Locals React to News of U.S. and Afghanistan Partnership

By Rachel Martin

May 1, 2012 Updated May 1, 2012 at 11:40 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – Members of the community and a military mother shared their opinions about the U.S. partnership with Afghanistan.

Many people have an opinion about the war on terror. The War on Terror has been controversial from the beginning, and in a way, many people think of it as being similar to the Vietnam War—unnecessary.

Tuesday night, the first anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death, President Obama signed a 10 year agreement with Afghanistan stating that beginning in 2014, Afghanistan will be responsible for their country's security. The President said the U.S. will “shift to a support role” and only be there for support when absolutely necessary.

The President vowed to have 23,000 U.S. troops will be home by the summer and said a permanent military base will not be built in Afghanistan. The President says the goals of this partnership are to restore democratic power to the Afghans and to destroy Al-Qaeda.

To some people, like Rick Hawks of Fort Wayne, this is good news and means U.S. troops will be home for good. “I think the American people should be extremely proud of our troops who’ve brought about the peace and security we’ve all enjoyed since 9/11. The President did a great job of capturing the spirit of America in giving us the hope that all of our troops will be coming home soon,” Hawks said.

For others, like GeeGee Tharp of North Manchester, whose son lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan, and is now undergoing therapy at Walter Reed National Military Hospital, it's something she says she'll have to wait and see to believe.

“It’s difficult for me while I’m here at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, looking at all these wounded warriors with no arms, no legs, and all the parents whose lives have been disrupted, and question why we were even there,” Tharp said. “I have reservations about it. I don't think the Afghani people are probably as strong as we think they are. I don't think they're really willing to take care of their own like our military is.”

Tharp said she’s unsure if waiting to implement the partnership in 2014 is a good or bad thing.

“All the men and women who have lost their lives and their limbs…if we pull out too soon we would not have gained anything, and those who have died ahead of them would have died in vain,” she said.

However, Rick Hawks of Fort Wayne, is a little more optimistic about the agreement, but says despite the agreement, anything can happen.

“The plan to have Afghanistan take care of Afghanistan is a great plan, but the whole world is unstable,” Hawks said. “That's one of the most unstable parts of the world. So for us to say something is going to definitively happen in 2014 is pretty optimistic thinking, but we can all hope for it and we can all pray for it.”

Tharp says her opinion does not reflect the opinion of her soldier, but she says no matter the outcome of the agreement, every one of those injured troops would serve again to defend their country.




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