Libertyville mom paying close attention to Obama speech

June 22, 2011 6:10:26 PM PDT
In a much anticipated White House speech Wednesday night, President Barack Obama will lay out his troop withdrawal strategy from Afghanistan.

This could be the beginning of the end to the nearly decade long war in Afghanistan. ABC7 talked with one woman whose family has served five tours of duty in the region. She is war-weary, but is also weary of hanging the "mission accomplished" banner too soon.

Nancy Baier will be listening to the President's words closely, even as she puts together a care package to send overseas. This Libertyville mother has had one son serve two tours in Iraq. Another is in Afghanistan right now. And her husband was an Army reservist who served in both countries.

"We have terrorists on the defensive now and we are making an impact," Baier said. "I hate to see all that be all for not. And I hate that for families who paid the ultimate sacrifice, to see us pull out and them die in vain."

Right now there are nearly 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The president is expected to announce 5-to-10,000 will come home before the end of the year. Another 30,000 troops who went in as part of the surge may come home next year.

The first troops went into Afghanistan one month after the Sept. 11 attacks. Since then 1,523 military service members have lost their lives. The cost to taxpayers: $443 billion.

Tuesday night, Obama strategist David Axelrod told ABC 7 the drawdown is not being timed to coincide with the president's re-election effort.

"The issue isn't public opinion, the issue is what is in the best interest of the country and our security and how you respond to the drawdown of those troops," said Axelrod.

"I'm concerned about any precipitous withdrawal of our troops that would jeopardize the success that we've made," said the Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner.

That is also a concern for Nancy Baier and her family, who have served and sacrificed in not one, but two of America's wars.

"He thinks the mission is not completed yet and we put all this time and effort and sweat and blood into it, and it needs to be continued," said Baier.

The price tag of the Afghan year this year alone is expected to reach $118 billion. That's more than double the Department of Homeland Security's annual budget and six times what the government spends on NASA each year.

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