Hawaii Impacted By New Iraq War Plans

Chris Youmans
Chris Youmans
Jamie Macias
Jamie Macias

By Joann Shin

(KHNL) - Four more years.

That's how long the army now says the current troop level in Iraq will have to stay.

That's a complete about-face from their previous plans, calling for troop reductions.

This is tough news to take for some Hawaii families, especially when Pentagon officials had originally said they would reduce the number of troops in Iraq.

And some businesses on Oahu worry four more years cold cost them their livelihoods.

Chris Youmans owns a dry cleaning and alterations shop in Wahiawa. Almost all of his clients are military.

Youmans says business dropped by 65 percent after troops deployed last August.

He doesn't know how many more deployments he can endure.

"It's just a continuous fight to stay in business," said Youmans. "The law of the jungle is to adapt or die, so we learn how to adapt."

In this case it means printing t-shirts

19-year-old Jamie Macias also had to adapt. But for her it wasn't business, it was personal.

"When my husband signed up two years ago, you knew getting deployed wasn't a question," Macias told us. "My husband's in the infantry so it's not will he go, but when he'll go."

But she now worries he could be gone more often.

Currently 145,000 troops are in Iraq. The army had to extend many deployments this year to maintain these numbers.

And now with this latest decision, Macias says it will be hard to plan for the future.

"Don't know when we want to have children, because do you want to have a baby while they're gone, or do you want to have a baby while they're here?" she said. "And then they're not here for your first year of your baby's life. It's hard to plan that way."

Army officials say plans could change if conditions improve in Iraq.

Macias is hoping that will be the case.

"You just know one day it will all end, but you don't know when," she said.

The Army also says that they'll rely on the National Guard and reserves to maintain the current number of deployment.