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  • Morning Bell: We Can't Give Up on Afghanistan

    Yesterday marked the 11-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, which was launched just three and a half weeks after the 9/11 attacks. Recently, U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan reached the 2,000 mark. These markers—combined with the horror of “insider attacks” by Afghan soldiers against allied fighters—beg an accounting of where we are in Afghanistan.

    Within three months of the 2001 invasion, the U.S. had routed the Taliban and established an internationally backed Afghan government. But the U.S. and NATO success in the early years of the Afghan war has been diminished over the last five years. The Taliban have been able to regroup and rebound from safe havens inside Pakistan to again threaten the future of the country.

    While few believe it is possible to achieve a clear-cut defeat of the Taliban at this stage, there are several things the U.S. can do to maximize the chances that Afghanistan will achieve a degree of peace and stability, even as U.S. and NATO combat troops draw down over the next two years.

    Insider attacks. The most immediate challenge is to stanch the growing number of “insider attacks” that have taken nearly 52 coalition lives so far this year. The growing trend of Afghan security forces attacking their coalition partners poses the single greatest threat to the mission in Afghanistan. The U.S. strategy is centered on being able to train the Afghan forces so they can eventually face down the insurgent threat on their own.

    If the number of insider attacks does not abate soon, it will be increasingly difficult not only to justify keeping combat troops in Afghanistan for two more years, but even to maintain trainers. The U.S. and NATO leadership are taking steps to deal with the situation, such as improving screening and vetting of recruits, monitoring and counterintelligence, and using “guardian angels” to protect the coalition troops.

    Part of the problem has stemmed from recruiters cutting corners on vetting to meet ambitious benchmarks for increasing Afghan troop levels. There are conflicting reports about whether most of the insider attacks stem from Taliban infiltration, cultural disconnects between NATO and Afghan forces, or general war fatigue fueling indiscipline among the rank and file. Until the NATO and Afghan leadership can determine the exact cause behind the attacks, they will have little success in countering the threat.

    Pakistan’s safe havens. Washington must be willing to use sticks, not just carrots, to convince Pakistan to crack down on insurgent sanctuaries inside its territory. Despite America’s provision of upwards of $22 billion in economic and military aid to Pakistan over the last decade, Islamabad continues to turn a blind eye—and even support in some cases—the Taliban and Haqqani Network fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan.

    In a September 13 congressional hearing, Congressman Jerry Connolly (D-VA) declared the Haqqani Network “operates with impunity in certain parts of Pakistan with the absolute knowledge of the directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI),” and argued the U.S. needed to “wrestle this issue to the ground if this relationship with the government of Pakistan is to proceed in any kind of healthy, normal fashion.” None of the expert witnesses at the hearing, including myself, disagreed with the Congressman’s assertions.

    Be realistic about the Taliban. U.S. officials must not pin false hopes on an illusory reconciliation process merely to justify troop withdrawals. The Administration has pursued talks with the Taliban over the last couple of years and came close to releasing five top Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay prison earlier this year as a confidence-building measure—without any commitment from the Taliban to renounce al-Qaeda or to participate in a normal political process. This would have been a disastrous and unmerited concession to the Taliban. Meanwhile, the Taliban has calculated it can simply wait out the U.S. and NATO forces and, at the same time, extract concessions from U.S. officials desperate to strike a deal.

    Transition to Afghan security. As my colleague Luke Coffey recently argued, NATO must continue to focus on a gradual transition and not start rushing for the exits. Currently, the Afghans have the lead on security for more than 75 percent of the country’s population, and the goal of full transition is on target for the end of 2014. NATO members and coalition partners should not use progress as an excuse to leave Afghanistan prematurely. Any withdrawal of NATO forces should be based on improved conditions on the ground and on military advice. The 2010 Lisbon Declaration stated that the “transition will be conditions-based, not calendar-driven, and will not equate to withdrawal of ISAF-troops.”

    While the elimination of Osama bin Laden and his top deputies over the past year and half signaled major strides against the terrorism threat emanating from South Asia, it is wrong to assume that the fight against global terrorism is over and that the U.S. can simply turn its attention away from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Documents found at bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound last year demonstrated how important the war in Afghanistan is to al-Qaeda’s global agenda.

    Even as the U.S. draws down combat operations, it should remain closely engaged with Afghanistan financially, diplomatically, and even militarily through counterterrorism and training missions long past 2014. The challenges to stabilizing Afghanistan and ensuring it never again becomes a base for international terrorists are immense but not insurmountable.

    We must continue to support those Afghans working for a better future for their country even as we wind down combat operations. As discouraging as the news can sometimes appear, U.S. officials cannot escape the reality that the security of the U.S. homeland is inextricably linked to the future of Afghanistan.

    Quick Hits:

    • Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will begin his third consecutive six-year term following yesterday’s election.
    • Detroit police held a rally over the weekend to warn people to “Enter [Detroit] at your own risk,” saying the police force is understaffed and “fearful for their lives.”
    • Multiple people have made death threats against Governor Mitt Romney on Twitter. A campaign has begun to make the Secret Service aware of these threats.
    • On a West coast fundraising swing, President Obama made a joke about his performance in the first debate and repeated disputed charges about Romney’s tax plan.
    • See the new video that has the online world buzzing this morning: The White House Disinformation Campaign on Libya.
    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    50 Responses to Morning Bell: We Can't Give Up on Afghanistan

    1. deanbob says:

      I disagree that we should stay. Given our annual deficits, national debt and unfunded liabilities, a militant Islamic region, and no real understanding of democracy, we need to husband our military and financial resources before we implode on our own debt. Our government is showing the world how not to manage its money, debt, resources, and how not to govern.

      We need to reverse the "progressive" damage done to our society by improving education and increasing freedoms.

    2. Jim Ducharme says:

      Afghanistan and Iraq have been noble experiments in attempting to advance the cause of civilization in those countries. Sadly, it is also a failed experiment. Although I have not done Afghanistan, I have served on the ground in Iraq and have seem the corruption, tribalism and total lack of desire to be anything other than what they have been for the past 1000 or more years. Primarily due to Islam, these countries (using that term loosely) cannot nor will not change unless first Islam changes and we are willing to spend the next couple of centuries on the ground laying a foundation for a civil society. Islam can't and won't. We can't and won't. Leave now. Fence them in. If they get outside of the fence–annihilate them .

    3. Montie says:

      My dear friends at Heritage, I must disagree with you on this one. There is no good prospect for Afghanistan because at the end of the day it will still be a Muslim country and there is not a Muslim country anywhere in the world that is our true friend and a reliable ally. I want to bring all of our soldiers home from Muslim countries and not waste another penny or life on the hopeless task of converting them into something they are not and never will be–a freedom-loving democracy. It was a quixotic dream that will never come true because of the nature of their social/religious/political system. It is best to leave them alone and protect our own country.

    4. John F says:

      The war in Afghanistan is not worth it. I would not want to have my sons fighting over there. Bring our troops home.

    5. Jaime Calva says:

      I do not believe the terrorist threat will ever end until the source of the funding for the various terorist organizations is addressed. Western civilization is facing a threat akin to that of world war II. The islamist extremists goal is to eliminate all who do not agree with them. Even in Mineapois, Minnesota, Somalian youths were indoctrinated in a local Mosque to join a terrorist gtroup in somalia. This was reported in the Minneapolis Star Tribune last week.

    6. Mark McDaniel says:

      This is the most disappointing article I have ever read from the Heritage Foundation. Is it worth one leg, arm or life more to try and change an uncivilized culture half way around the world? Not if it was Lisa's or one of her children I am sure. If the Taliban ever presents itself as a threat to the United States in the future are we not capable of addressing the situation then? A few real bombing campaigns could cure a lot of problems in the future for a lot less money.

    7. Ricky Lee says:

      Wow, you miss the point which is what value does the middle-east countries represent for us? NONE. So we are at war for political reasons the one now is Obama doesn’t want to be seen as losing that war, while we spend billions and waste the lives of youngest and best soldiers. I’m a combat vet of Nam, saw 1st hand the hubris of politicians that for no needed or useful gains for national security or otherwise embroil us in these unwinnable wars. I say unwinnable because they chuse not to win them.

    8. Afghanistan is a lost cause while the tribal system is in place. You only have to look back through history to see the failed military adventures, yet the west continues to pour money into this corrupt country. We have been told that its all about bringing freedom and democracy to the people. Dont beleive it, its all about exploiting the natural resources. Just Google and check it out for yourself. The continuing rise in green on blue incidents show that there has been a rise in Taliban / extremist activity that is getting nearer to the command and control of the Afghan system of government and military. Here in England, while we fervently support our troops going about thier duties, more and more people are seeing that our prescence is a waste of time, effort, money and lives.

    9. Ricky Lee says:

      These middle-east countries have butchered each other for about 3,000 years or better, we can’t and will never change that. We should be out of there yesterday; our military supremacy has been neutered by this guerrilla war. We forced ourselves into defending oil rich nations because we refuse to produce our own oil and follow this ridiculous notion that it’s better to pay other nations to produce oil and enrich them so they can plot our own destruction and over throw, this is insane. Our own people suffer at home economically from a failed national interest strategy that denies the wealth inherent in our nation. We should always answer aggression with our military mite but from 40,000 feet and with Special Forces troops when needed, but then get the hell outta of there.

    10. Ray Hinkle says:

      This is not the first time that a Democrat led government has rushed to the exits. Are we to send in our precious blood into these regions and not have a long term outlook? It appears that Dems. are only interested in perceived short term fixes and not long term solutions. However, I am unsure that our efforts at "nation building" really works. There is strong evidence that we are at odds with these cultures. So, what is the solution? Do we continue to spend dollars on these regions in hopes that they will come to our understanding? Or do we withdraw and expect a repeat of the past? Certainly, the Democrats proposal is the later. We must remember that these problems with these regions are nothing new. And avoiding that reality is a long term problem.

    11. PaulE says:

      As I see it at this point, there are three major issues that have to be addressed:

      1) Given the fact that Obama has already made it clear the United States is leaving on a certain date, the Taliban and Al Qaeda know all they have to do is wait. We can't un-ring the bell so to speak.
      2) Our NATO allies are all heading or planning to head for the exits as fast as they can. With most of their own economies crumbling back at home, there is simply no way for their leaders to garner support from their own citizens to continue to dedicate resources at this point.
      3) The government of Afghanistan is corrupt as hell and can't be trusted to do what is best for its own people. Short of us removing that government by force, which there is no stomach for in either the Democrat or Republican parties, that situation is not likely to change.

      The rest of your argument makes sense, especially in regards to Pakistan, However, unless we can reverse all three of the issues I've outlined above, I don't see where our continued involvement in Afghanistan will yield the kind of results you hope for.

      We must be prepared to tell the Afghan government that should they NOT be able to control the situation on the ground after we leave, that the United States would have to choice but to remove the threat once and for all. Not by sending troops back in, but by reducing the country to a parking lot. That is the only way you're going to get the attention of all the terrorist sanctuaries in that part of the world.

    12. Walt Ireland says:

      One of the major problems is the U.S. is fighting a Politically Correct war, where the enemy could care less about Politically Correctness or the Geneva Convention. It's about time we get the politicians out of it, like the first Gulf War, and let the military run the show. And let Collateral Damage be damned.

    13. will says:

      "When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
      And the women come out to cut up what remains,
      Roll to your rifle and blow out your brains,
      And go to your God like a soldier."
      Rudyard Kipling on Britain's experience in Afghanistan.
      Surely there is a way to monitor and demolish "Safe Havens"
      short of surrounding them with America's treasure.

    14. ahmad wali says:

      and we must not forget about election which would be held in 2014 cause the main question is here , that who is the best alternative for president Hamid Karzai. and how Afghanistan would survive along dangerous Pakistan beside , which never wants a strong and unique Afghanistan along him.

    15. Clearhead says:

      The conclusion of the 2010 Lisbon conference stated that "…..“transition will be conditions-based, not calendar-driven, and will not equate to withdrawal of ISAF-troops…..” Regrettably that opinion did not fall parallel to mr. obama's/ Afghanistan withdrawal plan, nor did it coincide with his re-election strategy, so the United States will just have to disregard that decision for the present. Maybe the administration will consider it once more after we acquire a bit more flexibility. Meanwhile we are to accept just a few more bumps in the road.

    16. Guest says:

      From what I read in your article, I don't think you know why we are still in Afganastan. You may know that Afganastan is rich with many metal bearing ores. Copper, tin, zinc…you get the picture, nothing exotic, but very useful. Our troops are there to provide protection to the contractors who are building whole cities for Chinese miners to live in. I know this because of conversations shared with a military officer who goes there often. He claims that once the Chinese move in and begin mining, they won't put up with the Taliban or any other musloid terrorist bunch. It has been said our troops are held back by political correctness, and we pay for that with our soldiers lives.

    17. Benton Marder says:

      The USA, years ago, tried to play the Great Game anent Afghanistan. Pakistan created the Taliban at our behest to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. Yes, there are hints that the USA provoked the Soviet Union into its invasion. Much later, after the Taliban had gained power, the Great Game blew up in our faces. We are trying to do something in Afghanistan that others have failed to do: civilise the place. The British couldn't do it. The Russians couldn't do it. What makes us think that we can do what others could not. A military historian once told me that the only way to civilise Afghanistan would be to send in 100 divisions of Waffen-SS. There would be peace because there would be no Afghanis left alive to make war. The moral is plain: when the Afghanis get out of hand, punish them severely and then leave them alone to their own devices. Nation-building is not a viable option. Those that think it is are delusional. History tells us this reality.

    18. Carol, AZ says:

      The American stupidity connected to anything defining_ terrorism, _or terrorist tactics has just been described in this article.Our own stateside military and press refuse to utter the word _ terrorism-from the slaughter at Fort Hood_ forward.
      The truth deigned once again : That , the AF Govt is backed by terrorism.
      "Guardian Angel Program" to protect our troops_ who's lives have been ended and further described as "2000 markers" made my skin crawl.
      We have pumped $22 B. dollars ( certainly more) in this newest p. hole;
      Housed, supplied, feed, trained, and taught military tactics _on our latest military field hardware to the new generation of AF, Taliban,. We delivered our sons to this newest slaughter-house called AF and these newly minted AF troops have murdered them. (More markers)
      The stupidity of _ military and foreign policy belief that AF will all love us, _will become democratized-if we throw enough $$$ there way_ but Nothing could be further from the truth.
      The last paragraph should read :The security of AF is linked through their own decisions and NOT linked to our failed policy to identify and understand terrorism……

    19. Lloyd Scallan says:

      When will we realize that Afghanistan will always be Afghanistan regardless of how many buckets of blood and money we dump into the worthless sands? These people do not think and act as we do. They are mired in two thousand years of a life style we know nothing about. We will not change them nor do they want to be changed.

    20. Ed In Leesburg says:

      This worn-out arguement that we need to finish "training" the Afghans needs to be retired. I don't buy it anymore. Are they that hopeles or are we that bad at teaching. C'mon.

    21. RHC says:

      I disagree! This is a tribal nation and democracy is completely foreign to them and will never be achieved. We are wasting money and lives there and it should be stopped. RHC.

    22. JPR11 says:

      Enough is enough! Afgan is not winable and another strategy should be used. We hv wasted too much time, lives and money. Obama made Afgan a political issue in 08 and not smart enough or willing to see the facts. Time to move on.

    23. Joanneo says:

      These half baked wars need to stop. They can and do last longer than the 2nd world war, which tells you what we can do with the proper leadership. They are all about the rich getting richer, and who cares how many of our boys don't come back, or maimed for life? It is a terrible price to pay to countries that hate us and want to take our country over. And just which ones of these countries would come to our rescue if and when we should need them?? Not a single one. Bring our armies home, they can protect our borders and the citizens of the UNITED STATES………

    24. Grace M. Alvarez says:

      Usually I agree with commentary from The Morning Bell, but on this I have to disagree. Eleven years and we are sending our military men and women to be murdered by those "friendlies" they are supposed to train? I say, enough! The only allies the US has in that region is the NATO forces – period. Afghani, Pakistani, Sunni, Shiite, when it comes to attitude towards the U.S. – only one word covers it – HATRED. President Karzai wants us out, we should oblige.

    25. waldemar says:

      Sorry, can't disagree more. Taliban is not our enemy – it's simply the weapon of the enemy. The enemy is ISLAM (not some phony Radical Islam or Islamism). And the most dangerous troops of that enemy are right here in the US – the universities, the media and the Democrat Party. Their "soft jihad" strategy is more dangerous than the violence of the Taliban. Paraphrasing Bismarck, "The entire Middle East is not worth the life of a single GI."

    26. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Romney should do the following once he's elected: Throw a monkey wrench into Obama's date certain for our
      withdrawal from Afcrapistan.

    27. Ole Sarge says:

      Ole Sarge Says:
      After so many years of continuous War we need to check and balance our position. Lets decide what we hope to achieve by staying in Afghanistan for an unknown time against the value of one more person’s life.
      You say, “ Recently, U.S. troop deaths in Afghanistan reached the 2,000 mark.

      So, what is the value of winning in Afghanistan?

      What is the value of only one persons life (and we know there would be a lot more than that)?

      If this was a business venture which way should you choose to invest?

      In my opinion, we have invested far too much already for what we have gained and it’s an extremely poor investment to continue.

    28. albertmaslar says:

      What are you talking about; "We can't give up on Pakistan." Russia is powerful and lives next door and they gave up after 9 years and the US is there in its 12th year. Pakistan is incorrigible and there is NO possible resolution as they know nothing but fighting and poppy. Get real and get out. Investors bite the bullet and take their losses but the US is no smart investor in International affairs in the Middle East, particularly poor in dealing with 57 Muslim countries all of whom HATE the US. Get real; Get smart; Get out.

    29. Rand says:

      Lisa's suggestions are more mealy-mouthed meliorism and mild-mannered clucking. If the Taliban continue to break the peace wherever in the world…we have the means to retaliate firmly without having our troops engaged in social-work on the ground. Tell me: just how many lives, trillions and decades will it take to remove the stingers from 7th century savagery. Let's drop the Bush Doctrine of democritization abroad, and start watching and restricting the many clever muslims now inside our country and government.

    30. Bruce Hall says:

      If our efforts in Afghanistan were limited to a military campaign, the Taliban and al Qaeda would have been routed and eliminated. But, in strict Washington, D.C. tradition, politicians wanted to be seen as benefactors and saviors so our military was redirected into nation building and policemen.

      There is no strategic gain by spending billions of dollars propping up a "nation" of tribes and sects. A better strategy is destroy and leave… and if the Taliban return along with al Qaeda and work to harm us… return, destroy and leave ad infinitum until they figure it out. We have no reason to be there.

    31. Joanneo says:

      If you don't want opposing comments then you shouldn't post the article at all.

    32. Helen says:

      Where tribalism exists there can be no democracy EVER.
      It's a shame for all those who want to live peaceful lives but it's NEVER going to happen.
      The coalition should just get out and leave them to it.
      They are just throwing away lives and money.

    33. dymphnagates says:

      As long as the suicidal ROE remain in place in our military, we don't belong outside the continental US, ANYWHERE, much less a corrupt, dysfunctional and deeply murderous place like Afghanistan. The US does not know how to fight anymore – and with the media waiting to hang this albaltross around Romney's neck should he win – our military leadership is a disgrace for what they have concocted there. Petraeus built his career on the bodies of the men he was complict in killing. His replacement is no better.

      Our soldiers are not dying for America. They are being murdered for opportunity. Washington, including the Pentagon, is too full of corruption and Islamic talking-points to be trusted with the mission in Afghanistan. So unless you can wave a magic wand and change the ROE, your suggestions are untethered from reality.

      Maybe you think we should still be in Benghazi, too?

    34. Wilbert Reay says:

      We shouldn't have been there unless we were willing to do whatever was needed to neutralize our enemies. There are no innocent people in a war zone. We've been there long enough to have leveled several Afghan mountains by now. But in fact we have done nothing but wal;k on eggshells. Radical islam will never accept America and Isreals rights to exist. Even true believers of Islamic beliefs will never try to coexist with us.

    35. billy barney says:

      With this article , you'll are sounding more like Dr. Goebbels than an independent minded Conservative. As Rudyard Kipling said: "when lying wounded of the plains of Afghanistan and the women come out to pick over your remains, roll over on your rifle and blow out your brains and go to your God like a good soldier". Well we have sent enough of our men & women to their God over there, and if you insist it's a good place to be then send your own sons & daughters.
      As Santayana said: "those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it". Moreover Einstein famously said repeating the same actions and expecting different results is insanity. Therefore, use the power of destruction which we pocess or get the hell out.
      Afghanistan & Pakistan; two Muslim countries whose 7th century goal and mentality is the weakening and destruction of America and the West aren't worth spit.

    36. Jim Stutz says:

      Initially, America's invasion was justified. Sweeping the country of terrorist residue was also somewhat tolerable for a few months.

      Our decade long campaign of nation building is absurd. The country has and will be for decades, a corrupt and intransigent tribal society. Military contractors cannot change that no matter the hundreds of millions of US taxpayer $ are showered on that wasteland.

      Not one more American should die there.


    37. Jon B Rivera says:

      Yes we can give up Afganistan. Apparently, no one reads history … over 300 yrs of British attempts at pacification, 10yrs of Soviet attempts, 60 yrs of the Great Game with the Russians, French and Germans …
      The only two groups that managed to "pacify" the Afgans and Pakistanis were the Greeks under Alexander the Great ( who intermarried his officers with the different Afgan tribal leaders daughters thus becoming Family! ) and the Monguls who came across from China and did their pacification by the sharp edge of the sword.
      Having served two tours in Afganistan, extended Stay in Pakistan, and seeing the Political Goals morph from a fair attempt that may have worked (under George Bush ) transitioning to the murderous and maniacal "Lawfare" imposed by the politicians and political military leadership in Washington – we have had more military members and DOD civilians killed in theater under the kingship of obama.

    38. John Hancock says:

      Every person that is fighting or dislikes the American aggression is called Taliban.We are fighting ghosts.A made up enemy.We will never win.The dollar will crash and we will be forced to come home.

    39. J. Kornmann says:

      Ten year envolvement already is way too long. U.S. troops should not be held to U.N. rules of engagement. That is killing our troops. What country have we helped so they can defend themselves been sucessful? South Korea comes to my mind and I've met them in Vietnam. They do not mess around. Why do we mess around in these days?

    40. boberic says:

      we have learned from the past that you can't win a war with half measures. Therefore we have a decicsion to make. Do we have the will to win or not. If we do then we should devote any and all measures to win. That means do whatever it takes, send 200,000 troops.all the jets, ships, everything that winning a war takes. Whatever the cost do everything, Kill as many of the enemy as possible. Destroy their cities and their abiility to fight. If we do not want to fight this way if we do not want a war then dont fight one. GET THE HELL OUT.

    41. Richard Pierce says:

      How many people are in the United States of America?
      How many people in the United States of America collect a wage?

    42. sdfultz says:

      The last 5 years the Taliban have has a resurgence? Leave this waste land to its own devises!

    43. albertmaslar says:

      We Can’t Give Up on Afghanistan– Morning Bell
      10/8/2012 – Heritage,org: What are you talking about; “We can't give up on Pakistan.” Russia is powerful and lives next door and they gave up after 9 years and the US is there in its 12th year. Pakistan is incorrigible and there is NO possible resolution as they know nothing but fighting and poppy. Get real and get out. Investors bite the bullet and take their losses but the US is no smart investor in International affairs in the Middle East, particularly poor in dealing with 57 Muslim countries all of whom HATE the US. Get real; Get smart; Get out.

    44. Don Nardone says:

      DEAR SIR
      Please give the geopolitcal view of why the USA should stay in Afghanistan, it makes for a better arguement & I would also like to understand the implcations of leaving. Same problem in Iraq, only geopolitically more obivious & a little late.
      Don Nardone

    45. Jill says:

      This was all such a waste of time and good people and money. It sounds awful but we should have just retaliated with bombs for 911. This wasn't worth the sacrifices of our military. the people in these countries are barbarians and alwasy will be. I didn't always feel that way and I don't think it helps that we have a president that has deliberately snatched defeat from the jaws of victory just to make his predesessor look bad.

    46. S. Bernardy says:

      Perhaps, outside of a few of the money people in the cities, rocks and poppies is actually all these folks want, or have ever wanted. We need this money here at home. We need to cease worrying about dissin people at our borders and stop some of the problem there. Couldn't agree more with waldemar and RHC. Democracy or any form of strong central government in a tribal society is inexecutable. This government needs to wake up and recognize the world as it is and not as we wish it to be.

    47. @undefined says:

      I have posted comments before and obviously my comments weren't what you wanted to hear. I agree with the previous people's comments. Being in Afghanistan is not going to change unless they change themselves, beginning with their own gov. Since you are sensoring my comments, I will ask: Where is our gas masks, where are the emergency supplies, where are the bomb shelters, and just what do you plan to do about the Arab banking system that is taking over Europe forcing Sharia Law into their courts and countries? The Joshua Fund, Joel Rosenburg, study what they are doing, it's not about liberalism, and certainly not communism, nor socialism, nor Marxism, nor fascism…it is Christianity. This is an economic war, since they could not defeat our military, they can defeat us by economically destroying our country. It will take every single person in the US to bring our nation back; and we must be allies with Israel. The poor work without complaint if they have a job; the middle class pays the taxes, and the rich take their money to off shore banks who also do business with the Arab nations…giving the Arab nations their percentage to give to the "cause" of the Islamic nations who have a policy of destroying and enforcing their religion on everyone.

    48. Mvers says:

      My son and his wife both served in Afganistan for a year. They both returned home and said Afganistan will not change because of it's culture and life style. I have to trust the judgement of the people who have been there and first hand have seen the sacrifice of many Americans. It is time we listened also!

    49. A_James says:

      Wow! Don't think I've read a single post agreeing with this article, and most have offered some pretty good arguments against staying in Afghanistan. But the basic sentiment, I think, holds true; if you can't change or re-direct the foundation of thought and purpose in such a country, then all the military might in the world won't accomplish a thing unless it's used to simply eliminate the country and its people en-mass.

      It is a profound mistake for politicians to assume that "democracy" can be exported given the many explanations of our Founders that our Constitution is only workable for a moral and religious (meaning Christian) people. I don't necessarily agree with Ron Paul's libertarian views in full about military involvement around the world, for example, but he does make a valid point about expending our strength for reasons long ago demonstrated as being insufficient, and it would seem that such is the case for Afghanistan.

    50. Rand says:

      You are wrong again and again, Lisa. I think that you should spend a couple of years in Afghanistan. Why are you pushing the Bush Doctrine, rewarmed?

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