tv ABC 7 News at 5PM ABC June 22, 2011 5:00pm-5:30pm PDT
>> that is going to do it for us for now. thanks for joining us. >> and abc news special report on the president's afghanistan plan is next. this is an abc news special. a presidential address to the nation. the war in afghanistan. >> good evening and we hope it is a good one for you. i'm diane sawyer with george stephanopoulos at abc news headquarters in new york. we are awaiting the president, who is about to speak about troop withdrawals in afghanistan. george and i were saying, there is one graphic that says it all. take a look. for ten years now, we have watched the numbers of troops in afghanistan skyrocket, spiral and skyrocket again. tonight, the president saying no more. >> this is the turn point. 10,000 troops home by the end of this year. 23,000 more by the end of next summer. that's right before the election.
but that will leave twice as many troops there as when president obama took office, at a time when congress and the public are clamoring for the troops to come home. >> they are. incredible numbers across the spectrum, too. we will be watching to see how the president answers two questions americans always ask. are we winning, and it is worth it? are we safer at the end of the day? and, the president is going to be speaking in the east room, he's going to be walking in -- >> the last time we spoke there, it was the night he announced that osama bin laden had been killed. a major milestone in the fight against al qaeda. >> here now, the president speaking on troop withdrawals from afghanistan. >> good evening. nearly ten years ago, america suffered the worst attack on our
shores since pearl harbor. this mass murder was planned b osama bin laden and his al qaeda network in afghanistan. and signaled a new threat to our security. one in which the targets were no longer soldiers on a battlefi d battlefield, but innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives. in the days that followed, our nation was united as we struck at al qaeda and routed the taliban in afghanistan. then, our focus shifted. a second war was launched in iraq. and we spent enormous blood and treasure to support a new government there. by the time i took office, the war in afghanistan had entered its seventh year. but al qaeda's leaders had escaped into pakistan and were plotting new attacks. while the taliban have regrouped and gone on the offensive. without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we would face a resurgent al qaeda and a
taliban taking over large parts of afghanistan. for this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that i've made as president, i ordered an additional 30,000 american troops into afghanistan. when i announced this surge at west point, we set clear objectives to refocus on al qaeda, to reverse the taliban's momentum and train afghan security forces to defend their own country. i also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to draw down our forces this july. tonight, i can tell you that we are fulfilling that commitment. thanks to our extraordinary men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel and our many coalition partners, we are meeting our goals. as a aesult, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from afghanistan by the end of this year.
and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer. fully recovering the surge i announced at west point. after this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace, as afghan security forces move into the lead. our mission will change from combat to support. by 2014, this process of transition will be complete. and the afghan people will be responsible for their own security. we're starting this drawdown from position of strength al qaeda is under more pressure than at any time since 9/11. together with the pakistanis, we have taken out more than half of al qaeda's leadership. and thanks to ourur intelligenc professionals and special forces, we killed osama bin laden. the only leader that al qaeda had ever known. this was a victory for all who have served since 9/11. one soldier s smed it up well. the message, he said, is, we don't forget.
you will be held accountable no matter how long it takes. the information that we recovered from bin laden's compound shows al qaeda under enormous strap. bin laden expressed concern that qaeda had been unable to replace senior terrorists that had been killeleand that al qaeda has failed in its effort to portray america as a nation at war with islam. thereby draining for widespread support al qaeda remains dangerous, and we must be vigilant against attacks. but we have put al qaeda on a path to defeat. and we will not relent until the job is done. in afghanistan, we've inflicted serious losses on the taliban. and taken a number of its strongholds. along with our surge, our al lis increased their commitments, which helped stabilize more of the skcountry. afghan security forces have gro grown by over 100,000 troops, and in some provinces, we have
already begun to transition security to the afghan people in the face of violence, and intimidation, afghans are fighting and dying for their country. establishing local police forces, opening markets and schools, creating new opportunities for women and girls and trying to turn the page on decades of war. of course, huge challenges remain. this is the beginning, but not the end, of our effort to wind down this war. we'll have to do the hard work of keying the gains that we've made, while we draw down our forces and transition responsibility for security to the afghan government. next may, in chicago, we will host a summit with our nato a y allies and partners to shape the next phase off this transition. we do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. so, as we strengthen the afghan government and security forces, america will join initiatives that reconcile the afghan
people, including the taliban. our position on these talks is clear. they must be led by the afghan government and those who want to be apart of a peaceful afghanistan must break from al qaeda, abandon violence and abide by the afghan constitution. but in part because of our military effort, we have reason to believe that progress can be made. the goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply. no safe haven from which al qaeda or its affiliates have launch attacks against our homeland or our allies. we won't try to make afghanistan a perfect place. we will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. that is the responsibility of the afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. what we can do, and will do, is
build a partnership with the afghan people that endures. one that enshuures that we wille able to target terrorists and support a sovereign afghan government. of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in pakistan. no country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war-torn region. we'll work with the pakistani vernment to root out the cancer of vie leapt extremism. and we will insist that it keeps its commitments. for there sure no doubt that so long as i am president, the united states will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. they cannot alllle us, nor escape the justice they deserve. my fellow americans, this has been a difficult decade for our country. we've learn ed the profound cos
of war. a cost that's been paid by the nearly 4,500 americans that have given their lives in reshg and the over 1,500 who have done so in afghanistan. men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom they defended. thousands more have been wounded. some have lost limbs on the battlefie battlefield. and others still battle the demons what have followed them home. yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. fewer of ourons and daughters are serving in harm's way. we've ended our combat mission in iraq, with 100,000 american troops already out of that country. and even as there will be dark days ahead in afghanistan, the ght of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. these long wars will come to a responsible end. they do, we must learn their lessons. already this decade of war has caused many to question the
nature of america's engagement around the worl. some would have america retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security and embrace isolation that ignores the real threats that we face. others would have america overexte overextended, confronting every evil that can be found abroad. we must chart a more centered course, like generations before, we must embrace america's sing ewe lar role. but we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate. when threatated, we must respond with force. but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. when innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don't have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. instead, we must rally international action, which we're doing in libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground.
but our supporting allies in protecting the libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their own destiny. in all that we do, we must remember that what sets america apart is not solely our power, it is the principles upon which our union was founded. we're a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law. and respecting the rights of all our citizens. we protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. we stand not for empire, but for self-determination. that is why we have a stake in the democratic as for rations that are now washing across the arab world. we will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example and with an unwavering belief that all human becomes deserve to live with freedom and dignity. above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been
anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home. over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. now, we must invest in america's greatest resource. our people. we must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. we must rebuild our inf infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. and most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. for our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong, no hill is too steep. no horizon is beyond our reach. america, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home. in this effort, we draw inspiration from our fellow americans who have sacrificed so
much on our behalf. to our troops, our veterans and their families, i speak for all americans when i say that we will keep our sacred trust with you and provide you with the care and benefits and opportunity that you deserve. i met some of these patriotic americans at ft. campbell awhile back. i spoke to the 101st airborne that has fought to turn the tide in afghanistan. and to the team that took out osama bin laden. standing in front of a model of bin laden's compound, the navy s.e.a.l. who led that effort paid tribute to those who had been lost. brothers and sisters in arms whose names are now written on bases where our troops stand guard overseas, and on headstones in quiet corners in our country where their memory will never be forgotten, this officer, like so many others i've met on bases in bag dad and bag ram and at wat walter reed,
hospital, spoke with unity, how they depended and each other, as a family might do in a time of peril. that's a lesson worth remembering. that we are all apart of one american family. that we have known disagreement and division. we are bound together by the creed that is written into our founding documents. and a conviction that the united states of america is a country that can achieve whatever it sets out to accomplish. now, let us finish the work at hand. let us responsibly end these wars and reclaim the american dream that is at the center of our story. with confidence in our cause, with faith in our fellow citizens and with hope in our hearts, let us go about the work of extending the promise of america, for this generation and the next. may glod bless our troops and my
god bless the united states of america. >> and there was the president. it was a short speech with two big messages. the first is, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home and the second, the tide of war is receding, the goals are being met and we are drawing down troops. >> that's right. the president came to office saying he wanted to end the war in iraqq and win the war in afghanistan. and he focused on nation-building here at home. we cannot afford to fight like this anymore. >> there will be a full analysis of all of thihis tonight on "nightline," be sure to tune in as we explore these questions. don't forget, "nightline" after your late local news. a special one-hour edition of "nightline" tonight in primetime, and you'll be back tomorrow morning. and i'll see you right back here tomorrow night. we hope you have a good evening, as you return to regular
next at 5:00, the bay area afghan community weighs on the us use and encouraging news from doctors treating brian stow. its coming up. after this reduction our troops will continue to come home. security forces move into the lead. our mission will change from combat to support. >> good evening, you've just heard the speech on the war in afghanistan. >> tonight he set the course for the withdrawal of 33,000 troops and calling for 10,000 troops to come home in two phases started this summer. another 23,000 by next summer. >> in fremont's little kabul with reaction to the afghan
community with what the president had to say. >> we're tired of war. you know the afghan women. >> the coalition in fremont says she agree was the withdrawal, but worries about after the withdrawal is complete, remembering what it was like under taliban rule before the u.s. drove them out in 2002. >> they're through from afghanistan. we'll see again the chaos, the war lords and also, taliban. they're going to be back in afghanistan and we're going through square one. >> the u.s. is funding 99,000 troops and says the money spent on them and the war should be used differently. >> i support the withdrawal but boy like to ask the administration and congress to think about it. if they can put that money back to the rebuilding of afghanistan. >> afghans we spoke to agree the u.s. should stay to help improve the infrastructure but
they're split with the government being able to take care of their own country this, electrical engineer returned two months ago. >> from what i see, afghans can take on by themselves and it has to be training and process. they have to establish and lift something, responsibility to afghan. >> if we pull out from afghanistan, and build an army of 240,000, or whatever the number is going to be. how do we expect they're going to succeed? >> this u.s. state department consultant for years, like many others agree the u.s. should commit to a long-lasting presence and economic aid. he believes that he hopes the u.s. can help end corruption in afghanistan because he says that is the only way the
people will believe it's possible to improve their country. >> and the defense department puts a cost of the 10-year war at nearly $300 bill yichblt those figures are through april of the year. and that is not counting the human tolls. there are 6160 crosses in the hillside memorial off highway 24. they represent men and women killed in combat in the war in afghanistan as well as iraq. >> giants fan guyin stow, brutally beaten in los angeles reached a major milestone in his recovery. we have the latest on the condition. welcome news. >> doctors say they've seen enough improvement and upgrading the condition from critical to serious, an indication of touch and go phase is over, now, hard work of helping him regain as much brain function as possible is set to begin.
>> brian stow sustained a traumatic brain injury he probably would not have survived 10 years ago. >> but now, three months after the brutal beating there are signs his brain is working again. >> he's been able to open and close eyes in response to say, can you close your eyes and open your eyes, suggesting we do have circuitses that are reconnecting and there is level of function. >> stow is now breathing and doctors have been able to take him off seizure medication, saying his response is encouraging. >> highs began to open his eyes, and started to have movement of his left arm. he's intimatentl intimatently -- intermittantly been able to follow simple commands. they know the recovery process will be a slow one. for now, they say he will have to stay here at the hospital.
>> we can only hope it won't be too much longer. >> the co-workers have been doing all they can to help fund the stay, now selling hats and tee shirts, they're all too familiar with brain injuries and say this is good news. >> we hi it's great. and since this has happened. >> they're anxious for stow to return to work but doctors caution they don't know when, or if, that will happen. >> we want this to happen tomorrow but it takes month autos and l.a. police are still searching for convicted felon to the beating. he is headed to state prison on an unrelated parole violation. if you want to donate, we have a link set up at abc 7 news.com. just click on see it on tv. >> thank you very much. and and coming up a controversial decision and
a decision by fema left santa cruz county struggling to come up with a way to pay for damage caused by the storm. >> fema denied the requests for storm relief funding saying damage does not rise to the level of a federal disaster. >> now, the state can appeal the decision. cities still recovering in march were counting on that money to pay for 75% of the costs. >> and the sun is shining. it's a good bit cooler today. >> we welcome the cool. is it going to last? >> it's going to continue to
cool up to 20 degrees today in pacifica. went from 74 yesterday to 54 degrees, fog and sea breeze cooled us off. cooling breeze continuing to drop temperatures tomorrow, only into 08s so you're into 90s inland. it's going to be warm tomorrow. 85 for livermore and concord. 70 in oakland. 66 san francisco. 84 into the north bay. and 60 this n.monterey. cooler inland tomorrow, and then, temperatures varying by a couple degrees throughout the weekend. temperatures bottoming out on sunday, low 60s to low 80s, we'll bebebebebebebebebebebebebe
has the biggest pavement problems out there. >> are you looking to get away? michael fin geez good deals are still out there if you know where to look. >> and art in action. a painter who can whip out a giant celebrity portrait in less than five minutes. >> i got a sneak peek. >> and organizers of the san francisco aids walk have begun their final push to beat last year's mark. >> since it began, it has raised $74 million, which has been used for hiv prevention, testing, needle exchange programs and care service autos you've been a big sponsor of this for years, 25,000 people took part, this year is the 25th anniversary of the aids walk taking place at golden gate park. >> there is big night for the aids walk. >> world news is coming up next.