President Obama will make a major announcement tonight from West Point Military Academy, outlining his plans to raise troop levels in Afghanistan. The New York Times reports the president has already issued orders to send thousands of additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, raising the number of U.S. forces there to around 100,000. Tonight's speech is expected to include a timeline for U.S. involvement in the region and give the nation some idea of how he plans to pay for the war. The Takeaway talks to three veterans of the war in Afghanistan and asks what they want to hear from the Commander in Chief.
Maj. Adrianne Dicker Kadzinski is in the Army reserve. She served in Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003, and she currently sits on the advisory board of the Rebuilding Afghanistan Foundation, which focuses on education there. Ret. Sgt. Steve Husong served in Afghanistan in 2002 and 2003. He's the host and producer of a television program that is currently in the works called "Redeployed." And National Guard Spec. Marco Reininger, who served in Afghanistan in 2008, is a spokesman for the group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Maj. Kadzinski says the U.S. owes Afghanistan a substantial, long-term presence focusing on rebuilding economic and social structures. Ret. Sgt. Husong wants President Obama to trust the generals who advise him, relying on their military experience to make up for his lack. And Spec. Reininger says whatever the President's decision, the country must be prepared to take care of returning veterans.