Country remains divided over Afghanistan

May 30, 2011 5:56:23 PM PDT
As the country comes together on Memorial Day to honor American's killed in battle, the political battle over the war in Afghanistan is dividing the nation. President Obama plans to start drawing down U.S. troops there starting in July.

The war in Afghanistan is an unpopular war and getting more so by the day. Bay Area lawmakers want to bring the troops home faster. But how fast and at what cost are just two of the questions that have yet to be answered.

At San Francisco National Cemetery Monday morning there was a special observance for this year marking the 70th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War II.

"We are here to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country," Mayor Ed Lee said.

Speakers noted it was a time when the county came together, but today the nation is sharply divided over the current war.

This month, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., introduced an amendment to a defense bill to end the war and opponents came close to passing an amendment that would have hastened the withdrawal of troops.

"Some of us were around for the Vietnam War and what this sounds like is another Vietnam," Garamendi said on the House floor.

The latest polls show a majority Americans, 56 percent, want to get out of Afghanistan, compared to 36 percent who think we should remain.

But at the cemetery Monday, Dennis and Norma Viglienzone are not so sure. Their son Caesar was killed in Iraq in 2006. After visiting his grave, they listened to the speeches and the playing of Taps and told ABC7 they too would like the war to end, but not if it means leaving Iraq and Afghanistan in worse shape.

"I wouldn't want to see us walk away and leave a mess behind where basically rebels can undo the good that's been done," Norma Viglienzone said.

"I think we all want peace but the reality is when some evil comes out, we're the ones that stand by," Dennis Viglienzone said.

Most of the people at Monday's ceremony have strong ties to the military and most believe when to withdraw should be a decision made by the military commanders and the president.

But even so, some veterans said the time has come.

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