Gov. Jan Brewer got an up-close look at the war in Afghanistan this week.
The governor said she thought she knew about the country and the war from watching reports on TV. That perception did not match the reality of the situation.
"It was a little bit surreal, of course, because as we entered Afghanistan, it's the real deal," the governor said. "It's not make believe. Very secure. Very cautious. Everybody is so diligent and aware of about everything that is going on. That is so impressive. Because you tend to forget that everybody's carrying real guns and they're putting their life on the line."
Brewer's trip comes amid ongoing discussion about how quickly U.S. troops should be withdrawn from the country. The Obama administration has said it intends to have all combat troops gone by the end of 2014, though an undetermined number of soldiers will remain to work with the Afghan military. That did not stop the Senate, as part of a defense bill, from tacking on a non-binding resolution urging faster withdrawal. And the governor conceded that before she went overseas and was briefed, she believed that the planned withdrawal was too early.
"Today I don't feel that way," Governor Brewer admitted. "I feel very, very confident that they are doing what they believe is right. And they are doing it the right way. And I feel very, very confident with their decision making."
News of the trip was embargoed according to standard military policy when a dignitary visits a war zone.