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Commenters Want Out of Afghanistan

There is one overwhelmingly dominant story today -- the death of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy -- and the comments on that speak for themselves.

Our readers are also turning their attention to Afghanistan. What they write bears a remarkable similarity to what we heard on the streets during the Vietnam days: Get out. The comments come on an article by Scott Wilson and Joshua Partlow, who write that "President Obama is caught between... the generals who want more troops, and the base of his own party, whose tolerance for a worsening conflict is quickly evaporating."

Our readers point to Afghanistan's historic ability to outlast such invaders as the Soviet Union, its internal ethnic strife that makes it a difficult country to unify and express a profound distrust of military officers asking for more troops. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll found that a majority of Americans see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting.

We'll start with davemorgan5, who wrote, "Comparisons between Vietnam and Afghanistan become stronger every day. In the south, units patrol for months at a time, never laying eyes on a Taliban, but taking a steady trickle of casualties from booby-traps. The villagers they see by day are the same people who come out at night to plant mines. Foreign armies are not welcome in Afghanistan! Any more than they were in Vietnam."

jchenn said, "President Obama has a real mess on his hands. He spent so much time flogging Bush for fighting the "wrong war" that he now more or less owns the Afghan war. But liberals are really getting ancy now, wondering why he's talking about ramping up when they were expecting him to pull out - has he lost his mind?... Maybe he and President Bush ought to sit down and drink a beer, eh?"

ridagana wrote, "If these roadside bombs are strong enough to strike American military convoys and kill and mame the soldiers we have lost the war. These bombs are becoming more sophisticated by the day while we are at a standstill in getting better equpment and understanding what the Taliban is up to. All we're doing is reacting and flying in cannonfotter by the pound. Baaaad."

jmiller6 was in a distinct minority in writing, "A withdrawal from Afghanistan without catching Bin Laden would deal a severe blow to US credibility and would embolden these terrorists... As Obama said, this is a war of necessity, for our future, future of the world. We have to prevail. Unlike Bush, Obama is really thinking how to win the war. We will prevail."

ziggyzap offered a profoundly sick solution in writing, "More cannon fodder for the Taliban. Remember that the Taliban was created by the USA and supported by the Americans during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan Now, like most American connivances in other nations, it has come back to bite them...The Americans can send a million troops to Afghanistan and they will still be wiped out on the ground, because the Afghans, Pashtuns and Pakistani jihadists will always outnumber them...The only way to beat an enemy who extols violent death as a virtue is to nuke the entire nation and eradicate it from the face of the earth."

kubrickstan said, "Pull the troops out. We lost the war in Afghanistan when Bush and Cheney left for the lies for profit war in Iraq. Thanks again, Bush/Cheney/republican party leadership for screwing up America beyond repair. Get out troops out, the terrorist WON because of Bush/Cheney and there lies about Iraq."

bourassa1 wrote, "Adolescent-minded American militarist yahoos will see a third way: bludgeon the Pashtuns into submission if they continue to nurture the Taliban. Fortunately the Pentagon, for all its flaws, is not unrealistic enough to believe in this fantasy... Using more indiscriminate violence won't change the equation. The Russians already tried that... The Americans will blink first. They tried mega-violence in Vietnam... but they eventually gave up and went home. A million Frenchmen had built homes and lives in Algeria, but even they eventually gave up and went home. You can't outstick the locals, that's a basic rule of modern war."

weidenhof4 said, "Congressional Staff members should be required to visit weekly to Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, They run Congress. The politicans only run for office as required, every 2 or 6 years and they have no clue."

dvsikka observed that "A lot of noise is being made about unfair practices during election. Will it mean that Taliban will get a chance to exploit the situation and create wide spread unrest."

bcha1 suggested , "First -- get rid of [Adm. Mike] Mullen [chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff]. Second -- get rid of [Defense Secretary Robert M.] Gates. Third -- get rid of [Centcom Commander General David H.] Petraeus. Fourth - bring our servicement home. And then we can have enough money to take care of the people, and maybe better military leaders who look at the men they are supposed to lead as their responsibility and not as so much cannon fodder...."

majcsmith predicted that "...Early next month HK [Hamid Karzai] will be announced the winner of the election. The current admin in washington hates HK. Roughly December, after taking a beating in the November elections here (like VA), the Admin will announce "we've done all we can do" blame bush, blame hk, and head for the door..."

2salmon said, "I think I read this story in about 1964, except with some different names. Were you a general, wouldn't you want more troops to help you do the job better and with fewer losses to your own side (or so you think)? If you hold office and fear giving people bad news, would you duck behind the flag? And were you an intelligent citizen, wouldn't you raise hell and demand that our country quit killing and maiming their and our people for no real gain?..."

crlchild wrote, "...Countries lose wars but this isn't a war it's an invasion. Few countries other than the US lose invasions so that's an achievement in itself. Whilst I'm very very pro Obama, will he have the guts to do the right thing - admit the defeat of the US and get out?"

ozma1 said, "American military forces have no good reason to remain in either Iraq or Afghanistan. Time to initiate the withdrawal plans."

Single_Payer wrote, "Obama will flunk this test. We had no business expanding the war in Afghanistan, and sending drones into Pakistan. Some al-Qaeda members were indeed Taliban, but this war is against the Taliban as a whole."

familynet said, "Most Americans don't understand what we are doing in that "country" and neither do I. Please don't say that obama inherited this mess. He stood front and center during the elections to say that Afghanistan was the place to fight. He did so to show himself a "tough guy." Well, it's his show and his war, so let him explain why we are still there..."

nallcando wrote, "Pull our soldiers out of Afghanistan... All of us could use those tax dollars. Afghanistan is incredible poor, its people uneducated, deeply religious and run by warlords other than Americans. Not one country has been able to fight forever in Afghanistan! Because that is what it will take forever..."

cristca9 said, "...It's the political side of the Afghanistan war that is completely wrong, in that the US has turned the population against itself, and sending more troops to ram this down their throats won't work."

cjones210 wrote, "Obama always said when he was campaigning that he was going to leave Iraq and take on Afghanistan if he became president. If people did not want this, why did they vote for him.[?]... "

We'll close with this exchange:

SeedofChange wrote, "Afghan war was Bush's war to win. Obama can not win after 8 years of neglect under Bush... American image in Afghan mind is the image of Bush incompetence for 8 years. Obama can not change America's image in few years without more money... End the Afghan war and save our economy."

To which familynet responded, "So are you admitting that obama didn't know what he was talking about in the elections? He said Afghanistan was the war to fight and to win. He agreed with entering that region and he would "win" it. Sorry buddy, but it's obama's war when he put his stamp on it and if you hadn't noticed, he has his choices running it."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  August 26, 2009; 7:17 AM ET
Categories:  Afghanistan , Obama  | Tags: Afghanistan, Obama  
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Next: Health-Care Reform: A Kennedy Memorial?


Pulling out of Afghanistan is analgous to ceasing spraying for roaches in an apartment complex. Those roaches will come right back if you quit, and yes, they do tend to outlast whoever invades.

If you pull out of Afghanistan, the Taliban will move right back in and use that as a base for terrorist training. Heroin production will resume, and women will be put back in houses with no education and forced to don burkas. Political dissidents will be executed in beheadings in soccer stadiums.

There is no quick fix in Afghanistan. The fix requires long term inclusion of ordinary Afghans in the political process and a regearing of that country into economic production of something other than opiates.

So for those who have had enough of Afghanistan, they must look themselves in the mirror and tell themselves that "By advocating withdrawal, I realize that I am supporting a resurgance in terrorism, violence against women, and drug production for Afghanistan, and I can live with myself and this choice".

Posted by: Wiggan | August 28, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Man, Doug, I was looking forward to seeing you take on the comments about Sen. Kennedy's death.

Posted by: JohninMpls | August 26, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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