Politics

President Obama Meets With Troops Day After Big Speech

(AP)

(AP)

The day after his big speech on a drawdown in Afghanistan, President Obama greeted soldiers from the 10th Mountain division at Ft. Drum in New York.

The president met with soldiers at a dining hall and gave brief, informal remarks thanking them for their service.

He also made mention of the "storied" sacrifice the 10th Mountain Division has offered as one of the most frequently deployed battalions to Afghanistan. He wanted them to know, even ahead of future deployments, that the "commander-in-chief" has their back.

Mr. Obama said, "this group that has been there for America day in, day out throughout our history, was the first folks to go in after that order was given. And that's not surprising, because you guys were also some of the first folks to go in right after 9/11."

Obama made mention of his speech Wednesday night, in which he announced 10,000 troops would leave Afghanistan this year, and another 23,000 by September of 2012.

Some critics - both lawmakers and military brass alike, have said it was too much too soon, and a timetable should not be given to the enemy.

The president defended his decision by saying, "We're not doing it precipitously. We're going to do it in a steady way to make sure that the gains that all of you helped to bring about are going to be sustained."

The 10th Mountain and 1st Brigade, the president noted, had lost 11 of their brothers in arms.

The president finished his remarks and started greeting troops one by one. He then actually took back the microphone and assured them they could talk and make noise.

As the president worked the crowd taking pictures, the room was as quiet as a library, as the soldiers seemed to want to stay at attention for the commander-in-chief.