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September 21st, 2009
08:55 AM ET

Afghanistan: Decision Time

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, right, arrives at a U.S. base in Logar Province, Afghanistan, last month.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal, right, arrives at a U.S. base in Logar Province, Afghanistan, last month.

After eight years, has the United States given enough in blood and treasure to defeat Al Qaeda and establish a new government in Afghanistan? In a document obtained by the Washington Post, the man in charge of the war, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says we have 12 months to get more boots on the ground – thousands more – or the U.S. faces “failure.”

As the British government rethinks it commitment to Afghanistan and Italy buries six of its soldiers killed there, public sentiment in coalition countries and the U.S. is slipping dramatically.

What do you think? Is it time for a full U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan?

Leave us a comment. We'll share some of them on air in the CNN Newsroom, 11am-1pm ET.


Filed under: Tony Harris
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Mike Armstrong TX.

    We need to do our buisnes, if we cant afford this war we need to get out instead of waiting around letting the enemy pluck our troops off one by one and use alternitive motives to fight this humanitarian mission because the reason we went there has been lost.

    September 21, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  2. ken

    It is time for a complete and immediate withdrawal from afghanistan. We did not elect mcchrystal or other generals we elected congress and obama. If the general thinks we need more troops then tell karzai to draft train an provide the troops needed like we did for world war I and II to defend our country. The taliban did not attack us on 9/11, the plane hijackers were from saudi arabia, and latest terror group said they got trained in pakistan. The so called liberal congress plans on spending 228 billion this year on iraq and afghanistan. This is just like groundhog day.

    September 21, 2009 at 9:20 am |
  3. Roland Ortega

    Hi Rick,
    Greetings from Hialeah Gardens and Miami your old stomping grounds. I think it is time for a full pull out of the troups we have already obtained our objectives of securing the oil rights. No more young soldiers need to die for a lost cause sending more troups will only prolong the inevitable.The cost is to high and is not necessary we need the troups on our borders protecting our country from possible invasion of foreign forces before it is to late right now there are secret sleeper cells in this country plotting to take over this country and we have to prevent this from happening. there is going to be a revolution in this country both politically and financially we have to be prepared for both. Pull the troups out now not 3 years from now now this is imperative for the security of all US citizens your friend Roland Ortega

    September 21, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  4. Mike Armstrong TX.

    This isnt about the lives of 3.000 dead Americans any more its about fighting somebody elses war this is a humanitarian mission that will never end the reason we went there has been lost let them fight there own war.

    September 21, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  5. Paul

    This is probably the most pointless war. Just end it and get on with our lives.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  6. Cathy

    Bring our men and women home. This is never going to end, and we have sacrificed enough for nothing!!!!

    September 21, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  7. Carlos San Juan PR

    We have been in war to long! It's a war that most americans don't really care for. Americans are mainly concerned with the economy not the war. It's time to bring the troops home!

    September 21, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  8. jake

    no! it is not time for the US to leave afganistan. people are forgeting why we are there. we are there becasue we got attacked! we should not back down till we win. so if we need more troops we need to put them in there. america should not back down till we finish what we started!

    September 21, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  9. Lisa

    Since Al caida has basically moved to Pakistan our focus in Afghanistan is no longer appropriate. How do you "win" in this country any way and what defines "win"? I don't hear any one talk about that. Long time past when we should leave.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  10. june allen

    We should NOT pull out from Afghanistan, take off the gloves and have enough boots on the ground.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  11. Roberta Rivet

    McChrystal's strategy is not to kill the enemy, but rather to win over their hearts and minds . If the troops he is requesting are not forthcoming, the entire mission will have failed, and all of those American lives will have been given in vain. The Afghans want relief from the Taliban. The only way to conquer insurgency is to convert the insurgents.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  12. Jerry

    Nothing...Nothing...Nothing the U.S does will ever make a difference in how the Middle East governs itself. It's a region where war and hate prevail. They do not know how to live without conflict. We need to get out now and concentrate on other energy sources. Because after all...Oil...is the only reason we're there. Let's not kid ourselves.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  13. Bill in D.C.

    The war in Afganistan was launched to quell the forces that attacked our nation on 9/11/2001. We lost ground there during our years prosecuting the war in Iraq. We need to again re-focus our efforts on the war against terrorism, specifically in Afganistan. While Afganistan is a challenge in its own right - tribal by nature... not geared toward democracy or self-government/self-determination - we must not give up there and, just as importantly, the U.S. should not go at this alone. The British, German, Italian, other NATO countires and all countries committed to fighting Al Queda and ridding Afganistan of the repressive Taliban need to step up to the plate... this is not an effort that the US, its citizens and, more importantly, its military men and women should shoulder alone.

    Bill in D.C.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  14. Jay Sincoff

    This country has taken second place to Iraq. If you are in a war, then let us win it, and do what is completely necessary to win the war.If 100,000 troops is what is necessary then that is what we need.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  15. Nelfa M. Poole

    We have shed enough blood and money into this war. We must go about war in a complete and different way, that is, with more intellect TACTIC and less EGO. And as much as the Republicans [PARTY OF NO], would love for us to stay and die and waste our much needed money [MINT], we must go against the grain and simply WITHDRAW NOW.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  16. Jane Costley

    Tony,

    My view on this matter of any of those countries is that many countries has tried to help them for almost a 100 years and nothing any of them has tried to do to help them has helped at all. What makes anyone think that throwing more lives, man power and money and equipment into the situation will help at this time?

    Let these countries live the life they want. If they cannot or will not help themselves, why in the world should we continue to waste all that we do for those who will not help themselves?

    September 21, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  17. Al TX

    If this is about a fear to fail, this thing was a failure from the start! GET OUT NOW.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  18. Fernando Galvan

    The original goal became hazy along the way, but its easy for those back in the mainland to give one opinion or the other. Afghanistan is where we should have centralized our power so long ago, but we can't do anything about the decision made weather we agreed or not. In truth once the original goal that was set forth so long ago is more than a speck in the horizon, we should start to bring troops back, but until then it might be better to push forward and take care of the missions as quick and efficiently as possible.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:35 am |
  19. Linda Bailey

    Allow the military to conduct the proper offensive and it will be over. Civilian casualties are unfortunate but it is war. The Taliban hit the towers without regard for civilians. So...finish it, flush out the combatants and let's get on to other business. As far as improving the conditions and economy there...well things are pretty bad here too...and we have to work to rebuild our own economy...so either become an American state or figure it out just like we are doing.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  20. Weaver

    Tony I'm Tanzanian I'm surprised with what happening, Taliban to defeat USA? A rich and strong country? They what terrorists to organize themselves and attack again wait and see

    September 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  21. SSG Dusenberry, Travis

    Big shocker here! I hear the same rhetoric that we heard two years ago with the war in Iraq. Everybody wanted to go home then and now look at Iraq. In case you folks don't remember, Obama campaigned on the promise of giving more to the war in Afghanistan and it is the same Congress that you voted for that confirms the promotion of General Officers. They are told to do the job of winning wars and then are questioned when they tell their plans of how to accomplish their goals. This war is finally getting the troops and equipment it needs but nobody wants to give it a chance.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  22. Ken Adamson

    I would like nothing more than to see all of our troops come home and be out of a war zone, but unfortunately it would be a disaster if we did. There would be such a power vacuum if we just up and left. We have to be responsible in our withdrawl. Unfornately the course of action that we took nearly eight years ago has decided our future. We are going to have to be there for a while before we can leave

    Ken

    September 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  23. George

    Pulling out of Afghanistan is nuts. Granted we blew our resource on invading Iraq, but hey these people in hiding drew first blood and appear not have any ideas of disarming. Also this is a international issue, why does the USA fund and do the world policing while others bask in development at our expience, ie, China, Peru, Most of Europe, Japan. Want a larger army ... let the illegeals enlist, Also when Afghanistan is stable it is a international issue not burdened again buy the US taxpayers to protect 90 percent another country. Well this the first time I ever responded to the media. George PS I am a Disabled Vet

    September 21, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  24. Tony

    It's time to pull out. We went there for one reason and one reason only and that was to get O.B. We couldn't find him so its time to get out.!!

    September 21, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  25. Lars C

    We cannot leave. The black fact is that we have taken on a responsibility. As a Democrat and a young man dedicated to the ideals of peace and equality, but before that an American, I am not afraid to recognize and support the War on Terror that we have taken up as a nation. This War on Terror, however, is not simply one we must continue for our own nation but the world as a whole. As the singular greatest military power in the world at this time, we have a moral and ethical responsibility to not only secure the liberty of our own people, but others across the world who seek to live a standard of life parallel to our own.

    Al-queda and similar organizations are not just the masked gun-men we see in Hollywood action films, they are drug peddlers, thugs, slave-dealers; agents of dissent and strife world-wide. Many dispute the "real motive" for our military presence in the Middle-East. I'm not going to comment on that. Regardless, we are there, we have brought guns, we have brought explosives, and our enemies are meeting us with the same.

    The war-front is not our own, it lies in the homes and on the streets of others.

    Our responsibility is to those people who seek to live as we live. We cannot turn our backs on them. We cannot start a conflict, destroy infrastructure, take lives, then simply turn and leave when it is no longer profitable to us. That is not the American way. That is not the way of liberty and responsibility we have taken up and to leave now would be to discard the mantle of ethical standard we hold ourselves to.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  26. David

    If Obama doesn't listen to his Generals then he alone assumes the responsibility for our defeat in Afghanistan and the entire U.S. military will loose what little faith they have in him for good. He's already destroyed the CIA's moral I guess he wants a clean sweep now and plans on demoralizing our military. Obama is such a joke.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:42 am |
  27. Mitch

    The total situation and on-going activities in Afghanistan is too complex on which to naively place a simple leave or don’t leave direction. We should continue to rely on the wisdom and experience of the military leaders in Afghanistan rather than drive our decisions with emotional influences. If Afghanistan does in fact fall apart and return to the pre-2001 activities, the world will suffer greater losses in the future. However, the cost of the war and resources should be shared by all the countries, and partially funded by Afghanistan.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:43 am |
  28. Sabrina

    For the last 8 years the U.S. just left Afghanistan and our troops there hanging in the wind.

    It is not time to pull out it is way past time to do what is needed. We must trust the people in charge on the ground there. The congress and the president need to stop thinking about politics and think about our troops and give them what they need.

    Some of the american people need to remember why we went there in the first place. 9/11 ring any bells?

    We have a choice, we either fight them where they are, or, we sit around and wait for them to come back to America. If you think they won't be back you need to think again.

    We need justice for what was done on 9/11, those families deserve it. Our troops that have died will have given their lives for nothing if we let this go.

    History is a wonderful thing, if you learn from it. Do what is needed!!!!
    DO IT NOW!!!! Stop sitting on the fence.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  29. G. Harry Maddison

    You would think that the US would rewlize that the US military is no better or worse than the Russian military which tried to take Afghanastan eatlier and failed. Due to american arrogance the people in charge seem to think that we are all powerful and can not be defeated. We lost in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq and are now losing in Afghanastan. It's time to leave and tell the world if they want us to do everything to try and stop terrorism that they are going to hae to do more than they are. Otherwise we should let them try it on their own.
    The last war we really won was WWII and we had a lot of help which we don;t have now, thanks to some of our politicians and their speechs and attitude towards the rest of the world.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  30. Dewey

    Now is not the time to pull out of Afghanistan. We have wasted the last 8 years fighting the WRONG war, The George W. Bush war in Irag fopr Big Oil .Now is the time to catch the real perpetrator of 9/11. We need to get Osama Bin Laden along with Al Qaeda who is located in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    George Bush wasted over 4,000 American lives fighting In Irag who had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center or anywhere else.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:46 am |
  31. Lori C.

    We were forced to go over to Afghanistan because the terrorist brought the war to our door step on 9/11. The taliban were harboring bin laden so they had to be dealt with and bin laden has to be brought to justice one way or the other, I don't see how we can just through up our hands and leave this mission? I never disagreed with president Bush over the Afghanistan war. The Iraq war is what messed us up, cost us countless lives and split our focus, I've often wondered if we hadn't invaded Iraq and kept all our resources focused on finding bin laden if things would have turned out different? That said, the Iraqi people are much better off getting out from under Sadam and years from now maybe that country will be all it can be but it's probably cost us more than we can imagine.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  32. jay

    i like president obama and i think he is doing the best he can to get things going.
    however, history will tell anybody who is listening iraq and afghanistan will not become a democracy with troops. the only way this war is won if we exercise the same war mentality as the taliban.
    strike and run.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  33. Mike Armstrong TX.

    We are not fighting a war because of lost American lives any more that reason ended two years after our presence the people who crashed the plans are dead and the leader is in hiding our presence is nothing more then being another countrys army fighting there war why should our people die for there country we are not there for our country any more but for theres.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  34. Barbara Chaddick

    After 9/11 I couldn't believe we started a war in Iraq! Osama was suppose to be hiding in Afghanistan! Now we're still in Afghanistan fighting poor brainwashed people and where is Osama? He's hiding in Pakistan, where he's always been! We know for sure Pakistan has terroist training, but we do NOTHING! The government of Pakistan doesn't want our troops or any other country's troops there because they don't want us to find Osama, or discover all their training camps! I believe it's all politics and all our governments should be ashamed of letting our young soliders die in wars our governments really don't care if they win. This is only my opinion, but I recently lost my cousin in Afghanistan and my whole family has served in the military and I hate seeing them hurt or dying. I feel the same for other people's children too!

    September 21, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  35. Rex Young

    Need to stay and finish the job of stabilizing the country so our soldier boys that died did not do so in vain.The war on terrorism is a long term commitment and the rest of the world is watching along with other volatile spots around the globe that could break out into brushfires of trouble if we make the wrong deccision of pulling out of Afghanistan.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  36. Charles Leider

    Remember, the Bush/Cheney administration lost the Afghan situation (and bin Laden) early on before beginning the invasion of Iraq. Had they kept their eye on the ball then, we could have built up Afghan defense forces and spent a fraction of what we spent in Iraq to develop Afghanistan economically. Bush/Cheney lost the past eight years, leaving us the current mess.

    Now, we need to determine whether al Qaida is a real threat to return to Afghanistan - it seems to be entrenched in Pakistan and moving into Somalia. We should probably commit to 1-2 years to building up the Afghan government's forces and concentrating more resources on development. Then we should probably withdraw unless some major changes have occurred.

    September 21, 2009 at 11:58 am |
  37. David

    We did what we could to get Iraq started on the right path. Mission accomplished time to leave. There has been less progress in Afghanistan but it is not our problem anymore. As noble as the mission is, we have used up more than enough resources, people and time in the region. The U.S should withdraw immediately and maybe leave some trainers behind at the most.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  38. Barbara Chaddick

    Please get our soliders home and concentrate on getting everyone jobs and healthcare for everyone that are legal citizens. If soilders can fight for our country, they should be allowed to be citizens as long as they aren't criminals! Some of our citizens don't realize what a blessing it is to be born here.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm |
  39. Derrick

    The 1979-1989 Soviet-Afghan War should be an indication of the outcome of our presence in Afghanistan. In spite of the heroic and unselfish efforts of our armed forces, ideologies are impossible to defeat. The President must ask himself will Afghanistan become the new Vietnam War for our country or do we deploy more strategies that empower the Afghan people and tribal leaders to determine their own destiny. We can fix the world!

    September 21, 2009 at 12:18 pm |
  40. Nick

    Leave? No not yet, we don't want this to become Vietnam but at the same time we don't want Al Qaeda to be left unchecked to attack the homeland. Perhaps our greatest rival can become our greatest ally. The answer is learn from history and work with the Russians.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  41. M Kelso

    We get asked these things all the time. It seems that more people want us out than in. I guess that doesn't matter. There has to be a better way. This is not it.

    M Kelso
    Mississippi

    September 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  42. old_chemist

    I think it's inappropriate to say "we've been there for 8 years" when most of that time the American military has been distracted by the mess in Iraq. Much of the problem in the middle east is currently concentrated in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region so to pull out now simply opens the door for a dramatic increase in regional control by Islamic radicals. Now, Obama wants to redirect the focus where it should have been for the last 8 years (but wasn't) and conservatives start gnashing their teeth and saying "pull out" I want to know where were these people during the Bush administration? Leaving the Afghan region simply leaves a power vacuum that Islamic radicals would love to fill. We have 2 choices...pull out, sending a message that America doesn't have the staying power to fight radicalism, or stay in and keep Islamo-facism at bay. This is not a battle that will take years but generations. This ideology has festered for over 1400 years. The sound-byte generations that are emerging in the world now must realize that this problem will be with us as long as Islamic fundamentalists are allowed to create armed militias, ready to destroy whomever their mullahs identify. We must be in this for the long haul or we are bound to experience the gut-wrenching of 09/11/2001 over and over again.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  43. Alex

    We cannot win Ideological war with Military. It’s better to build 100 movie theaters then send 100,000 troops. Bring to Afghanistan our values not our guns. And then the new generation of their people will make their choice.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:24 pm |
  44. Karen

    Quit? Never! We can't afford to forget why we are there in the first place. The media should be reminding everyone that we are fighting there so we won't have to within the US.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:27 pm |
  45. Larry Fries

    Too LTTLE? Too little in Vietnam? Too little in Kosovo? Too little in Iraq? Is that all the lives of my fellow citizens and wealth of my country mean to us? Just what has been gained from these ventures? Are we, in ANY way, better off?
    THE REALITY........A FEW ARE WEALTHY,and many of those are not Americans! They are, in fact enemies!
    The GROWTH OF ENEMIES is perportional to the LOSSES of LIVES, WEALTH, and PRESTIGE. It is time to admit OUR FAILED FOREIGN POLICY!
    We must be "unamerican" to SAVE AMERICA!!!

    September 21, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  46. Dolores Warren

    I think it's time to bring ALL our military home from Iraq and Afghanistan. We have shed too much blood, sweat, and tears in those two countries, and for what result?

    September 21, 2009 at 12:48 pm |
  47. Tom

    Iraq was a mistake. Afghanistan is the war we have to win. If we spent the money we spent on/in Iraq on Afghanistan instead, we'd be wrapping things up.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm |
  48. Keith Colovos

    we need to stay and finish what we started. We need to stop thinking about winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people, Because in doing so we are loosing the hearts and minds of the American people and the soldiers.
    Let the military do what was meant to do. that is not be world police.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  49. Dan

    We need to stay in Afghanistan. As a former Afghan Police advisor, I've seen successes and the foreshadows of the death and suffering awaiting the Afghan people if we pull out too soon. But no matter how many troops we sent into that country, our military leaders need a results-oriented strategy, something we didn't have during my tour.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:50 pm |
  50. Dennis McBride

    How will we ever define "winning" the war? I guess we could deploy 250,000 servicemen for 6 months and let them "tear it up"... You never really "win" a war.....Probably should just bring them home...

    September 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  51. Mark

    What is the mission definition for our military forces in Afghanistan? I've never heard of anything except to kill the taliban, which seems to me is never ending.
    I am favor of pulling out completely, and soon. Lets go to war where war is necessary, not try and change a culture of a society half a world away.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  52. Rotunda

    Afghanistan and Iraq are not meant to be won. Just like Vietnam, these wars are meant to be sustained, for as long as possible. War is big business, and the corporations that are in bed with our government want them to continue.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  53. Annette Grieshaber

    We got into Afghanistan in the first place because they needed help defending themselves against the Russia of the 1980s. We're there now to try and quell some of the violence by doing what we should have done in the first place – help Afghanistan to establish a more cohesive government and educate their people, while at the same time driving down Al Qaeda. We can't just pull out now. We're too well invested. Pulling out would undo all of the work that we've been trying to do all along. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't be starting to scale back our troop involvement, the same as we did in Iraq. But also, the same as we did in Iraq, a surge of troops might help to get us over the hump of work that needs to be done, and help us start to withdraw.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  54. Chad D Forsgren

    Tony, personally I think that if we are to send the right message we need to finish the job we set out to do when President Obama comment on attacking Afghanistan before becoming President. Therefore withdrawing will be criticized sharply by opposition as well as the terrorists cells will use this as a false success. So we should hit them fast and hard because the public does not have the stomach for a long drawn out war. As a comedian once said "Get ur Done."

    September 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  55. Bear

    We stay. Finish the war they started when they attacked us. If we redraw. They regroup and plan another attack. Can't let that happen.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  56. Matt

    For those who are saying we should stay; if we pull our troops out of all these foreign countries we would not have to deal with people trying to attack us. They don't blindly hate us because we are "free", they hate that we are infringing upon their religious grounds. Our meddling in foreign affairs is the reason we were attacked. It was a terrible day but we have given back that which was perpetrated upon us 1,000 fold to the people of Afghanistan. I don't think any of you would sit idly by while our great nation was occupied by a foreign country.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:52 pm |
  57. jane

    When will we learn that we cannot invade a nation, establish a military state, dismantle its government, redesign its culture, and expect to succeed at anything other than looking like international bullies.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  58. Carol Jose

    Lest WE forget: Freedom isn't free. I grieve for these families in Italy.
    We were attacked by Al Quaida and the Taliban. When Europe and Pearl Harbor were attacked in WWII, we didn't dither around, hesitate, or fudge. We sent troops and supplies, and we have more than 100,000 of our fighting young men in graves in Italy, France, Germany and Great Britain! Now we in the United States were attacked by terrorists who gloated over killing more than 3000 of our citizens. We mourn with the Italians. But let's get in there and do the job, and not quit before it's done.
    Carol Jose
    Florida

    September 21, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  59. gulianna

    it dosent matter no more gas prices aer sitll hi so what the point of haveing our troops dieing

    September 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  60. Gregory

    Yes, time to bring this war to a end....Let not forget history regarding wars in Afghanistan.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  61. Roger

    All the Great countries, Italy, Britain, france, Germany should join America and take this war Seriously and put it to an end. Italy is having a national morning day for Six soldiers, Amrican have lose way more than that. it is not Just an Americans war but it is a war against terror.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:56 pm |
  62. Tanida

    It is Aeschylus that said, "In war, truth is the first casualty". We need to bring our men and women home. It is not about "winning" because in the end, there are no victors.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  63. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Those people want armageddon and if they attack us again we should give them what they want.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  64. Jim

    Have we not learned anything from the U.S.S.R.? The Soviets fought in Afghanistan for more than a decade. The end result: a lesson in futility. Were dealing with a people who have been killing each other in the name of god for centuries. Why not concentrate efforts in other middle eastern countries? Most notably Iran, Syria and Libya. You think Momar Kadhaffi is no longer financing terrorism? Oil, Oil, Oil. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Wake up Mr. President. The people of America are expecting results and their patience has been worn thin by 8 previous years of mismanagement. You have a better chance of passing your health bill than changing the mindset of the majority of Afghani's.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  65. Keith Colovos

    you people seem to forget that we were attacked on our own soil. Many innocent American lives were lost on September 11th. That is why we are over there.
    the last time we were attacked on our own soil we fought the world war 2, against the Germans and their alliance. After the defeat of Germany, we went and fought who actually attacked us at pear harbor.
    You people think hat now a days when we invade a country, that they will just bow down and give up, with minimal resistance.
    If we withdrawal now, all those people from September 11th till now, who have died, will have died for nothing.

    September 21, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  66. Morris Bowden

    Do we never learn? In the Korean War we gave safehaven for China's MIGs because the President would not allow our jets to pursue them across the Yalu River into China. Meanwhile the enemy built up a hugh force which almost destroyed a large part of our forces in North Korea.

    Now we are basically fighting the same kind of war with the enemy allowed a safehaven in western Pakistan. We should devise a plan to go into Pakistan with the first objective of securing the nukes (we surely know where they're located), encircle that area where the enemy enjoys their safehaven in that tribal area and as several guests said on the Morning Joe Show on MSNBC this am, "we must eradicate them". We either do that or get the troops out. Otherwise they will bleed us dry in terms of bodies and our economy.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  67. Terri

    I would love to see us out of Afghanistan, but I don't think that is the answer. If we do pull out, we are admitting to al Queda, the Taliban and the rest of the world that a small group of terrorists is able to outmaneuver the United States. Would we be credible as a military force after this? One of the reasons we were targeted in the first place is that if you're going to take on a country and show your strength – go after the strongest and the US was that country. If we lose this, what message does that send? Also, if we leave, what does that say to those who have fought over there? Or the families of those who have died? It's rather childish, if you think about it. "If I can't win, I don't want to play anymore. I don't want to do the work to win." That's the idea I get from what a lot of people are saying.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  68. Mike Armstrong TX.

    The people didnt forget 9-11 our government did.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  69. Matt

    Keith,
    We were attacked by a group that is international, their leader just so happened to be in Afghanistan at the time. If we are going after those people who attacked us, we should go to plenty of other countries, Iraq not being one. The difference between WWII and Sept. 11 is the fact that Japan, a country, attacked us; a group, Al Qaeda, in many countries attacked us on Sept 11.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  70. Keith Colovos

    we are so consumed with winning the hearts and minds of the afghan people. the afghan people are playing both sides, they tell us enough to get some money or assistance. then after we help them they set our troops up. we need to stop trying to play the good guys, and just let the full force of our military loose. it is too hard to fight a battle with on hand tied. Let us forget about the afghan people, and start worrying about our American soldiers.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:07 pm |
  71. Laura Acevedo

    Yes we were attacked, and many innocent lives were lost on september 11th. Ask yourselfs though, how many people died on that day vs. how man lives we have lost in this war!?! how many more people have to die? how many more soldiers have to be put in harms way to avange the sept. 11 attacks? when will it be enough? We are just adding to the death toll just to prove a point. Are all the lives lost post sept 11 worth having vengance? what is the point!?!

    September 21, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  72. Patrick

    The truth of why Russian lost in Afghanistan! They could only work on one side of the Pakistani boarder! Truth it was Bush the first that set up Al-Qaida while he was the head of the C.I.A.. I will not get into that one too much but yeah I do think Obama did good by shifting away from the C.I.A. and he needs to not make them too mad (that more than likely was JFK’s mistake, if Obama meets the same as he did they will be defeated , the supper greedy are truly bind now!) We must make the Afghan population see that we are not there just for our own gain! They must see they cannot hide in Pakistan as they did with the U.S.S.R. they must not have a safe harbor! A truth is the very ones that are our enemies’ today can be our friends tomorrow! The revenge factor must not get in our way! This must be a spiritual war above all else! Many things happened in Afghanistan that most Americans do not know about that fuel them! The real war must be fought by cutting off the fuel of the movement! The Afghan people need to know we will not turn our back on our friends! They need to know even if they don’t like us our goals are simple! Their needs must be met! We will not let them be a staging ground for those that seek to harm the U.S.A. We have the power to stop them and will! The very ones that hate us today can love us tomorrow! People will side with the ones that will benefit them most; unless they fear the wrath of god (BTW even in the Muslim world this fear is easing)! We both Christians and Muslims have the same god the basics are different though! No loving god wishes to see humans kill each other! We have two different sides that say god is on their side, and the other side is inspired by satin! This will not matter if we can stop the fuel that lets hate run wild! People come up and say that others wish them harm and point to little things to prove their point, than get free well inspired fighters! Hate gets in the heart of people and blackens their heart! It blinds them so they cannot see the good of the ones they have been able to hate! They look at a person that reminds them of one that has done harm to people like them and assume they will do the same, or strike out at them in revenge for what others like them have done! We must defeat hate on a spiritual level! We must let them know that U.S. government does hate them! We must let them know that their hate is unfounded! We must give them the tools they need to have a better life! Getting our population to hate them will only make the hate jump back to their side and fuel their aggression (when you are dealing with a group of people that can hate and love on the spin of a dime this is very dangerous but can be turned around just as fast!)! Yes we must always stand tall to defend ourselves but we must stop fueling their hate! I know what hate is it has done many real bad things to me! I as most, more enlighten people know that hate is blinding! I struggle as many others to find the balance between self defense and striking out in fear! Many Muslim countries are fighting the real war! The real war is against extremism! All sides must become much less extreme! Extremism breeds extremism on the other side! Revenge is real, it blinds us humans! We fight the person instead of the spirits that get inside them to make them want to harm us! We need to fight the fuel first and the person 2nd! Every human on earth has the ability to see the light! We must seek to help them! Our enemies’ of today can be our friends of tomorrow (after WW I the winners took everything they could from the losers, after WW II it was done differently, no both Germany and Japan are our allies and happy being so. What was done after WW I fueled WW II)! We have to stop Americans that simply want to use others to gain much more than they will ever need! Even if we defeat the Taliban, if we let our companies go in and use the population we will have the same type of thing in the future! It is time for us to free people that are enslaved spiritually (people blinded by others and wish to fight for things that are not in their interest, used simply as a pawn)! The Bush years of CAPITAILISM GONE WILD was just as self defeating as Russian communism, both extremes with little middle room! Oh yeah if it’s not CAPITALISM GONE WILD it does not have to be “Socialism”! I support truly compassionate capitalism with those at the bottom being giving the tools they need including inspiration to make it! There is truly an international spiritual war and American has the chance to be the leader once again! We must seek to help others see a better way we must not abuse and use those that are weaker! The war must be fought by defeating the fuel fist! We do this when we fight forest fires why not in the spiritual realm to keep it from becoming hot? More humans will survive if we do and we all will be happier in the long run! America needs to find the right balance between greed and compassion! When someone with lots of money goes home to their family they need to know their actions have not hurt others so much that it creeps into their family life! All of those binding spirits/emotions also blind them at home!
    P.S. I am waiting for R.E.M.’s Shinny Happy People to surface!
    Peace and love to the Human Race!

    September 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  73. Raymond Lewis

    U.S. and NATO forces are having a difficult time with the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. If we leave Pakistan, and its nuclear weapons would soon be under control of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Who wants to see that happen!?

    September 21, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  74. Raymond Lewis

    If we leave Afghanistan it would only be a matter of time before Pakistan and its 50-90 nuclear weapons would fall into the hands of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Then what!???

    September 21, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  75. Alan D Holmes

    Ben Laden's strategy (i believe) is to defeat us economically by causing hugh expeditures on wars and security. It is working. Deficient spending, caused by wars, has brought us and others close to bankruptsy. The US can no longer afford to protect the world and should pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as cutting back significantly on the more than 700 military bases spread around the globe.

    September 21, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  76. William Courtland

    Afghanistan: a private conflict.

    Al Qaeda? Who are they attacking? America? Why?

    Why all of America: what private group could assume to take on an entire nation and expect to win?

    Why: Death to America? Just the slogan in the streets; an easy and obvious first recruitment aide...

    Why are nations involved in sexual gang warfare?

    As every event can be related back to motive born in sexual Mysogonistic:Misanthropic attempts for control of government and providences of life.

    Why is America as a nation: involved in the affairs of another nation: as they proceed to refuse female rights?

    Why are Muslim's in the Streets calling out Death to America: what does America support: and how does it threatened Islam and those nations which abide by that creed.

    It might be wrong to treat any sapient without the total compassion and understanding of humanity: but in the same token: one can not use warfare to promote culture: only culture can win such disputes.

    Afghanistan needs new infrastructure: just like America does.

    Afghanistan needs jobs: to stop people moving into America to prevent immigration: move to those places and improve the living condititions abroad: by using the educated generations to promote life and standard in foreign lands: via construction and job creation and expansion. Make them a home like yours: in their lands.

    To improve the total method... to make a new United States Postal Service and deliver peace around the world... To deliver new construction systems: an enable the method of that construction to enter India and China: to allow them to expand residence into the Mountains and free the firtile valleys for growth...

    Why do terrorists target America: Terrorists Imam's are targetting the Feminist Extremist Occult method which owns and operates America via the cold manipulative ways of the true people behind the party method.

    September 21, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  77. KJ

    NO I think we need to shift rapidly from Iraq to Afghanistan., We still have the majority of troops in Iraq. We need to increase the pace of the withdrawal in Iraq, re deploy half of those troops to Afghanistan, And apply maximum presssure to Afghanistan for 6 months and them start a gradual withdrawal.

    September 21, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  78. dempsey goins

    Get out of Afghanistan! Get out of Iraq as well now! These people have been fightingt for a thousand years. We are not going to stop Terorism by forceing a Democracy on them. They want us out of their country! We can't afford this high handed approach. Lets take care of our own problems. Lets support the President with Health Care Reform! Let Blackwater and the C.I.A. get Osama Bin Lauden! Fox Network! Tell your Supposed News team to Get Off The President or Fire them! Their Crap is not News! Best Regards Dempsey Goins (61 years old whiteman)

    September 21, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  79. joe baker

    Was the Afghan report a leek or a strategic move? Obamma is the first black president in history so race will be an issue that he must confront. If America stands and says no more lies and secrets politicians won't have to worry about being re-elicited. The government should worry about protecting tax payer and our borders before it's to late. The only change I see is in my pockets. Good job CNN.

    September 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm |
  80. Mark

    Get out of Afghanistan NOW, and put the US military on the Mexican border where they can do us all some real immediate good keeping the illegals out.

    September 22, 2009 at 6:10 am |
  81. Jan O

    Withdraw from Afghanistan, a country under siege for the last 25 years.
    Withdraw from Afghanistan, a country with the 5th most corrupt government in the world, according to the Brookings institute.
    Withdraw from Afghanistan, this war is a social boondogle. The people of Afghanistan do not have the will to fight next to us but do cooperate with the Taliban whom they see as them.
    Withdraw from Afghanistan, our nation is hemorrhaging economically and can't afford this war.
    Withdraw from Afghanistan, and bring our troops home. This is an unwinable and untenable war.

    September 22, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  82. Griff Watson

    Perhaps this should be one of those "what is exactly is the job of a journalist?" questions. In the middle of an interview this morning with a young man from an Afghanistan veterans group Heidi Collins' reporting seems to make one wonder. At one point the young man tells Heidi Collins " I agree with you Heidi. . . " What? Her comments and her questions regarding the troop issue seemingly were not objective; I miss the days when news people reported the news in an objective manner. Her positioni on the issue should not have been part of the interview. Credibility suffers when the reporter's opinion is infused into the interview.

    September 22, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  83. F. Williams

    President Obama should not make the same mistake President Johnson made during the Vietnam conflict as he let politics influence his better judgement. President Obama should listen to his field commander and approve all of the troops and supplies he needs to win the conflict and then come home!

    September 22, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  84. Dana P

    My husband is in afganistan, and I think we should withdraw our troop and let them blow themselves up.As long they dont come here were safe. Why lose more of our own.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:50 am |
  85. Paru

    Lets not forget the past!! Last time we left Afganistan after the Russian invasion, we created the Al-Quida. We should listen to the people on the ground and finish the business for good

    September 22, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  86. Heath

    I'm tired of war just like everyone else.. but if we're not going to pull out then strategically it seems the best thing to do is to give the Generals what they need to win.. The faster we accomplish our goals there, the faster we can leave.. which is the goal right? Maybe an even combination of both more troops and employing local militia.. We can save some American souls and reinforce some faith in America with the Afghan locals at the same time?

    September 22, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  87. Richard Z.

    If we (the U.S.) had any sense, we would dump Israel and let them fight thier own wars. Then we could pull out of Afghanistan, Iraq and wouldn't have to do any saber rattling towards Iran. Should we do this, the hatred of the Middle Eastern world towrd America would most likely evaporate virtually overnight.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:54 am |
  88. Johnny

    I believe that we should bring all of our soliders back from Afghanistan and get rid of the taliban once and for all, since the President of Aghanistan wants to do the same. By doing so we save time and most importantly our troops.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  89. Dave

    Stay in Afgahn. We came there to finish a job. Let's finish it. Dispose, imprison, and distroy all terrorist organizations. I support the war effort because of 3000 dead people in New York in 2001. You leave now, they (the terrorists) win, the world loses.
    Michael Ware (or what-ever that anti American news caster name is) Is wrong, the war can be won. But get rid of him, he destroys morality.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:55 am |
  90. Suzanne

    There is no more to do in Iraq and I think we should focus all troops in Afghanistan. Soliciting the assistance of the warlords in that area is not an entirely bad idea, but you would also have to consider a possible coup from the Mujaheddin after everything is said and done. By that time that country should be able to handle their own social issues. If the U.S. intends on finishing the job in Afghanistan I would gladly volunteer to go back to the Middle East with my Marine Corps unit. Won't go back to Iraq though, twice is enough.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  91. John Adams

    We are spending money,much needed at home, everywhere else in the world. We need to learn a lot from the rest of the world. From China, from USSR (doesn't even exist). It costs less to make ourselves secure at home than being on offensive all over the world, Afghanistan in particular. Neither we achieved anything in Iraq nor we will in Afghanistan. Let's disengage from the rest of the world and pay attention to the problems at home. People in this country need help. These wars are not helping anyone but the Defense industry, they are the only one in favour of wars because peace will make them run out of business.

    September 22, 2009 at 11:57 am |
  92. Donnell Carr

    Afghanistan is a land locked country. Once we leave, we will have a hard time if we need to go back in. We can't depend on Pakistan to help us in the future. Once we are out, Afghanistan will again become the terrorist happy training grounds.
    And considering to get the Warlords to help us? I think they have shown their loyalties to the Taliban for the most part.
    Let's face the facts. We are STUCK there if we are going to destabilize a terror base.
    How is we did not see this coming eight years ago?

    September 22, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  93. Don Drolet

    There is always the talk of getting out of a war after we go in, botch things up, and then the taste of the whole mess begins to sour in the mouths of the “quick result oriented” American Public. This is a cycle that seems to continue to replay in the last 5 decades in American History.

    I have an idea. America needs a mandatory draft when considering conflict in a foreign country. If everyone of any age, class, gender, or educational level was potentially required to put themselves in harms way, perhaps we would consider the costs to our country and those to the countries we go into conflict with as well as the real goals before begin the conflict. Is it so radical to expect the people making those decisions to also face the potential for tragic outcome to themselves or their families?

    Don – Pittsburgh

    September 22, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  94. Path

    I would think waging war anyplace requires first the faith of those you are marching past. Look at the Soviet Union in WWII; the Germans initially had a modicum of support from most if not all of the people they were overrunning. After their brutal behavior and ridiculous wasting of life there, Soviets as a whole came together to literally annihilate them. This, the most powerful military in the world at the time swiftly devoured by what was initially a peasant army.

    We are not brutal and we hold life sacrosanct, argue that however you will. What is without question is the endlessly repeated lesson of warfare; ultimate reinforcement must come from the field itself. Our troops must inspire, not fight and die for a distant, hostile people.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  95. Michael Swartz

    I was in the Army and served in OIF 06-08. We need to help our own country and our own people , not people who wanna kill us and theresevles not to mention not wanting to be helped. America should be our priority because this is where live.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:02 pm |
  96. Kevin

    How many years did the Russians spend fighting the Afghans? They lost, and they were neighbors!

    September 22, 2009 at 12:09 pm |
  97. Billy A

    Afghanistan has been Mission B for quite some time, and we need to prioritize the region after scaling down in Iraq. We will never have closure with 9/11 if we don't apprehend Bin Laden for the crimes against humanity... Wasn't this the reason for entering Afghanistan?.

    We all know Afghanistan is notorious for defeating occupying forces but, we can accomplish our mission because we plan on leaving. Give the tribes and local leaders the ability to defeat the Taliban and we should be able to offer this assistance and ultimately leave the region.

    We are a military family, we have made our contribution to the efforts in this region but, it becomes harder and harder to support these missions with no end in sight. The American public has lost interest, they are finally feeling a burden from these wars and want the money spent at home. This administration has a tough decision to make concerning Afghanistan, it has been mismanaged for 8 years and now this President is left holding the bag... Tough times ahead if no progress is made in this region!

    September 22, 2009 at 12:10 pm |
  98. Max

    We need to fight our own wars

    September 22, 2009 at 12:11 pm |
  99. Barton Foley

    Richard Z:

    Abandoning Isreal to its own wars... I don't think that means what it might seem. If we "abandoned" Isreal, they would probably annihilate half the region overnight. Our pact with them is not one of friendly support, more like friendly [so far] restraint, albeit we were the ones who armed them sufficient to execute such an insanity.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  100. Kerry Castonguay

    The world helped united Afganistan tribes crush a Russian invasion by simply providing weapons and intelligence, so why are we now sending our troops to expel the Taliban? Why not help organize a resistance, with a democratic constitution established under which the various tribes can endorse, and unite against the Taliban. They would certainly win with world support in terms of weapons, inelligence and funding. Correct me if I'm wrong but I believe the American Revolution was won by Americans.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  101. Chaney McEachern

    We need to do some reinvesting in America We need healthcare reform, clean energy development, education priorities, We need to secure our borders.I really resented the war in Iraq, $1 trillion, dollars and all the other resources could have gone a long way in Afghanistan, instead we are losing ground.....I am not privy to all the material that the President has to base his decisions on,I think if we are going to stay their we must increase the resources in order to get the job done.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  102. Don Felton

    I served in Afghanistan (Kandahar) in 2002. If we do not defeat the Taliban and the Al Qaida there will be another 911. I met and know many of the Tribal Chiefs in southern Afghanistan and that is where the power is. If the mission is not adequately staffed many of our young men and women will be killed unnecessarily.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  103. Rosie

    Hey Tony
    I never commented here before. Just one your silent observers,

    Problem as i see it ever since 911 we been fighting 2 wars but very stupidly.What i mean is this, Look at world war 2 amd you see exactly what i mean. We have 2 ecconomies peacetime one a war time ecconony..Not one war mind you but 2, An if my memory serves me correctly we really never declared war.I know people will remember Bush saying we did.But, he used the temporary war powers act. An never went back to face Congress to make it offically a declared war.

    We have beem like the titantic, took the hit an then floated along an now we start to sink. 911 was the hit same as iceberg, an both wars darin money an need support finacially here at home for peace time ecconomy, Then stock market crashed an now we slowly sink,

    We needed a war time footing one eccomony not 2 like did in world war 2.Things would be very different now if we had founght as our lives depended on it. Thing we forget is our lives do depend on it.We are in a war with an enemey who wont forget. Look at middle east a how far back memory goes there. Its same thing here. We dont have their thinking that if they cant defeat us now they will 2 centuries from now.

    Listening to newsroom few mins ago had heard them saying need to make friends with taliban.I agree with that Charlie Wilson did same thing against Russians.

    What i dont understand is this?
    Why wasn't that the first thing we did?
    Why wait so long?
    Why beef up our troops when this won last time an we hardly had any troops over that time.

    Seems to me both these wars are being fought for one reason an one reason only, oil an money.Big business is making hand over fist in money on these wars at tax payers expneses.

    Logic flies in your face on any this.Really does.
    My oberservation....
    Your silent observer until now.
    Rosie

    September 22, 2009 at 12:26 pm |
  104. jose vasquez

    there is alot of talk and opinions of how much blood has been shed in the war with afghanistan lest we forget the blood that was shed by the thousands of innocent victims of 911 at the hands of the murderers if we run now and not finish what we started then we will never be taken seriously and our enemies will say oh thats ok lets kill americans they wont stick it out in any war thats a bad precedent to set we must stay in afghanistan till we find the most evil murderer thats still free osama bin laden once we get him dead or alive then will justice be served and we can start to leave

    September 22, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  105. Carlo Iaboni

    "you teach people how to treat you" (attributed to Elanor Rosevelt).
    The US taught Bin Ladin (and Saddam Hussen, Kim Jong-il, Ahmadinejad, ...) how to treat the US.
    If the US pulls out of Afghanistan, the US will be teaching thousands more Bin Ladin wannabes how to treat the US in the future.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:35 pm |
  106. Alexander Mackenzie

    Mr. President, I am disturbed by the similarities between today in Afghanistan and what I saw in Viet-Nam. I know it is fashionable to sy there is no lessons to be learned from one that can be applied to the other, but, I beg to differ. I am going to list my thoughts below.
    1. Upon arrival, while on a screened bus, looking out at the new country, I saw so many military age young men in civilian clothes standing around, I wondered why my national guard unit was actually called up.

    2. The haven of North Viet-Nam is now Pakistan.

    3. The mountains are the jungle.

    4. The civilians have no understanding of why they should fight, and we cannot give it to them. Their goal is survival alone. Eight years of holding actions was/is no longer in the our national interest .

    5. When the previous administration removed our resources to concentrate on Saddam's lil sandbox, of which he only could fly over 1/3 of it at the time, we lost the needed momentum for a "victory" as most would see it in Afghanistan in my view.

    Not learning from the past is to repeat it. If we cannot go and cut off the head off
    the snake, chopping at its rattles has already been demonstrated to not succeed.

    September 22, 2009 at 12:55 pm |
  107. Jose Benavides

    O K Tony, here goes maybe you will get this message and then again you will not, the War in Afghanistan is a lost cause, the only thing these people want is more American blood they do not now or ever care about America, our generals do not have what it takes to disagree with our president, just like Viet Nam the commanding general would ask for more troops until the amount reached over 1 million plus and we lost 59000 men and we lost that war the same will happen here we will loose men and women because their own country-men will not lift a hand ,again, just like Nam. What is wrong with this picture.
    thank you,
    jose benavides

    September 22, 2009 at 1:04 pm |
  108. Lakeitha Robinson

    I do believe that it is time for the United States to withdraw Afghanistan. If we cannot afford this war then we need to get out of it. We have lost so many soldiers in this and more bllo is going to be shed if we dont make a decision fast.This administration has a tough decision to make concerning Afghanistan, it has been mismanaged for 8 years and now this President is left holding the bag… Tough times ahead if no progress is made in this region! I think President Obama will make the right decision.

    September 22, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  109. Patrick

    America has down much better than Russia! I am shocked to see Afghan terrorist caught in the USA in the middle of this debate! We need to fight this war to the very end. It could also mean the end of our Union, if we cave in! The one message they need to hear very clear is no place on earth is safe if you wish harm to the USA! They need to see a scale in their minds! One side needs to show education and progress the other needs to show bombed out buildings that were thought to house the leaders of the groups that meant harm to the USA. They need to make a choice based on that. We need to stand strong and make sure we deliver them a better life if they help us defeat our enemies’! They need to know we have mercy for those that have a change of heart (we also need to stop being so materialistic which is one of Bin Ladens biggest complaints about us)! The Russians knew better than to invade Pakistan! They knew the USA would help Pakistan! Pakistan needs to know we wish them no harm, but will not allow them to be a safe harbor for those that wish us harm! We should have never gone into Afghanistan, but we did! Pulling out will be an even bigger mistake! Clinton had the right idea by sending missiles to attack where the leaders were thought to be hiding! They need to know if they hide them they will not get by with it! It is simple the Afghan and Tribal areas of Pakistan need to see a scale in their mind one side needs to show progress and prosperity the other needs to show destruction! We the USA have the power to do both! What we do needs to be their decision! We must not look like we did during the Bush years as a big bad bully with power coming to take over! They have to make up their minds as to what they want! I will never support any form of conquest (I am partly Native American and see that as one of the biggest evils in history)! I do support defense of the USA!

    September 22, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  110. Michelle

    You know what Rich, David, Lars, George, etc? Frankly I'm tired of trying to show so many uninformed Americans where Afghanistan even is on the map, let alone try to explain the complexities of foreign policy and defense strategies to them. We'll just have to wait for them to get their next big wake up call – and it will happen, just like this terrorist cell in NY just revealed – when the next attack happens in the US and all of a sudden it's their friends and family members who are caught in it. I've done my share of trying to educate and persuade, but it's hopeless under such a weak President and so many appeasers and pacifists. And just plain uninformed citizens.

    September 22, 2009 at 9:02 pm |
  111. JC

    My son will be leaving this week to go to Iraq, although we have been pulling out of Iraq for months now. My guess is that he will end up in Afghanistan before his tour is up, regardless of Obama's decision on troop numbers. I just hope that while my son is there, SOMEONE takes into consideration the support he will need in order to come home safely. Whether this war is worth it or not, winnable or not, cost effective or not, we need to remember we do have troops there and they deserve nothing less than our support and anything they need to do their jobs!

    September 23, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  112. jim redmon

    Rick, we helped the Afghan's to defeat the Russian's, and then left then to be taken over by the Taliban 20+ years ago, we have gone back and told then if they help us we will protect them from the Taliban, if we leave now and let the Taliban, or other extremest come back and kill the people who have helped us, to include women and girls we have schooled, what do you think we will have in another 20+ years.

    September 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  113. tc

    maybe civilians should start to ask the troops what we wanna do about this instead of making decisions for us with an ignorant mindset to the whole story instead of listening to the voices of experience....

    September 23, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  114. Ryan

    People, we are told it will take time, and when it does, we complain. We are told that causalities will increase, the more troops we deploy, and they do. There are no surprises here. This debate is pointless.

    We are there, because failed states don't work. They don't work whether they have oil we could theoretically exploit, or no resources at all. They don't work in Africa, the ME, or in Central Asia.

    We haven't even begun to prosecute this war until we deployed the Marines to Helmand, to safeguard elections, and shutdown a major reinforcement line from Pakistan. The enemy will adapt, and we will respond, but eventually, we will find ourselves on a footing, where we will once again dictate the fight. And when we do, the 15-20 fighters they lose, for every ISAF casualty, will look favorable to them.

    September 23, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  115. Cesar Carranza

    I just find very irresponsible and dumb to hear people saying that the war should continue because of the the dead soldiers who gave their lives in Afghanistan? yeah by all means please let more soldiers die!!!!!

    September 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  116. LinzeKahmil

    Yes, I believe that is time for the United States to withdrawl from the war. The war is hurting Americans in many ways. It is causing an emotional toll on soliders that come back, it is effecting the families that have to deal with the death of a family memeber and it most defintely affecting American pockets. I think Congress needs to take a look thirty years back on the soliders that came back from Vetanam and remeber how those soilders came back and think twice on not repeating history in this case. We are paying for a unnecessary war, which is a term is frequently used when talking about the war. I honestly dont believe that they can give us five good reason for why we are over in Afganhastan. Bush just wanted to seem like he had to guts and power so he put us in a war to "find weapons of mass destruction". FYI for Mr. Dubya, there werent any weapons of mass destruction to start with. We went over there to show that we had to people and the money to go over there with and now it is becoming pointless. Congress, the people who declare war need to have a good old filabuster, clocture and some overnights in the House to decide quickly on getting us out of Afganhanstand.

    September 23, 2009 at 6:41 pm |
  117. Marco from California

    The Middle East- is and will always be- because of it's history and religious beliefs a barbaric and unwilling region to ever accept any type of change , and will never except what they call western ways. The clannish nature goes back for thousands of years and is taught to each new generation and it will continue for another thousand years, except this planet is not going to last that long if we continue to allow this region to be the catalyst for chaos. There is only one solutions to all of the trouble in this vast region that will stabilize the world. And that is you have to neutralize this region once and for all. This will allow those countries who understand the urgency that we now face on this planet who are trying to stabilize the many environmental problems facing the world to focus on those needs without worrying about these Middle East global conflict. It's about saving those who want to live, and not about tolerating those with an ancient barbaric belief that is self serving and in the end is about destroying one another.

    September 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  118. michael

    Ya, Tony, let's pull allk of our troops out of Afghanistan and let the Taliban take over! I'm sure they won't let Al Queda build more terrorist camps! I'm sure Al Queda will appreciate having a place with which to eventually launch a takeover of Pakistan, thereby giving them the nukes to obliterate Israel and a bunch of U.S. cities! Why don't you ask the people who are fighting the fight – 95% of them will tell you we need to finish the job. My wife is a surgical tech over there right now and she told me a story that plainly illustrates just how evil the Taliban can be: she and some doctors recently operated on a 4 year old boy with shrapnel. His father is a politician, and the Taliban wanted to take him out, so one of them gave the little boy a large bowl of fruit as a gift for his father. When he brought it into the house, the bowl exploded, killing 2 other children nearby and injuring his father. And the little boy who thought he was doing a good thing? He'll never see again because he lost one eye completely and use of the other one in the blast. Ya, let's leave and let the Taliban take over – good move!

    September 24, 2009 at 10:59 am |
  119. Trobinson

    I think we need to jus do a steady withdrawl. You dont want to take them all out at the same time because something might start, and we wont be able to do anything about it because we sent all our troops home. But if you leave the troops, they will just be there doing nothing like they have been doin for the last three years. We havnt found no weapons of mass destruction so why are we still here?? Bring them home already!!!

    September 28, 2009 at 12:06 am |
  120. Bob, Mi

    For thousands of years, all over the world, tribal cheiftans have ruled their small kingdoms. Sooner or later they must give up to a central unifying government or external force that defeats them or unifies them. We are in Affganistan to make sure terroist don't thrive in that area. It's a wonderful thing to have a President that actualy thinks about what the best action we should take, instead of just more bombs and american lives lost. Eventualy The Affgan People will have to decide on this themselves. It appears that all we can do is make it worth their while. President Obama is an itellegent thoughtful man with good people to listen to. I trust him to at least try to resolve this. But you all in the 24 hour news just keep yelling ... fight , fight , fight..like it's your job. News celebs and garbage or News. Pick one, tell the public if it's oppinion or news... hopefully more news, checked in fact and not just thrown on the air. Cable news is using and becoming more like the internet where you can't bleive anything you hear because most of it is trash. Please try harder.

    September 28, 2009 at 11:33 am |
  121. sharon lindsay

    In defense of credit card company's tracking card use, I am a 72 year old female (they know that) who uses my VISA card at Walmart, gas stations and restaurants in Illinois ONLY. When the card company noticed that there were significant charges at a home supply and electronics companies in Florida, the suspected fraud and called me. That was a way they discovered my card had been compromised (i.e. the number was stolen) and they notified me and possibly saved me a lot of money. There is a positive side to their tracking activity.

    September 28, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  122. Jannise Mora

    The American public has forgotten why we attacked Afghanistan. This loss of direction reminds me of Vietnam. Let's learn from our mistakes and reevaluate our mission in Afghanistan. Who are we supporting anymore in Afghanistan? It is apparent from the resent elections that the ruling party is guilty of election fraud. How can we justify spilling more UN Forces blood (which includes Americans) to support a government not representative of Afghanistan's peoples. Multiple "wrongs" do not make a "right." We must stop sacrificing our people, their people for ideology outside of our control or borders. If Afghanistan's government doesn't have the support of the majority of the people, it deserves to fail. Until the Afghanistan people support a government dedicated to the safe keeping of its citizens, chaos will rule.

    September 29, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  123. Donald R. Krause

    We need to be committed to end terrorisim. Whatever it takes! It would be wrong not to send sufficient troops. If we don't it will certainly come back to haunt us!

    September 29, 2009 at 11:59 am |
  124. MR.AL

    Is more man power the answer? Havent we given enough? The war in the middle east has been going on for thousands of years!! Should we send more of our young men to fight a war in the middle east were people don't want us. Should America spend more money on the war when we can't even solve the health care problem and the problems of the poor in this country? Why should we stay?

    September 30, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  125. Keith Colovos

    Someone needs to tell the generals and idiots on the hill, that you can not run an effective combat force, when you tie up there support and attachments with stupid rules of engagement. If the hand puppets on capital hill want to win the hearts and minds of the afghan people, they should start hiring a bunch of police officers who want to do that type of work, ie, black water, triple canopy, and many others. Cause as you see now they do not play by the rule congress sets forth.
    If you want a military force over there, then let the ground ponders, and all there assets do what they are trained to do.
    When we first went into Afghanistan, we went full force, and we were feared by the enemy. Now we have laid back in the department of show of force, due to winning the hearts and minds of the afghan people. It use to be in 2001, if they look like a treat, take them down, now they have to shoot at you before you can return fire. Wow really.

    October 5, 2009 at 2:28 pm |