Afghanistan troop withdrawal announcement prompts local responses

Ten-thousand U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of the year.  That announcement from President Obama comes after nearly ten years of war.

Speaking to the nation Wednesday evening, the president promised a total of 33,000 troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan by next summer.  He says the conditions are right for Afghans to begin taking control of their country.

The president’s announcement is a hot button topic that has people talking here in Huntsville, and for some, the withdrawal of troops hits close to home.
For Patsy Russell, chats with her 27 year-old son take place over the Internet.  After two tours in Iraq, U.S. Army soldier Chris Russell is now in Germany, and is preparing for deployment to Afghanistan.

But after hearing the president’s plan to withdraw 33,000 troops, Patsy Russell isn’t sure what will happen.  She says, “[Chris] still is in active duty, so the next question is, where will he go from here? Now where will he be deployed to?”

Russell feels bringing troops home is a good thing, but also knows there’s still work to be done: “I don’t think they want them to come back for a lost cause, before the job is done, but of course we want them to come home.  We love them, we want them to be home and be safe.”

Madison County resident Talia Plummer says withdrawing the troops is the right decision.  She explains, “I think it’s great, because it’s been going on for a long time, and I feel like they accomplished what they were trying to do.  It’s long overdue, they’ve got families to come back home to, and it’s time for them to be reunited.”

As to whether bringing troops home means victory or loss, Madison County resident David Huston feels the war on terror isn’t a clear-cut battle: “I’m not sure you ever win an absolute victory over terror.  They’re just gutless cowards and they’ll just go into any cubbyhole they can.”

Still, Russell hopes that homeland security won’t be compromised: “I would assume that our government would have the foresight and the wisdom to not pull out unless the time is right to do it.”

But at the end of the day, she says the safety of her son, and his fellow troops overseas, isn’t up to her.

Russell says, “I’ve put my son’s care in the hands of God.  So I can’t really worry about it too terribly much because I feel that if I do, that’s kind of like saying I don’t trust Him to take care of him.  So I’m trying very hard not to worry about him.”