SUGARLOAF TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- President Donald Trump was in Reno, Nevada today addressing the Annual Convention of the American Legion. He didn’t directly address his new policy for victory in Afghanistan, but vets there were talking about it.
And they’re talking about it here as well.
President Trump says America will gain victory in Afghanistan by allowing the field generals to call the shots on the battlefield rather than politicians directing those troops from Washington.
“I have a couple of mixed feelings on it,” says Erik Olson, a U.S. Army Afghanistan war veteran.
Olson knows all too well how vicious the fighting can be in Afghanistan. He was badly wounded when a bomb blew up near his military vehicle in 2012. He paid close attention to President Trump’s speech on Afghanistan Monday night.
“We will defeat them and we will defeat them handily,” says the president.
A key part of Mr. Trump’s plan is to send in additional troops to flush out the Taliban soldiers.
“Obviously you wonder if sending the troops back is the right idea and on top of that, did we send enough troops back in to make a difference,” says Olson.
He says one key part of the president’s strategy could mean the difference between victory or defeat in Afghanistan.
“I do like the fact that he’s decisive,” says Olson. “I like that fact that they put Pakistan on notice that we are going to be holding them accountable for the Taliban and other insurgent groups using their territory as staging area to attack Afghan and attack American forces.”
Eyewitness News stopped by the American Legion Post 558 in Plains Township. The veterans there liked the idea that generals will call the shots.
“They know how to win,” says Vietnam Veteran Jim Gallagher. “They should be making the decisions since they know how to win and what to do.”
Gary Smacher’s father served in the Korean War, he is hopeful there will be a greater use of air power in Afghanistan.
“I personally think they should go over and put an air strike on them and blow the heck out of them,” says Smacher. “Don’t put no ground troops in there and that would be the end of that.”
Officially, about 8,400 U.S. troops are currently in Afghanistan. Unofficially, due to troop rotations and temporary duty, the number is more like 12,000 according to Pentagon sources.
Neither the Pentagon nor the president has said yet how many more will be sent in.
The president says he will not announce any specifics of their strategy. He has been very critical of the Obama Administration, which he insists gave out too much information about the war strategy.