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Doubts and hopes: US reaction to troop deployment

President Barack Obama has announced he will send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, to deploy within six months.

Here people in Washington DC give their reaction to the announcement and discuss whether they think the extra troops will make a difference.

ANN GAUTHIER, 54
Ann Gauthier

I think that President Obama inherited a very bad situation. I deplore that we need to send additional soldiers, but I have respect for the people that are making the military decisions, who say that this is the best strategy.

It's very important that the president included a timetable for a drawdown.

I believe these are very difficult decisions for our commander in chief to take and I'm very appreciative of the soldiers who are giving their lives. But I hope that we get out of there as soon as the work is done!

I have absolutely no way of judging whether the extra troops will make a difference, though. I feel like I don't understand it fully.

But as much as I hate war, and signed protest petitions against the Vietnam war when I was a child with my parents, I don't feel like the general public can understand these strategies and I feel like we could put the soldiers in danger if we ended up revealing all of the strategy.

I'm sure that the people that are advising the president know more about how these things work. I believe that the process was carefully considered, and ultimately a decision had to be made.

SANTI DUEWEL, 31
Santi Duewel

I wish we had done this in the beginning instead of getting bogged down in Iraq.

I feel like if we'd concentrated on Afghanistan to begin with maybe we would have been able to make some more progress by now. We have been there for how many years now and there hasn't been any progress.

I think sending more troops is a better idea than pulling out altogether. I mean, we helped contribute to what the situation is in the country now, so I think it's our responsibility and I hope that other countries will contribute as well, so that it's not just the United States contributing most of the effort.

CLIFF CARLE, 60
Cliff Carle

I don't have the necessary information to tell whether sending more troops is a good decision or not. I think so, but then, I'm not a military analyst.

But then, I don't know whether it's going to be another Vietnam! We didn't win that one. You can't beat an ideology and that's what we're having to do.

I think we learned that in Vietnam, that no number of troops can beat an ideology. I think the only way to have peace is to work for peace, not to work for war.

ALEX GOODSPEED, 25
Alex Goodsend

To be honest, I don't know what the objectives are in Afghanistan anymore. You know, I thought we'd defeated al-Qaeda and I thought that's what we went to Afghanistan for. I now see that it's become a different mission.

I think that it's important that the president defines that and defines how that is important to the American people.

You know, I voted for President Obama so I have faith in him, but I'm looking to see what the direction is.

He's already put down a withdrawal for the 30,000 troops, so that gives me some confidence in the timeline. But I don't know what the objectives are in that short timeframe. I don't know whether he can accomplish what we want in that time.

And there are priorities here at home that need to be addressed and those are a concern for a lot of American people.

LAURA GREEN, 25
Laura Green

I support this surge, as far as the president laid out a withdrawal plan because unfortunately we were sent there without any real plan and the last thing I want is for it to become an occupation.

I have two younger brothers in the military and they could be deployed to Afghanistan. They support the president, he's their commander in chief.

One of them has already done a tour of Iraq. He understands that going to Afghanistan is part of his duty, so he's willing and ready to go and serve when he has to.

KIM SORENSEN, 30
Kim Sorensen

I'm OK with the president's decision to send 30,000 extra troops. I do support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and I was a little nervous with Obama's idea of pulling the troops out so early, but I can see that that has now changed.

I mean granted, we'd all love for the troops to come home, so they don't have to be overseas but if it protects our freedom and the things that we enjoy in this country as well as other countries, I'm ok with that.

I really do think there is a terrorist threat and they're not going to give up.



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