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December 2nd, 2009
10:20 AM ET

Ft. Bragg families react to Afghanistan decision

The nation is refocusing on the war in Afghanistan, but at Fort Bragg it's been issue number one since the first parachute deployed.

The famed 82nd Airborne were among the first on the ground at Normandy in WWII, during President Bush's surge in Iraq, and in President Obama's first Afghan surge early this year. Now, more soldiers at Fort Bragg could get their orders in the next few days.

Our David Mattingly reports on the reaction to President Obama's speech at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Filed under: Afghanistan • Military
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. Craig Smtih

    This article is about how families react to the annoucement from their commander in chief of future deployments. The comments are about personal opinions that don't always reflect the facts. First, as previously mentioned, the President of the United States can NOT declare war, ONLY the US Congress has that power, no one man. Second, after our country was attacked, let me say that again, after our country was attacked, the US Military will not "go to a defensive posture" to protect the citizens of this country. Third, the current commander in chief was elected in a free election and now has the responsibility to manage the war, it was his choice to run for office. Personally, I have served with the US Army during time of war, I highly doubt most of the individuals who made a comment can say the same, you have the right & responsibility of free speech, please stop blaming others & start trying to earn the rights you have been given.

    December 4, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  2. Floyd

    I served 22 years in the Air Force and did two tours in the Vietnam War. There are no Republican or Democrat wars, when we go to war it is an American war. I do not care who is the President if we go to war I will back him even if I do not agree with him. When I was active duty I went anywhere the military needed me to go no questions ask. The only problem I have is a deadline to pull out. We need to stay as long as needed and no restrictions to fighting the war. When we encounter the enemy we need to kill him. We are not there to build a government we are there to get the people responbile for 9/11. We take care of that and the resr will take care of itself

    December 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  3. raymond

    First, god bless all our troops in harms way. Secondly, have any of you folks posting comments forgotten the reason why we are in Afghanistan? This country was attacked eight years ago by terrorist who have admitted to this atrocity and who are hiding/running to this country. President Obama has but one choice and that is to eliminate the threat to this country. It's his job as commander-in-chief of our armed forces. As for setting a time table, I feel there should be some plan for removal of most of our troops, but only after the threat has been neutralized or eliminated, but our country will be forever tasked with some type of force in that region.

    December 4, 2009 at 1:32 pm |
  4. dnsmith

    What will win is to fight a war like we did in WW2. Scorched earth! Then support nation building AFTER all the insurgency stops.

    December 4, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  5. dnsmith

    One of you is right, the war is AMERICA'S war. Most of you now complaining about it were the first to condemn Bush for Iraq touting Afghanistan as the important war.

    The objectionable thing about Afghanistan is the failure of us to fight the war instead of pussy footing around like Bush did and Obama's stated strategy will do.

    What will win is to fight a war like we did in WW2. Scorched earth! Then support nation building AFTER all the insurgency stops.

    Obama hasn't the balls to do that so this will do little more than cost soldiers lives. As a retired Military officer I object to this kind of war so I believe Obama should start REMOVING our soldiers now and let Karzai worry about Afghanistan.

    December 4, 2009 at 12:45 pm |
  6. Mike

    I feel bad for those guys, I was one of them once. Their honest sense of duty and country shrewdly manipulated by the neocons for interests other than those of the citizens of this country.

    December 3, 2009 at 8:20 pm |
  7. JLP

    I salute our troops and hope they all return from this war.

    I am disappoint (not surprised) that President Obama cut the number of requested troops requested, announced a planned departure date, and further announced where the troops would be deployed.

    I can't imagine a more inept action. I can see FDR in 1944... we are sending 1 million soldiers, to Normandy and we will pull out in 18 months.... go figure why FDR didn't do that....

    God Bless our Troops and their Families.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  8. Anthony Fantacone

    Why can’t we continuously blame the past administrations for all their criminal blunders? I think we should never forget just as the Germans should never forget for what the Nazis did to their country. Our American soldiers will continue to die because of the Bush gang that got us into this death trap. Now, Obama is trying to save the salvageable and getting very little support from the war mongers. Yes in a perfect world the soldiers should come home because that war is not winnable; Vietnam all over again. But this is not a perfect world and we have to live with all the mistakes that our great “leaders” push on us. Let us never forget.

    December 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  9. Craig W. Strong

    I am currently a student at the Army Command and General Staff College satellite campus at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. I am an Army Major and I have been a member of the military for over 20 years with two deployments to Iraq. Based upon my military education and experiences, I think the President’s Afghanistan strategy provides a pragmatic answer for the current situation. On the one hand, a surge of troops will help meet General McChrystal’s intent to provide needed time and space for improving the Afghan army. On the other hand, setting a target date for transition of authority over to the Afghans will provide the sense of urgency that may have been lacking over the past eight years. Unlike many of my colleagues, I am comfortable with setting timeframes that provide tangible benchmarks and measurements of success. At least in my opinion, the Iraqi situation appeared to improve when the Iraqi’s understood we would not be there forever. I think it is safe to say that the removal of the “blank check” at least contributed to the improved situation in Iraq. Unfortunately, the global security environment forces most people out of their out-dated world view comfort zone. Today, it is extremely difficult to but the current conflict in terms of “wins” and “losses” like we were able to do in World War II. We as the military execute the directives of the President, which are based upon clearly defined national interests. Success, in large measure, is defined by the will and support of the American people. This goes beyond simply winning a decisive battle. As history has shown, you can win countless battles and still lose the war. The world is no longer the black and white of “W’s” and “L’s” as many conservatives like to paint it nor is it as simple as “at war” or “at home/peace” as many liberals see the world. Again, it is much too complex for such simplistic paradigms. The war here is based upon protecting and preserving our national interests and protecting our homeland. Afghanistan is and will remain a part of our strategic interest for quite some time in the future. Moreover, the ability to simply pull out of this region is made even more difficult considering the fact that Pakistan possess nuclear weapons and we cannot allow those weapons to fall into fanatical hands. The fact remains that withdrawal from Afghanistan will not eliminate our withdrawal from the region. We will continue to maintain a vigilant presence and over-watch in this region as well as other parts of the world. America will continue to serve as the “first responder” if a fire breaks out in our global neighborhood – with great power comes great responsibility. This is a fact that will not make a lot of folks happy but it is reality. For me, I just remain proud and fortunate to serve in an outstanding organization consisting of some our Country’s most remarkable people who freely decide to support and defend our Constitution and take on the multiple challenges that lie ahead.
    The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense or the U.S. Government.

    December 3, 2009 at 4:04 pm |
  10. Slappy H. White

    I do not wish to play politics with this war. Is war hard? Yes. Is war expensive? Yes. Our soldiers have a mission, and until the mission changes we must support the military. If this increase provides additional safety for the boots on the ground, or the means to accomplish the mission I dont care if you do raise my taxes.

    Will they win? It depends what you mean by "win." Will they do their job? You bet – the American soldier is second to none. When they have a job to do – they do it – sometimes at inconceivable personal sacrifice. Can we win this war with a big violent pitched battle? No – the other side(s) would not show up for that. But until someone upstairs changes the mission, I think we must support our military men and women.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  11. adam

    The obvious decision was to ramp up our forces in Afghanistan. It didn't need to take this long. The alternative would be a full pullout, in which case we, as a country, would be responsible for the civil war atrocities that would follow. Or keeping the troop numbers low, which would guarantee no chance at success or progress towards a desireable outcome. Obama's biggest mistake here is setting a deadline for troop pullout. We have no earthly idea how long it will take to stabilize the situation in Afghanistan. There' s no reason to believe the present calculations are any closer to reality than calculations of yester-year. Also, the terrorist faction could easily halt operations in the months leading up to the pullout and then launch a full offensive that no one would be around to counter.

    One of you folks mentioned Afghanistan as America's war... not Bush's or Obama's. You couldn't be more correct. We would have entered war with Afghanistan regardless of who was in office. Iraq may be a different story, but Afghanistan was as unified as a war could be in this day and age.

    December 3, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  12. john

    Please bring all the troops home.....what are we doing over there to begin with. What have we to gain?? Either take the country over and put our flag up and keep the oil, or, come home. No more American funerals please........The president should be ashamed-

    December 3, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  13. Scottish Mama in MO.

    I love our heroes. I like being able to watch them come home at Dover. It reminds me of the sacrifices the soldiers have made and their families that are left behind. I have great respect and admire each and everyone of them. Everytime I see one I tell him or her so.
    Timelines give Karzia a jumping off point, will he take the responsibility or sit on his poppy hands? Time will tell. We need to give what we can to the people there,schools, books, seeds to grow something else, (and profit from it,) and care. Once the seeds of care are sown the Afghan people will demand it at the cost of their own lives.
    We needed a plan, I hope that it is more meaningful than fight for 18 months and go home.

    December 3, 2009 at 11:22 am |
  14. Mike

    As a 17 year veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, I say lets go at them with all that we can, finish it, and then get the heck out. I would send a very large force there, try to eliminate the taliban, train the Afghans, improve their security and then let the Afghan government have it. As always, the 82nd stands ready to do what her country asks!

    December 3, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  15. joe, nj

    thank you, Mr.Duffy. A soldier's job is to fight and kill the enemy, period.

    December 3, 2009 at 10:26 am |
  16. FatSean

    Richard, This is a right-wing war. I was tarred as a traitor, un-American and worse when I protested the invasion of Afghanistan. Let the right-wingers die for it.

    December 3, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  17. Sean

    Attack Iran and North Korea? You're insane. We can't afford that. We can't even afford health care for our citizens! No. We go to a defensive posture. It's the only responsible strategy given the economic state of the nation. We can't afford all that gear, these wars are draining us and giving us nothing back. At least health care reform and stimulus help Americans rebuild what they have lost over the last decade of financial scumbaggery.

    December 3, 2009 at 8:51 am |

    December 1st, 2009 1:39 pm ET

    This is no time to try to pass the buck. You cannot continue to blame the previous President for a war. Any war America enters into is just that–America"s war. Congress is the one entity that has the power to "declare war".
    The idea of expanding the war is essential to protect "OUR" troops already there and should have been accomplished a long time ago. It seems to be America's track record to ignore the basic principals of the "Art of War". Simple things e.g. when a world problem exists like Iran's development of nuclear weapons you warn once then preempt with an attack. You mass forces and fight to destroy. When you kid glove the "enemy" who ever it is and you listen to their lies about addressing the issue that never occurs, you must man up and take care of the problem. No more mister nice guy. Nice guys finish last.
    Because this war has been allowed to fester for eight years and our military and equally their families have take the brunt of the fighting on the nose. The families are burying their sons and daughters while the rest of us are merely paying taxes. Iran, North Korea and the Afganistan war need to become air wars. Air wars mean less troops exposed to IED's, rockets and bullets. It means less aftermath for our soldiers in terms of their physical and mental health and it means less of America's dollars and resources. Field tactical nukes, small kilotonnage, will eliminate the people on the ground at the designated site and pollute the ground for a while to keep others from rebuilding the nuclear facilities or traveling the mountain passes between Pakistan and Afganistan. We should have learned long ago that there is no reality to bargin with Iran or North Korea. We are wasting our time and limited resources and more importantly, we are grossly endangering world peace and our grandchildren.
    The time to act is now and because our allies are weak and non supportive, we should do so unilateraly. We must realize that power really does come out of the barrel of a big gun and as much as we all want world peace, we are delusional to expect change by doing the same thing over and over.

    December 2, 2009 at 9:06 pm |
  19. Sean

    This 'surge' is just a hand-out to Republicans. Why he would do that after all the shenanigans surrounding health care reform, I do not know. Bipartisanship doesn't work when the other side just says no all the time.

    I wanted Obama to bring everyone home from both Afghanistan and Iraq in the first year, but he says he wants a few more years to work things out. The generals agree and I suppose I must reluctantly agree as well. Usually takes longer to fix something than it does to break it, right?

    Good luck to all the soldiers serving over there. I've been asking my Congresspeople to get you guys home ASAP since 2001 🙂

    December 2, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  20. mary

    There is no solution to the war that will now be owned by President Obama. All we can do is trust that the decision that has been made was done with all the best information possible to come to some plan. I totally support getting most of our troops out of there by July 2011 – That part of the world needs to step up and solve their problems.

    Enough of our brave men and women have died these last 8 now 9 years. More will die and be maimed for life in the next 18 months. We owe much to this brave and great new generation. But the time to bring them home is sooner than later and we need to take care of them so they can get back to their lives.

    President Obama challenged the military and his civilian advisors to think of every possible scenario. I appreciate that he did that – it doesn't matter though how much they strategized – President Obama will be criticized no matter what decision he makes. Pray God this is the right one and that in a less than perfect world, will work

    December 2, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  21. A. Smith, Oregon

    Ft. Bragg Familys and their Solders all cherish core American Values.

    None of the Afghanistan War outcomes thus far support any of the core of American Values.

    Success meaning transferring 1 Trillion Taxpayer dollars into the pockets of the Pentagon and huge multi-national Defense Contractors? YES, they've been hugely successful with the Republican lawmakers they have in their very pockets!

    Success meaning flooding Russia and the Middle East with cheap Heroin? YES, under the Bush-Cheney administration Heroin production skyrocketed to 300% what it was, a all time high for that terrible plague upon humanity.

    Success meaning propping up yet another corrupt foreign leader by the gun barrels of the US Military? YES, and the moment America pulls out, President Karzai is either killed or exiled to a luxury resort paid by US Taxpayers for the rest of his life?

    Success meaning adding thousands of more homeless Veterans to the hundreds of thousands begging each day on the streets of rural city's across America for their food and shelter?

    Success meaning taking 100 Billion Taxpayer dollars away from States that are literally teetering on the very brink of Bankruptcy and have drastically cut back on essential services to their residents?

    None of the Afghanistan War outcomes thus far support any of the core of American Values.

    December 2, 2009 at 5:02 pm |