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Jobs vs. Afghanistan

President Obama has made his decision on what to do in Afghanistan, but our Readers Who Comment continue their significant disagreement about the decision. The renewed debate comes on a compelling article telling us about Afghans who left the Taliban in exchange for promises that turned false.

As has been the case for months, some readers see parallels to Vietnam and say we should accept the reality and cut our losses now. Several readers complain that they would rather have a job than worry about Afghanistan. Others worry about the enormous cost of a second surge and the ability of the Karzai government.

Meanwhile, on the ground, Griff Witte writes, examples of broken promises "are a major reason the United States and its allies are planning significant investments in programs aimed at using jobs and other incentives to peel Taliban fighters away from their cause. "

We'll start with mharwick, who expressed the majority view in writing, "The Taliban fighters cannot be bought off one at a time. They will take the money but their mindset cannot be changed. Once the bribery ends the Taliban fighter goes back to his old ways. This has been ingrained in them since birth... Appeasers are those, Churchill said, that feed alligators in the hope that they will be the last to be eaten."

But MPatalinjug said, "Reintegrating the Taliban and those Afghan tribal chiefs and their warriors into Afghan society is a strategy that has good prospects of working. If this is really at the core of the Obama administration's "new" strategy, well and good!... The "old" strategy has not worked--and there is no way it will ever work. This "new" strategy is a promising way out of a war that is unwinnable."

ratl wrote, "Underbribing kills any democracy..."

And Lazarus2010 said, "Give a bully your lunch money today and he'll leave you alone...for a while...but he'll always come back."

Farnaz1Mansouri1 wrote, "For once, we're on the right path, albeit half-heartedly, which will be our downfall if we do not commit. One of the many reasons we lost in Vietnam is that the Communists recognized something that Capitalist Democratic America did not; Poor people want to eat. In Vietnam, the communists... went village by village bringing food, medical supplies, teachers. With the people's consent they "eliminated" any oppressive powers in the environs. In our case, we should do much the same..."

surfer-joe said, "...Good grief! We blew truckloads of money away just like this in Vietnam, and see now where that got us. Didn't work then, it isn't working very well in Iraq now as government there unravels, and it sure as blazes won't work in Afghanistan..."

gurg asked, "What are LIBO DEMOs going to lure them to; the promise of global warming extremism, no warm campfires, unemployment, high taxes. political correctness and no celebration of God in the public domain?"

unseenmirage wrote, "We're dealing with people who, since they are born, are taught a doctrine based on violence (Quran). Their core beliefs of reality can not be changed, they have become "brainwashed" through forced indoctrination. This war will go on forever. The best thing the US can do is to bring our soldiers home and defend the drug problem at our borders, not somebody elses's borders. Only then will our economy begin to improve."

TerpfanMA said, "Stupidest continuation of the liberal victim theology....I guess we have to give each muslim a house, job, car and a pension or they just wont be able to help themselves and will then resort to murder because they have nothing else to do....hilarious"

cleancut77 wrote, "An exercise an futility. They will take the money and still launch jihad we are not dealing with rational people. The quicker Obama releases himself from these silly pollyannish ideas the better off we will be."

GODalmighty said, "Riddle me this: If the Taliban gets so much funding from Afghanistan's heroin why don't we burn the poppy fields and plant corn or something?..."

EddietheInfidel wrote, "...They'll hate us while we're there, and they'll hate us just as much when we're gone. Instead of implementing employment programs in Afghanistan, how about we worry about getting the t-shirt and jeans crowd here in the U.S. back to work, and leave these people to their own ends..."

unojklhh1 said, "I want the U.S. government to offer me a job too. I've been applying to federal jobs for months. But I guess you have to be a Taliban before they're interested in hiring you."

chuckcoley wrote, "How critical can things be when we can wait until the end of next summer to send troops?Sounds like war at your leisure.No wonder the public could care less.Mostly what we should care about is the flushing sound of more tax dollars going down the Defense department toilet."

robertjames1 said, "America and its allies have long ignored the needs of the Afghan population. It is as though the US wants to use the country as a battle ground to fight its enemies with the expectation that the people will put up with death and disruption and at the end act according to US wishes. A job, a house and security will put people on the side of the US and they will cost a lot less than US personnel to this war theatre."

angriestdogintheworld wrote, "This is like the Cheney Bush doctrine of paying the enemy not to fight us... not good."

Pearl77 said, "We can send all the troops we can find. We can kill thousands of Taliban. We can "liberate" all the territory of Afghanistan. But to whom do we turn it over to when we are finally ready to leave? These people have lived in tribal conditions, governed by warlords for centuries. Karzai's performance to date and his comments about needing American troops there for another "15 to 20" years (plus a steady flow of cash) is all anyone needs to know to realize we are on a fool's mission."

We'll close with dr_vaman, who wrote, "President Karzai has been proven to be self centered and corrupt. If US has to make progress in Afghanistan, they need to directly work with the people. Karzai thinks he is the King and he needs to go. Time only will tell whether US can ever succeed in a country that is so much plagued with unnecessary violence in the name of religion and a most useless President Karzai."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  December 14, 2009; 7:32 AM ET
Categories:  Afghanistan , Obama  | Tags: Afghanistan, Karzai, Obama  
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