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Americans Speak Out on New Afghanistan Strategy

Americans throughout the country expressed both approval and concerns regarding President Obama's new Afghanistan strategy. Spencer Michels reports.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now voices of Americans around the country on the Afghan war.

    NewsHour correspondent Spencer Michels reports.

  • BARACK OBAMA:

    As your commander in chief…

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Across the nation, America heard the president's words.

    Together with some PBS colleagues, we fanned out, from Falls Church Virginia, to San Antonio, Texas, to San Francisco, and points in between, to take the pulse of Americans who heard or heard about the president's address.

    We met Velma Askey in Northern Virginia.

  • VELMA ASKEY:

    But I — I don't really understand how — how it can be beneficial to say, OK, in 18 months, it's over. Of course, that's not what he said. He said they would start coming home in 18 months. So, I — I just don't know what that means or why it's a valuable thing to inject in this process at this point.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    She also had concerns about the cost of escalating the war, which the president said will be $30 billion this year alone.

    That's also a lot of money to another Virginian, Chris Bolton, but he says it's necessary.

  • CHRIS BOLTON:

    I'm sure its going to cost a lot, and considering the debt we're already in, and — but we have to do something. We just can't leave them stranded, because we already put so much effort already into it. And — but I don't know. I'm just praying for the best, and I think that's all we can do.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Thomas Condenzio of Falls Church said he sees no end in the president's new plan.

  • THOMAS CONDENZIO:

    George Bush, he thought he was going to go in there and solve the problem, but it just seems like another Bush strategy, and something that is just going to go on, because, as far as I can see, those people — those — those persons over there have no regard for human life and they will just keep on killing. There doesn't seem to be a resolution. I don't see a resolution to that.

  • SPENCER MICHELS:

    Here in San Francisco, of the dozen or so people we talked to, not a single one had seen President Obama on television last night, when his address was broadcast at 5:00 p.m. Pacific time. But every one of those people knew about the president's plans for Afghanistan, and had an opinion.

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