President Obama to send 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa soldier responds to Afghan surge

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - President Barack Obama announced what many were expecting Tuesday night, to send 30,000 more young men and women to fight the Taliban and Al Queda in Afghanistan.

We spoke with one soldier in Cedar Rapids after the speech. He expected much of what President Obama said, but called some parts of his overarching plan flawed.

Staff Sergeant Jayson Mains and his roommate, also a member of the Iowa National Guard, were among the hundreds of thousands of military members watching the speech. As part of the 133rd Infantry unit, Mains spent more than a year in Iraq, and understands why more troops are going to Afghanistan.

"We've succeeded greatly in what we did in Iraq, and now we have to do it again in Afghanistan," said Mains.

He says troop surges ordered by former president George W. Bush were effective in helping Iraqi security forces become self-sufficient. But he told us there's still work to be done to help the people of Afghanistan protect themselves.

"Not just fend for themselves, but live and thrive, like we do in America."

However, Mains feels it's work that should be free of timelines, referring to the president's plan to begin withdrawing troops by Summer 2011.

"Send 30,000 troops or more to Afghanistan, and then assess the situation in three months, six months, nine months, and then maybe make a timeline."

Mains was aware before Tuesday evening that he would be going to Afghanistan sometime next year, and feels the troop increase to that area should have been ordered sooner. However, the calculated nature of the President's decision gives him some peace of mind.

"He said that he met with his war cabinet nine times, and contemplated plans and strategies. He wanted to find out how it was going to be done, and what it was going to cost in American lives."

The president did not say specifically when the 30,000 troops would be deployed, but Mains expects it to happen soon, or early next year.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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