and given that the left is so adamant that Afghanistan is a terrible country to fight terrorism because of the terrain nightmare, doesn’t it seem in hind-sight now a brilliant strategy to have conducted the war on terror out in open Iraq, the former stronghold of Islamic Fascism and support for militant terror?

    Again, seemingly too much critical thinking and dot-connecting for the mainstream. Advertising based journalism isn’t dead, Murdoch, journalism is dead.

  6. GetBackJack says:

    Advice to Afghan citizens.

    Get the hell out of Dodge. The controlling powers of the United States are about to do unto you what George Bush, Sr. did to the Kurds … promise help and revolution and then take a pass just as the Kurds shook their fists at Saddam.

    Learn from the perfidy of George Bush, Sr and the Kurds. And loyal Vietnamese back in the 70s. Etc. Get the hell out now before the slaughter arrives.

    Obama’s West Point speech was your clarion call to save yourselves. DO NOT IGNORE IT.


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