Despite Opposition, War on Terror Continues

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Opposition to the war on terror appears to be growing in America and a recent decision by the press is adding fuel to the fire.

Last week, The Associated Press ran a photo showing a U.S. Marine killed in action in Afghanistan.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the AP's decision to run the image "appalling," while the well-known news group responded saying the picture is  "part of the history of this war."

CBN News' Chuck Holton is embedded with U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Follow his blog, Boots on the Ground, for continued updates on the war on terror.

On August 14 in Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, the battle was fierce.

Lance Corp. Joshua Bernard, an Iraq war veteran, along with troops from Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, were trying to take control of a town from the Taliban.

"The whole time RPGs kept coming in and machine gun fire," Corp. Braxton Russell recalled.

One of those RPGs, or Rocket Propelled Grenades, hit Bernard in the leg. His comrades tried desperately to attend to him while under heavy fire.  

A television crew embedded with the troops captured the moment of the attack. That day, the son of a Marine and a strong Christian, became the next U.S. casualty.

"It's pretty hard, but it's kind of our job. We just got to kind of push through, carry on and remember his name, remember all the good things he's done for us," said Corp. Joshua Jackson. "And just remember what kind of guy he was and just push through and continue the fight."

The fight has been especially brutal. August was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Back in Washington, despite the growing public concerns about this war, Pentagon officials insist U.S. presence there is vital to destroying the enemy.

"Our mission is to defeat Al Qaeda and to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a safe haven again," said Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen.

Clearly, the Taliban's tactics are improving and that has top commanders on the ground calling for a new strategy.

"There is a sense of urgency," Mullen added. "Time is not on our side."

In an effort to gain the upper hand, Secretary Gates said for the first time that he's willing to send more troops to Afghanistan despite polls that show a majority of Americans oppose to the idea.

"The fact that Americans would be tired of having their sons and daughters at risk and in battle is not surprising," Gates said.

President Obama ordered more troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and the expectation is that commanders there will ask for more troops and money to fight the war.

Yet eight years after U.S. and coalition forces launched their assault against the Taliban in Afghanistan, winning the peace has proved to be a far more difficult process.

The Pentagon says it has a new battle plan that must be given a chance to succeed.

"I don't believe the war is slipping through the administration's finders," Gates said. "I think what is important is for us to be able to show over the months to come that the president's strategy is succeeding."

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