Obama Set to Unveil Afghan Withdrawal Strategy

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In a prime time address Wednesday night, President Obama will announce his plans for the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

The president is expected to call for the withdrawal of roughly 10,000 troops in less than a year's time. 

Beginning of the End 

Wednesday's address marks the beginning of the end of the longest war in U.S. history.

The sacrifices of the war in Afghanistan have been costly. Nearly 1,500 American troops have died since the conflict began nearly a decade ago, and the conflict has cost the U.S. some $30 billion.

When the president took office in 2009, there were just 34,000 troops in the country. Today, there are nearly 100,000.

Obama is expected to call for the withdrawal of 30,000 troops out by the end of next year, with at least 5,000 troops due to leave this summer and another 5,000 by winter or spring of 2012.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates explained that the president has to take into account the war's toll on the American public.

"There are concerns among the American people who are tired of a decade of war," Gates said.

Lawmakers Debate Strategy

In Washington, the war has been a source of fierce debate and growing frustration.

"I believe it is time for us to rebuild America, not Afghanistan," Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said.

But some caution against a huge withdrawal of U.S. military forces.

"I'm pleased that the senator from West Virginia went to Afghanistan once. I would suggest that he consult with the people who know best that since 2009 when the surge began we have had success on the ground in Afghanistan," Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said.

CBN News Military Reporter Chuck Holton said some military leaders also have concerns over leaving too soon.

"One of the generals we talked to today brought up a very valid point. We have to ask ourselves what is the long-term cost of leaving too soon," he said. 

"What would it cost America in the long run if we don't stay the course and finish the job?" he said.

"I think in the long run that might be more expensive than what we're paying now," Holton concluded.

Click here to view the complete phone interview with Chuck Holton.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.