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Will Troop Withdrawal Affect Mississippi?

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Jun 2011 05:07pm | comments
Congressman Bennie Thompson.

President Barack Obama is expected to announce a withdrawal of some U-S troops from Afghanistan in a prime time announcement tonight (wed). MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that it could be months before we know how the draw down will affect Mississippi....

The president is expected to announce the withdrawal of 10-thousand troops this year and an additional 20-thousand troops next year during a prime time speech tonight.

Mississippi's second district congressman Bennie Thompson, a democrat, says the draw down is the right approach.

"We are fighting three wars. We can't afford actually one war. until we get our fiscal house in order, fighting three wars is just going to erode the economy," Thompson said.

Congressman Alan Nunnelee, a Republican who represents Mississippi's first district, says his main concern is national security. 

Nunnelee says he would support lower troops levels, but only if the decision is supported by the military and done for military reasons.

"If we can achieve and effective defense with less people in Afghanistan and the military officials say we can do that, great. But let's make sure we are doing it for military reasons and not for political reasons, or for budgetary reasons," Nunnelee said.

There are more than 300 Mississippi National Guard troops in Afghanistan right now.

Most are set to return later this summer....however, 300 new troops will be sent by October.

National Guard Lt. Colonel Tim Powell says it may be some time before we know what effect a lower troop presence in Afghanistan will have in Mississippi, because deployments are now planned months in advance.

"So their deployment time has been shorten and the notification time has been lengthened. To give them better time to prepare, better time to notify their employees and families and to give them time to take care of personal business that they need to take care of prior to deploying overseas," Powell said.

Powell says the Mississippi National Guard has deployed around 15-thousand troops during the decade long Afghanistan War...some of those on multiple deployments...and will continue to offer troops whenever asked.

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Congressman Bennie Thompson.


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