Military families, lawmakers react to possible troop withdrawals - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Military families, lawmakers react to possible troop withdrawals

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CLARKSVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

As part of Tuesday night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama is expected to announce a withdrawal of 34,000 troops from Afghanistan in the next year. The withdrawal is another step toward the president's plan for Afghan security forces to take control of the country.

Reacting to the news, a few Clarksville locals said they felt Afghanistan's security forces still aren't strong enough for such a massive U.S. troop withdrawal. However, other military families said they felt enough time had passed, and they're ready for their troops to come home.

"It's really hard on my mom, y'know," said Keith Van Ert. "That's her baby. It's been a long five months already."

Van Ert said he's ready for the day he can join a homecoming crowd at Fort Campbell and welcome back his brother serving in Afghanistan.

"It's my brother's first tour," said Van Ert. "I believe that he needs to come back. I don't see anything different that they're doing over there."

"I don't know Afghanistan's ever going to be ready," added Michael Williamson, father of a former Marine. "It's been an unstable place since biblical times, and I don't know if we'll be able to fix the problem."

In the position of representing many veterans, Kevin Kennedy of Kennedy Law firm said he's only for the troop withdrawal if that's the recommendation of top military officials.

"My initial gut feeling is I want to yield to the generals," said Kennedy. "If the generals who have all the access to the information, if they say we need to move, it's a good time to move. I can trust their leadership. They're given the best training. They're brilliant men. If they say it's time to move out, I would follow their leadership."

In bringing so many troops home, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn told Channel 4 provisions need to be made for those troops to continue service to the country.

"For those that are retiring out of the military, we want to make certain that the resources, the jobs training, that all the components that need to be met, that our obligation to them, that those funds are there for those commitments to be made," said Blackburn.

By withdrawing 34,000 troops within the year, roughly half of the U.S. men and women currently in Afghanistan will be coming home. The number of troops that will remain in Afghanistan through 2015 has not yet been decided.

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