Split opinions on Afghanistan policy
Our Readers Who Comment are deeply divided over whether the United States should send more troops to Afghanistan as they study a new Washington Post-ABC News poll that has found the same result for the nation at large.
Many readers see either another Vietnam or assess that the cause is lost already and want to pull the plug now. Others see the stabilization of Afghanistan as essential, and remind us that President Obama was highly critical of former President Bush for going into Iraq instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan. Some note that President Obama campaigned against that Bush decision and ask why the Obama White House is taking so long to decide what to do.
The comments mostly flow along party lines. As Dan Balz and pollster Jon Cohen write, "The troop issue clearly exposes the partisan divide. The new poll found that more than two-thirds of all Republicans favor an increase, including 51 percent who strongly support McChrystal's recommendation."
We'll start with johne37179, who wrote, "Wars are not won or lost on the battlefield; they are won or lost on the home front. The number of troops in Afghanistan are less than we sent to a modest one day battle in the Civil War... Those of us who have served in uniform and have family that is still on the battlefield have a different perspective; one based on first-hand experience and the reading of history."
timscanlon said, "I think a lot of the people we are fighting there are very bad people. Look at what they are doing in Pakistan if you need to see what they want... They will blow things up in the US again if we let them. They are our enemy, and the enemies of their countrymen too. We need to be in this fight to stop some problems because we have no other choice but to do it. We can't walk away from heroin terrorism."
BobbyYarush wrote, "...Ive been here in Afghanistan for the past six years and have witnessed the coming and going of the military and leadership. Ive noticed that the single biggest issue that I have witnessed is that once a new command and troops come in... its like starting from scratch. They re-invent the wheel at every command change. I cant see how this is a very effective way to run the business of war."
zickzack said, "If our generals are any kind of men at all they will have ALREADY been sending the reinforcements into Afg. since protection of the troops already in place is the TOP top priority and to hell with what that Marxist fool in the W.H. and his equivocation."
To which wasaUFO replied, "You seem to have forgotten who's the commander in chief of the Military .... It's not any General or Admiral, it's the President. You should go back to Fox News & talk to one of the clowns."
davideconnollyjr asked, "How is the US "deeply split" on sending more troops to Afghanistan, when we elected Obama on his promise to get our troops the hell out of everyone else's countries?"
Imarkex wrote, "Obama is charged with protecting America as comander of our military.If he does not take heed to our Generals advise anything that happens is his fault..."
ChicagoKen said, "We lost this war long ago. We already had our Vietnam, we have no need to do it again. If the Afghans want a different government they will do it themselves. Bring the troops home now."
mike85 wrote, "The conduct of wars should not be the subject of polls."
tropicalfolk said, "Once upon a time, a young American politician said:
"There is not a liberal America and a conservative America -- there is the United States of America. There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America -- there's the United States of America."... Now, the nation is deeply divided on almost everything: the economy, defense, health, education, energy, foreign policy. What happened to that ONE United States of America?"
kunino asked, "...What is Afghanistan? A generals' playground? According to generals Petraeus and McChrystal, it's one in which the Taliban are winning. And how do they explain that? After nearly eight years there?"
shadocat wrote, "I'm a New York Liberal, and I support McChrystal's request for more troops. I remember why we invaded Afghanistan in the first place, and there is no reason to believe that the Talaban regime of Afghanistan in 2010 will be any different from that of 2001...This is a fight against extremist violence, and if we don't learn from events of the 21st century, 9/11/201? is just around the corner."
schumann-bonn said, "...the prospect of winning in Afghanistan is as bleak or bleaker than it was in Vietnam. That war destroyed Johnson's presidency. If we continue the struggle in Afghanistan, the same may well happen to Obama's presidency.
The smart thing to do is start extricating the USA from armed conflict in Afghanistan now. Can't do it over night but the goal must be to get out as fast as possible. If that requires a deal with the Pashtun, so be it."
csforst wrote, "This war is lost. Time to pull out. There is no way to make a long-term democracy out of Afghanistan. Clobbering al-Qaeda and the Taliban was the correct action, but state-making is not going to work, so it is now time to bring the troops home."
We'll close with pabiker1 said, "So Obama is taking his time to see if we can come up with a plan that will actually be effective. What happened to shoot first and ask questions later? If Americans have a problem with this, perhaps it is the public that should get the low approval rating rather than the president."
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