Soldiers reflect on new Commander-in-Chief

By Bob Hallmark

On Thursday, the new commander in chief will meet with his top commanders and national security aides. The subject, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The president campaigned on a promise to end to the war in Iraq in 16 months. President Obama also wants to shift military resources and troops back to Afghanistan. So how do East Texas families, who have a loved one, or loved ones, serving in the war, feel about this strategy?

Pride and service to country is a legacy in Jack Lanier's family, he served in Iraq and so has his son Brent. The Laniers are totally opposed to pulling out of Iraq without victory.

"Why do we pull out," asked Lanier. "Do we pull out because we're defeated do we pull out because we feel like we've accomplished the mission. Lets make sure we do finish our mission and then we'll come home."

Teresa Venter's son Christopher has served a tour in Iraq and is scheduled to go back, but she supports President Obama's withdrawal.

"I feel positive that he will keep his promise that they will not have to go back again," said Venter. "I'm very proud of him that he wanted to serve in the military I was a little concerned at first considering the war."

A.J. Mason's son John has served three tours, and though optimistic says a pullout may not happen in the timetable promised.

"I know he ran on a campaign promise of getting us out of Iraq. But I think he's going to gain a new prospective in coming days and weeks," said Mason. "I don't see that there's going to be an immediate withdrawal. I expect the United States is going to maintain a presence there for quite some time."

There are others opposed to any pullout, campaign promise or not.

"Well I feel like anytime the United States goes to another country in war they need to go to win or don't go," said Barbara Fitzgerald.

They worry that the job is not done.

"I do hope that we'll see stability in in that area that region and that the president will be able to accomplish the goals that he's set for himself," said Mason.

"Well, first of all, I think theres been a lot of promises made," said Lanier. "Whether or not they'll be fulfilled remains to be seen, about pulling out of Iraq. We would all like to see the troops come home. I know I would. I spent three tours over there. Lets come home, yes, but at least make sure the job is finished, irregardless of how we got there, we're there."

A senior military official says the president will meet with the joint chiefs of staff and go over his plan later this week.