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Obama Sets Stage For Afghan War Address

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TWC News: Obama Sets Stage For Afghan War Address
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The War in Afghanistan is now President Barack Obama's war.

Before an audience at West Point, N.Y. today, the president is expected to announce that he will send about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan, a move aimed at stabilizing the war-torn country.

An administration official told the Associated Press today that the troops will be deployed over a six-month period.

"There isn't anybody with a straight face that can question the resolve of this commander-in-chief to put the appropriate resources on what he believes was an urgent threat to our national security," said White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs. "Again, I don't know anybody who can make that logical argument."

The president has already briefed key members of his administration, and White House officials say Obama plans to brief the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan before tonight's speech.

An administration official also told the AP that U.S. troops will start leaving Afghanistan "well before" the end of Obama's first term.

In his speech, the president is also expected to call on foreign troops to help the United States.

"Without partners that are willing to do stuff in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, no number of American troops can solve all of those problems," said Gibbs.

Obama has revised his war plan for three months, and he has made first orders for one group of Marines will be in place by Christmas.

"There is a lot of uncertainty involved. This is in many senses a no-win situation whether he went one way or another on the war," said Columbia University professor Robert Shapiro.

An exit strategy will also be a major part of Obama's address. The president, according to Gibbs, is not giving the people of Afghanistan an open-ended commitment. But stabilizing the country and stopping it from being a breeding ground for terrorists is going to be a such a significant challenge that some lawmakers believe sending more troops won't be enough.

"If we deal only with troops then it's a problem that we're there forever only with troops and we are running the country," said Congressman Gary Ackerman.

As Obama deliberated, some people criticized him for taking too long to make up his mind while others did not want to see more troops put at risk.

The family of a Queens soldier who was killed in Afghanistan is worried that Obama's expected call for a troop increase could potentially lead to more deaths.

Specialist Roberto Hernandez of Arverne, Queens was killed in June, and his family members want to know from the president what is exactly happening next.

"He should be pointing out the agenda, the purpose of sending the troops, the time frame. Basically, what's the intentions, how we are going to handle this," said Paulina Campbell-Richards, Hernandez's mother. "This outside support from other nations, how are they working together to wrap this thing up?"

As the president prepares to address the nation, he's aware that he will have to take responsibility for whatever the outcome is in Afghanistan.

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