A day after President Obama announced his plan to send another 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, two Minnesotans with personal connections to the conflict shared their reactions with MPR's All Things Considered.
Judy Nelson, the mother of a Marine stationed in Helmand Province, voiced her support for the president's strategy.
"I think that what he's done is actually more than I expected from him," she said. "I thought he would be more concerned with getting us out than in accomplishing a mission."
Nelson said she's "not sold" on Obama's 18-month timetable to begin withdrawing troops, but thinks the plan is a good start.
"It gives us a goal that's achievable, although not easy, but at least it gives us a fighting chance," she said.
Staff Sgt. Patrick Nelson (no relation to Judy) told All Things Considered that he strongly objects to the president's decision to set a time frame on troop withdrawals. Nelson served two years of duty in Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, mostly recently in 2008.
"I believe that's the wrong option and the wrong thing to do for the troops that are over there," he said. "I believe that it will affect their morale level. If they see that, hey, we're just going to start pulling out on this date, 'What am I fighting for? What am I sacrificing for?'"
Instead, he said the president should review and change the military's goals and plans as the war develops.
Top administration officials participated in House and Senate panels on Wednesday to defend the military escalation.