Valley Residents React to President's Afghanistan Address

Fresno, California Charlotte Novack-Brown of Fresno watched with concern. She believes her son Blake, could be among the 30,000 the President is sending to Afghanistan. "What was going through my mind as a mother, what the President announced may change the course of my life. My child's life, forever. He already served in Somalia and saw unspeakable things, and now I just wonder what is in the future for us."

Despite the risks, Charlotte makes it clear she supports her sons' decision to serve. Robert Rey feels the same way. His son Bobby has already been in Afghanistan and Robert says he's happy he is safer now that he is stationed in Korea, but supports the President's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan. "We need to be in Afghanistan and increase the troop level to finish the job we should have finished 6, 7, 8 years ago."

But Kamal Abu Shamsieh, the director of Fresno's Islamic Cultural Center says the real job to be done in Afghanistan cannot be finished with military might. "If we're not going to empower the people by changing their lives, offering them jobs, education, ending their poverty improving health care what are we doing?"

Kamal believes the US will find success difficult because the government of Afghanistan to too corrupt.

Peace Fresno Activist Camille Russell is disappointed with the President. She believes he was elected to end the war, not escalate it. "The majority of the people want us out of that region. He is losing support from both sides, yes, and people who voted for something different are hearing a re-run of George Bush and it's sickening."

Army Mom Mary Lou Buckalew says her son Kyril's Army unit is getting ready to ship out to Afghanistan. She found hope in the way the President pledged to finish the job. "The thing I liked most about it is he has a plan to remove the troops. To be able to bring them home because there's nothing more the military famlies want than to bring them home, have their husbands, children, wives home again safe."

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