Residents from the southern California coastal community of Oceanside, including Marines from nearby Camp Pendleton and their families, range from concern to skepticism to thanks in their reactions to President Obama's proposed plan to pull troops from Afghanistan.
President Barack Obama announced his plan on Wednesday to begin withdrawing 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by year's end, followed by about 23,000 more by the end of next summer.
In Oceanside, a southern California community that caters to the adjacent and sprawling Camp Pendleton US Marine base, opinions ranged from full support in favor of the President's action to negative reactions and even skepticism.
"It's kind of the right sort of a shift, internal kind of perspective of things, trying to get us to focus on things here in the country and that's good because we kind of spread ourselves too thin globally and it's a good time for us to focus internally for a while," said Oceanside resident Alex Luebke.
Some residents, such as enlisted Marine John Smith, fully support Obama's decision but are unsure whether or not the President can keep his promises.
"I think the U.S. has no interest in leaving that region. I think the draw down is going to be a sham. They will reduce U.S. forces in the region but I think that the forces will be reimbursed by mercenary groups such as Blackwater and non-enlisted forces," said Smith. "I think the Afghan war needs to stop, I think the Iraqi occupation needs to stop, I think it's wrong. I think the Iraqi people need to choose their own destiny just as the American people did in 1776."
Obama's decision comes at a critical time as he eyes his 2012 re-election prospects and lawmakers from both parties, seeking to reduce federal spending, are anxious to curtail what has become a costly and unpopular U.S. military intervention.
Obama's challenge is to strike a balance between military leaders seeking to limit any reduction in combat forces and White House advisers pressing for a withdrawal large enough to placate his own Democratic party's anti-war wing and a growing number of Republicans.
William Kullman who is a Marine said "I don't really think that we should leave this quickly. The job's not done. It's kind of like what happened in Iraq. We were supposed to leave soon, we were supposed to leave around 2006, 2007 when we were in Iraq but we didn't because we knew the job wasn't done."
Logan Riddle, also a Marine doesn't agree, saying "The job that we have done there so far has been good and due to everything else that we are dealing with as a country at this time that we're making a smart decision. And that, the way that we will handle the draw down will be in an effective way that we won't have any negative repercussions from it at all."