Commander: 'Time to begin the recovery'

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Commander: 'Time to begin the recovery'
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President Obama’s Wednesday announcement to begin systematically withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan was welcomed by American Legion National Commander Jimmie L. Foster. However, he said, the withdrawal must be conducted “in a measured and reasoned manner.”“Our military families have sacrificed on the nation’s behalf for nearly 10 years,” Foster said. “Lives have been irreparably changed. It is time now for our warriors and their families to begin the recovery process.”Obama told Americans in an address to the nation that the United States can begin force reduction “from a position of strength,” having met or exceeded expectations to neutralize the Taliban and topple al-Qaida. He noted that over half of al-Qaida’s top leadership, including 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden, are now dead. U.S. forces have also trained more than 100,000 Afghan troops to protect the country from a return to terrorist control.  Since Operation Enduring Freedom began in October 2001, more than 1,600 U.S. military personnel have been killed fighting in Afghanistan and another 11,000 have been wounded. Post-traumatic stress among those who have served in the theater is estimated at over 250,000.Such sacrifices, Foster explained, is the reason the United States must be smart about the withdrawal. “Troop reductions should be driven by accomplishments of the mission and not external pressures, such as the federal budget,” he said. “We owe it to those who served in the war to be certain their sacrifices have not been in vain and that Afghanistan is fully prepared to assume command over its own security and freedom.”President Obama said 10,000 U.S. troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and 30,000 will be out of harm’s way by the summer of 2012. From that point forward, he said, “Our troops will come home at a steady pace.” He said U.S. Armed Forces will be out of Afghanistan by 2014. “We have put al-Qaida on a path to defeat,” Obama said. “We will not relent until the job is done.”Foster said it is important for President Obama to listen closely to his senior advisers, particularly military leaders in the field, to set the correct pace of force reduction. He said it is vital not only to Afghanistan’s success, but to global security for all peace-loving nations, that Afghan Security Forces are able to demonstrate their ability to ward off al-Qaida and control the Taliban.Foster agreed with President Obama that those who have served in OEF – and the overall global war on terrorism so far – have succeeded in their efforts to control terrorism and put Afghanistan and Iraq alike on a course toward freedom and democracy. Obama added that “no safe haven” for terrorists will be tolerated by the United States in time to come and that Pakistan will continue to be a focus of his attention to stabilize the region.

“Tonight, we take comfort in knowing the tide of war is receding,” he said.“For now, the wartime veterans of The American Legion are proud to say well done and welcome home,” Foster said. President Obama said that the return of U.S. troops from Iraq and Afghanistan presents an opportunity to enlist those who have defended America abroad in the effort to rebuild America at home by giving the troops, veterans and their families the care, benefits and opportunities they deserve. “Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource – our people,” he said. “It is time to focus on nation-building here at home.”

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dr003

June 24, 2011 - 9:44am

If our Presidents had followed the advice of our military commanders we wouldn't be in this mess. But they don't listen to them - they just fire them or have them resign until they get a "yes" man. When the President refuses to follow the will of the American people, we are screwed economically and militarily.

amlegionjg943

June 23, 2011 - 8:50pm

Let's celebrate our success in removing the mastermind of September 11 and close the book on that episode. I was there at the end of our nation building attempt in Vietnam nearly forty years ago. We gave food, weapons, building supplies and our lives to support corruption under the guise of nation building. And how did that end? Why should we expect any different result in Afghanistan, a so called "country" crafted by the British without regard to the realpolitik of that area of the world? Let the people living there solve their own problems; we have plenty at home to work on.

rogerj2870

June 23, 2011 - 7:06pm

“Tonight, we take comfort in knowing the tide of war is receding" Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone - say, yeah, VIETNAM? Here we are, yet again, without a set of balls around us - including you Jimmie. Adm. Mullen, Sec. Gates, Nominee Panetta, Nominee (to be appointed) Gen. Dempsy have all come out with concern about the draw-down timing and strategy. Some would say, "of course, they are military personnel" and for the record - if we don't listen to them then why have them there in the first place. You are quoted as saying, “For now, the wartime veterans of The American Legion are proud to say well done and welcome home", gee, again sounds vaguely familiar. Respectfully, I'd suggest that you lobby a bit harder to remove the constraining ROE's and allow the folks to do what they do best - kill bad guys, with extreme prejudice, where warranted, and help those that the bad guys hurt. Also, tell Congress to grow a set. I'm gong to be glad when you and Mr. Obama are out.

THEKRUEG

June 23, 2011 - 5:31pm

Is anyone in DC looking out a window? Listening to the rest of the country? Doing anything right? "O - Sorry the economy is tanking, we thought you wouldn't notice." "HEY BAD GUYS!!! Just take a little break, we be leaving soon anyway!!!" "Mexican cartels, come on up to TEXAS, we've got a great gun sale going on just for you!!" The 'great organizer' should be impeached, tried and hung, not shot that would cost too much. Our record and standing in the World is CRAP, well except for the mid-east, etc. Hey I do agree we have to leave the Afgan's to get their own house in order, just don't tell the bad guys and listen to you advisors who know, not the current group from Ringling Brothers you got working for you, Barry?????????????

jmatty2

June 23, 2011 - 4:40pm

After 10 years, it is time to withdraw ALL U.S. troops from Afghanistan. We have not accomplished anything there except a lot of American deaths. If we withdraw a little at a time, those left are in more danger and we will lose more valuable people. If my memory serves me right ---- Alexander the great - for get the year--- tried to conquer and could not and had to withdraw. The British also tried and had to withdraw. The Russians also tried and had to withdraw. Doesn't history teach our leading dolts anything ????

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