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Columbians weigh in ahead of Obama's speech

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | 4:18 p.m. CST; updated 8:37 p.m. CST, Tuesday, December 1, 2009

COLUMBIA — President Barack Obama is expected to announce Tuesday night in a speech from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that he will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

We asked Columbians what they thought about the expected troop escalation and the United States’ role in Afghanistan. Check back for more during the day.

  • Kathy Sapp, homemaker: She supports sending more troops. “I think that’s what they should do. They have been asking for them for a long time. Those guys need help,” she said.
  • Gabrielle Ellul, 19, MU student: "I understand that we need to help countries get back on their feet, but its their country, and every country has their own problems and sometimes we shouldn't stick our noses in them. But I totally, 100 percent, support the troops."
  • Steve Buckels: He isn’t fond of President Obama sending more troops abroad. “I don’t like it," he said. "He ran a campaign of getting troops out and reducing the forces in the Middle East. I don’t like the idea of sending 30,000 more troops.”
  • Ted Glasgow, 43, works in the Physical Therapy Department at Boone County Hospital: He supports the decision to send more troops and emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with the people of Afghanistan. "As opposed to changing people, we need to become their friends and allies. Instead of telling them what to do, we need to work with them and help them achieve their goals," he said.
  • Ken Sloan, 55, Air Force veteran: "There had been a lot of debate about where troops have been in the first place. Afghanistan or Iraq? The Taliban and Al-Qaeda is strong there. While war is dreadful and people lose lives, compared to other wars we've been involved in, casualties from other wars are more. I appreciate the effort to decide a strategy. Not only to send more, but an exit strategy as well."
  • Rickie "Slikie" Williams, 53, Army veteran: "If it has to come to war for peace, to get the situation stable. T, then get peace and pull out."

Missourian reporters Alee Quick, Catherine O'Neill, Bethany Jones, Tanya Ortiz, Maggie Menderski and Katie Maupin contributed to this report.

Cortez King, 15, student at Hickman High School: He does not agree with sending more troops. "I don't want more people dying," King said. In his opinion, the United States should not play a role in Afghanistan. "It's their problem, not ours," he said.
Johnny Northcutt, 51, Salvation Army volunteer: "We need to get over there and get it done and some other countries should help with the war. China should help because all their cars are over here."
D'eray Hall, 20, Stephens College student: Some of her friends are fighting in Afghanistan and she wants the war to end, though she acknowledged it can't be stopped "all at once." "I don't even know what we're fighting for," she said.
Gary Riess, 50, works for the city of Columbia in the Solid Waste Department: "The United States is taking up the role of being the peacekeeper. Since we started that, I guess we have to keep going. It'd be nice if everyone kept the peace."
Mark Haim, 60, director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks: He opposes the war and wants all troops brought home as soon as possible, and he expressed concern over the increased economic and psychological costs of military action in Afghanistan. "We are perpetuating a cycle of violence that really needs to be defused," he said.
Laura McKee, Truman Veterans Hospital employee: She said she can see both sides of the issue. “I don’t know. I think it’s a no-win situation," she said. "I don’t have a strong opinion either way because either way, more people will die.”
Matthew Smith, 36, student and former Marine: While he supports the president, and wants the troops to have extra support if needed, he said military troops are not adequately trained to police a country. "If this is going to go on and on, bring them home," he said.
Nick Cundert, 26, student and internal vice president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association: "It's really about eliminating terrorists and eliminating the threat they have on the Afghanistan community and the U.S. I would hope the idea of sending more troops over there would mean that."

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Comments

Ray Shapiro December 1, 2009 | 5:36 p.m.

("Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, Connecticut independent, said the idea of setting deadlines for an exit of U.S. troops from the conflict was not feasible, but said talk of time lines for bench marks and goals was necessary.

Afghans are likely to be wary of any talk of an exit, with many recalling the United States' abrupt withdrawal from the region after Soviet troops left Afghanistan in the late 1980s.

"It's very important for us to have whatever decisions we make on exiting our troops be based on conditions on the ground," Mr. Lieberman said.")
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009...

("All Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have been waging Jihad against the Americans and other invaders on the basis of an obligation of their belief and ideas. The terms of moderate (Taliban) and extremists are American-invented terms, which have no physical existence.
The Mujahideen of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan are not mercenaries and employed gunmen like the armed men of the invaders and their surrogates. Contrarily, the Mujahideen have been carrying out this Jihad for obtainment of independence of the country and establishment of a Sharia system there. This war will come to an end when all invaders leave our country and an Islamic government based on the aspirations of our people is formed in the country.
We remind Obama and all rulers of the White House to avoid wasting your time on ways which are not pragmatic but focus on ways, which provide a down-to-earth and realistic solution to this issue. Pull all your forces out of our prideful country and put an end to the game of colonialization by shedding the blood of innocent Muslim people under the unjustified name of terrorism.
The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan warns the rulers of the White House that the huge military expenditure that you shoulder to maintain your military presence in Afghanistan and carry out operations and implement other failed strategies will only deepen your economic crisis and will harm your international reputation. Your people will face more problems and suffer from psychological diseases. You should know that the Afghans laugh at your irrational decision and unpractical strategies.")
Source and more:
The Voice of JiHad:
http://www.alemarah.info/english/index.p...
The Taliban in Afghanistan:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/10551/

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro December 1, 2009 | 8:49 p.m.

OPINIONDECEMBER 1, 2009, 8:31 P.M. ET
The Afghan-Pakistan Solution:
An exit strategy must be predicated on achieving military and political goals, not dictated by time limits.
Mr. Musharraf is a former president (2001-2008) and chief of army staff (1998-2007) of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424...
Helping secure Afghanistan's future:
NATO's strategy in Afghanistan focuses on extending security
http://www.nato.int/ebookshop/briefing/a...
We Need India's Help In Afghanistan:
http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/23/india-a...

(Report Comment)

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