FARMINGTON (WCCO) — President Barack Obama told the American people Wednesday night that it’s time to wind down the war in Afghanistan, calling for a responsible end.

“This is the beginning, but not the end, of our effort to wind down this war. We’ll have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we’ve made, while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government,” said Obama, addressing the nation from the East Room of the White House.

Obama laid out his plan for the United State’s future role in Afghanistan, saying 10,000 troops will be pulled out of the country by the end of this year. By September 2012, the full 33,000 troops that were part of the surge will be removed. By 2014, Obama is aiming for total withdrawal with the goal of handing over security to Afghan forces.

“We won’t try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures — one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government,” said Obama.

Some of the President’s critics say the drawdown isn’t fast enough, while others say the U.S. is taking a risk by getting out too early. One Minnesota father isn’t sold on the President’s plan.

Bill Fischer, a military father of three from Farmington, welcomed his oldest son home safely at the 29 Palms Marine base in California just three weeks ago.

Lance Cpl. Andrew Fisher, 23, served seven months patrolling violent areas near the southern border of Afghanistan. It was his second deployment overseas with the 1st Marine Division – 3rd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion.

“He is a survivor, his battalion came back intact (from Afghanistan) with no casualties or fatalities,” said Bill Fischer, who says his son will now end his Marine Corps service for a new chapter in life.

Before the speech began, Fischer hoped Obama would take a strong stance to continue the fight.

“I want to know for certain we are doing all we can to take the battle to the enemy and keep our men and women safe. We need to be all in or all out, we can’t do it halfway,” Fischer said. “His troops should be his number one concern, not political motives.”

Obama announced his plan and ended by saying, “Now, let us finish the work at hand. Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story.”

“We’ve never lost the American dream. There is nothing to reclaim — dream is still there,” argued Fischer, saying he disagrees with the strategy. “How do you reclaim the American dream by pulling 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan? He’s wrapping political gibberish around the flag. … By pulling those troops out, we put the remaining troops in jeopardy. In any measure, I think it’s a bad decision. What has the sacrifice been worth?”

Fischer is involved in a military support group at his church and acknowledges a withdrawal may be welcome news for other Minnesota families.

Obama says the country needs to focus on nation building on its own soil.

“Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource –- our people. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach,” said Obama.

To date, least 1,500 troops have died in Afghanistan along with 12,000 wounded since the war began nearly 10 years ago.

Comments (14)
  1. kabeejorg says:

    This article leaves me a bit confused was it Obama’s speech or was it Goerge W Bushes speech that Mr. Fischer is responding to ? Please explain.

  2. Mind Reader says:

    Moving around 10,000 or 20,000 here or there means nothing, this shouldn’t be the argument. We need to get out or stay. There is nothing to “win”. You have to be a box of rocks to not see what’s going on here. The globalists are positioning our troops to crush Iran and in the meantime they are playing home here. These wars will go on forever and they will involve poor American citizens fighting poor middle easternt citizens and the rich elite will be eating caviar having conversations about how patriotic they are.

    Obama turned out to be the same warmonger Bush was

    Bring them all home

    1. Dennis says:

      You have a short memory. I will help you. Go back a little over ten years ago. 9/11/01 and remember 3000 innocent people who died, because of Al Queda backed terrorist doing their training in Taliban controlled Afghanistan

      1. @dennis says:

        I will help you, twice that have died at war since, ten of thousands more perm. disabled, They are still training we accomplished very little, but paid the ultimate price, These wars have as much to do with our near fatal economy as the housing scandal, we will never recover as a nation.

  3. LB says:

    I am at a loss for words here. Since when is dying making a living? Let’s look at the facts here. The Afgahn gov. wants us out, didn’t anyone read that before? With a slow withdrawl like that is proposed here we are still helping the people there. And taking away cost from the avgerage American. The rich don’t pay taxes like we do. If they did they would be as broke as us. Why is it that the poor and the middle class have to risk the lives of their children when the rich never ever have to? All through the history of our country those who were rich didn’t have to serve or fight like the poor or the middle class. So what do they care about troop reductions or surges. Unless they work in the arms business and or oil business. We went into this war based on lie’s of the Bush Administration that’s a fact. Just ask anyone of his administration to leave this country and see what happens to them? They will be arrested for war crimes and they know it. Like they should be!!! We are just pawn’s in this country of the rich and the poor and the middle class have no say per our gov. So we are now not investing in stock markets or 401k’s that drive the market. this is all global economnics. Nothing more nothing less!!!Anyone look at why we have high school mascots? It was a military decission not a general public one. Even though everyone who was highly educated was against this. Yet our GOV did it anyways.The net result is the country we have now, and instant demanding people who believe we have the rights to demand instant reaction and instant results. Without the realization how this takes time,money and effort to change. The politicans know this and take advantage of this by every means by always telling us they can instantly fix everything and so many fools believe them. Oh BTW the fact on the mascots is proven at the Indain affairs in Washignton DC they are using that reasoning to remove mascots that degrade them in our schools.They have proven this in federal court as well… Its no longer the country as WE THE PEOPLE but known as the COUNTRY AS THE SELECT FEW!!!!

    1. Brett says:

      When you mentioned war crimes are you referring to torture, water-boarding, etc? because I don’t think it is a “fact” because it is not clearly defined on what torture is. Please check out the attached article:

  4. Elmo says:

    Well looks like more Vets will be unemployed. I’m in a Vets group at the Workforce, and it is Full. We need more jobs, not job elimination. Looks like another Political move for Obama, campaign trail and speeches soon to follow.

  5. We'll-never-recover says:

    The reality of job shortages is 1 thing they face when they get home, the other thing is many emotionaly unstable forever, these 2 wars Iraq and Afghanistan did 10times more damage to the U.S. than any terrorists could have ever done, 10 years of death, and hundreds of billions of dollars, we didnt have to start with are spent.

  6. us marine for obama says:

    most of the people on here who claim this is a political move by obama already have their own political agenda… half of you are complaining about staying or leaving, but you need to understand tactics and strategies… since there’s no win/lose, you can’t just leave…

    as for the other half, who are complaining about jobs for vets, how can that happen if we keep spending money overseas??? if you dislike obama, you’ll always have something negative… grow up and work on a solution, otherwise shut up…

    1. DB says:

      US Marine for Obama, please share some credentials. What unit were you with? What was your MOS. Are you still in? I am a Marine. I retired. My MOS is 0369 Platoon Sergeant. Prior to that I was an 0311 rifleman. Also, I was an 8511. So please offer a little credibility before telling people to shur up. Otherwise get out of mommies basement.

  7. hmm says:

    When’s the election again? The timing is not by chance here. This will be great material for Obama to use in speeches next year.

    1. Jim says:

      There’s always an election coming up. What’s your point?

      1. DevilDog3249 says:

        there is an election coming up. But the facts are that the joint chiefs and other top generals think its a bad idea and Obama’s political adviser thinks its a good idea and guess who Obama listened to. The military is not to be used for political gain, its to defend this nation. I want my brothers and sisters home too but I want it to be done the right way and this is not the right way.

  8. me says:

    …get out….it just waste time and money….what do we get?….nothing…zip…nada….

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