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August 4th, 2008
05:47 PM ET

What should be done to save Afghanistan?

ALT TEXT
Afghan farmers say that they depend on the cash they earn from poppy, which provides ten times what they could earn from growing legal crops. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Afghanistan is in misery." That's the assessment of retired four-star Army General Barry McCaffrey. He just spent a week visiting NATO Headquarters and Afghanistan... and reports back on a truly dismal state of affairs.

Almost 70% of Afghanistan's people have never known peace. The life expectancy is only 44 years and the country has the second highest maternal mortality rate in the world: 1 in 6 pregnant Afghan women dies for every birth.

Terrorist attacks and insurgent violence are on the rise, with more casualties now in Afghanistan than Iraq. The government is mostly dysfunctional and corrupt. Unemployment is at 40% and rising. Although an overwhelming majority of the Afghan people rejects the Taliban, they have little faith in the government to provide basic services and security.

General McCaffrey insists we can not win this war solely with military might. He stresses the need for a larger Afghan army and police force in addition to more U.S. troops. He believes we also need to help fix the Afghan agricultural system, and that the international community must demand the end of the drug crops.

Here's the key: McCaffrey calls Afghanistan a "narco-state”. The Taliban, Al Qaeda and war lords are mostly funded by an estimated $800 million a year coming from the $4 billion opium and cannabis industry. These crops are up sharply in recent years – with the industry employing more than 3 million workers, addicting hundreds of thousands of Afghans and providing the money necessary to corrupt the government and the justice system.

Here’s my question to you: What should be done to save Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Alexander writes:
Afghanistan supported 9/11 and shielded the criminal Osama. That is why we invaded. They have been punished enough. We should just leave. The next time some nation contemplates terrorism, they may be deterred by the misery that Afghanistan brought upon itself. Mission accomplished.

Nick writes:
Instead of sending soldiers to fight the insurgency, we need to pull U.S. troops out and let our humanitarian organizations have the exact same budget the military has had. That should get Afghanistan back on its feet.

Ryan writes:
We should do nothing to "save" Afghanistan. America has been too busy the last 50 years trying to save the world, and it has brought us more enemies than ever before. Bring the troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq and everywhere else they may be in the Middle East, then thousands of American lives and billions of dollars of American treasure will be saved.

Rasmus from Denmark writes:
The foremost priority should be to disable the heroin industry. It finances terrorism, a lot of it being shipped to the U.S. and corrupting much of the population. Also, the goodwill of the people is very important for victory. Without support from the people, victory is impossible. So there must be steps taken to change the negative view of the western world.

Susan writes:
We should pull out of that region completely. There will never be peace there unless those who live there are willing to stand up to the thugs. We need to clean up our own backyard here.

Larry from Florida writes:
It may be too late, Jack. Afghanistan is where we needed to be instead of Iraq. It was a mess there to start with but it's way past a mess now. We have to go there and we have to do it with great force. One problem. We have no great force any more.

Henk writes:
Jack, There is only one hope for Afghanistan: We need to invade Iran.


Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Ed Reed

    Afghanistan? What should be done to save the United States of America?

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    August 4, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  2. circy in New Mexico

    To save Afghanistan, we need to get out of there, ASAP. Do we really believe all the people fighting us there and in Iraq are terrorists? Many of them are patriots, who want us out, and will fight us to the death to remove us. No one on this planet wants foreign troops on their soil. Why do we refuse to understand this? The Russians spent ten years in Afghanistan and were eventually forced to realize that they coundn't conquer or control the people there. What makes us think we can?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  3. Ron- San Diego

    Hi Jack:

    A US and allied Military occupation of that country. It is the only way to keep a guard on terrorist activity.

    Ron San Diego

    August 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  4. A Kraft Naples, FL

    not a damn thing it is hopeless....get out now

    August 4, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  5. Bruce in OR

    Finish the job we started, then handed off, all those years ago. Boy, what a goat roping these last several years have been since taking our eye off the ball. Now we have to turn around, gear up and go again!!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  6. Paula from Georgia

    Let's see the refugees still in Pakistan, are still fighting the people, they consider. Who invited the Russians into Afghanistan in the 70s'. Not ebveryone came home after we went in. Many of the families that didn't leave; have diaappeared. The Afgans' while uunder the Taliban, taught themselves,the first thing about freedom. I can choose, who,where,how,and what I will allow any government to tell or dictate to me. GUESS- YES or NO. First step to a free country. The only they see is agroup of people that didn't help fight blood and bone against the Russians. Who apparently have nbeen give the gold. The old class system is back. They are getting the short end of the stick. Jack, I don't know how to stop nightmares for anyone there. We can't stop the ones in our neighborhood and crime.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  7. Mark, Oklahoma City

    How about letting those backward savages who don't want us there, save themselves!

    Mark
    OKC

    August 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  8. Willow, Sheldon Iowa

    As the number of troops leaves Iraq, a certain percentage of troops from here should do a rotation in Afghanistan. The number of troops in a war zone would decrease, go back to a one year, or even a 9 month tour, work to take care of our soldiers that are coming back who are exhausted after being in a war zone, some of them three times. Gradual increase in Afghanistan, or even a "surge" if you must, get Afghanistan taken care of, and get everybody the heck home. I would even accept decreasing our troop strength over the entire globe. Build up our military at home, training and equipping them.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  9. J.D.

    I haven't a clue, but it would be nice if U.S. taxpayers weren't on the hook for whatever happens. American roads and bridges are nice, as are healthcare, education, jobs, the environment and energy. Can I vote to let Afghanistan figure it out for themselves?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  10. Pablo in Arlington Texas

    Save? From whom, Jack? Al Qaeda, the Talibaqn, the Warlords, the Opium Gangsters? All of the Above?
    The lesson of history is never get involved in a land war in Asia. Alexander could not master the Afghans, nor the Moghul Empire, nor the British Empire, nor the Soviets.
    If we can pick off Bin Laden, Hallelujah! After that, turn mother's picture to the wall, load up the troops and scoot for home.

    Pablo in Arlington Texas

    August 4, 2008 at 2:09 pm |
  11. Chris, Southern California

    A surge! But in all seriousness, it will take more help from whatever allies we have left and some religious pressure from leaders the afghan people can look up to to push the Taliban and al-Queda forces back into Pakistan where the Pakistani government will finally have to address their problem in the north.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  12. Erico USNR

    A quick solution to the Afghanistan problem would be a well coordinated, surgical nuclear air strike (small size nuk) over Taliban strongholds. Once the remaining Taliban see their fried counterparts they will have no choice but to surrender. I miss my FA-18 !!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  13. Jim in BC

    From what?

    Is this a religious question, Jack?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:12 pm |
  14. David, Orlando, FL

    Anyone but Bush and McSame knows the answer to this. Get all our people out of Iraq and send them to the real battleground of the war on terror Afghanistan.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:13 pm |
  15. Ron Mechanicsville, VA

    You can't save Pakistan! You can't save Iraq! It's in their culture and history to kill each other! Let them!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:14 pm |
  16. Roy Grimm

    I think we should let Afghanistan and the rest of the meatheads over there go at it with each other and then help whom ever comes out on top, unless its terrorists , if so then just nuke them and problem solved. Those people live to kill each other and won't be satisfied no matter what the U.S. does to try and solve their problems.

    Thanks

    Roy

    August 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  17. Jackie in Dallas

    Afghanistan is where our REAL main military effort should be. So instead of another "surge" in Iraq, those troups should be diverted to rooting out the al-Queda strongholds, and reducing the power of the warlords there.

    In addition, the government there is struggling with providing the basics to the people, and humanitarian efforts should probably be centered on that.

    But it needs to be a multi-national task force there...the US shouldn't be trying to play the part of savior or hero, there. The good reasons for fighting there are real, and there, at least, we have the political support of our allies.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  18. Emma, San Jose, CA

    What is the choice? It seems if we are going to stay there to fight, we should do it right. If more troops would make a difference, I am for it.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:19 pm |
  19. sarah, indiana

    maybe if the people of afghanistan cared about their country it would help, but it seems they are not interested in the good of their country. if they cared they would rise up against the warlords and poppy producers and make the country a productive addition to the world. as it stands now, it is only a matter of time until afghanistan ceases to exist as a country.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:20 pm |
  20. Jenna Wade

    What should be done to save Afghanistan?

    This is where the REAL war on terrorism is being fought.

    We should be pulling troops out of Iraq and putting them in Afghanistan.

    We should also be crossing into Pakistan to take care of business there – if Musharaff doesn't like it then he needs to take care of business there so we don't have to.

    No more free ride for Osama Bin Laden!

    Jenna Wade
    Roseville CA

    August 4, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  21. Allan Hanson Cameron Park Ca.

    I don't think anything. We have screwed up the county enough. First it was the Soviet and now it is the Taliban, who we supported only a few years ago. Talk about flip floping.
    Lets just go home and leave them alone.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:23 pm |
  22. Janet, Indianapolis

    We should listen to Obama – send more troops to shore up the force we already have there and start meaningful dialogues with world leaders to ensure that nationless groups like Al Qaeda have no where to rest.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:24 pm |
  23. Tom, The Heart of Democracy, Avon, Maine

    Impeach Bush and Cheney.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  24. Jason, Koloa, HI

    As long as the economy is based on opium and heroin production, then nothing will change in Afghanistan. If it isn't terrorists exploiting the people it would probably be pharmaceutical companies.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  25. Dan, Maryland

    Simple, burn the opium fields. Then everyone will be so high it'll be nothing but peace, love, and unity. It's a possibility right?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  26. Tina (Texas)

    Nothing. Russia tried and now we are almost bankrupt because of wanting to weed out the bad guys and guess who will win in the end? It won't be us. We will fail just like the Russians.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  27. Terry from North Carolina

    Jack
    Here we go again, America come to the rescue, save another country at the expense of our own citizens. How many more countries do we have to help ? Only to have these same countries turn around and spit in our face ?

    August 4, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  28. Jan Davis, Knoxville, TN

    It may not be savable. But perhaps if NATO and the United Nations send in a lot of troops to fight the Taliban, things might improve. Russia certainly couldn't tame Afghanistan and looks like we can't either. I feel sorry for the ordinary people there but at the same time don't want to see any more American lives lost. Our allies, if we have any left after the Bush Administration, should pitch in and help.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  29. 40+ In Suitland, MD

    Withdraw the troops and let them handle their own business while we tend to ours over here.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  30. Larry in Florida

    It may be to late Jack. Afghanistan is where we needed to be instead of Iraq. It was a mess there to start with but it's way past a mess now. We have to go there and we have to do it with great force. One problem. We have no great force anymore.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  31. Robert W. Brooks

    Jack,

    It's impossible to give you a simple answer to such a complex question. I've been in banking for 40 years and an economy is build on many factors, the least of which is education. You must have a skilled workforce backed up with good roads, distribution centers, financial centers and strong leadership. The entire intra-structure of the country's social and economic fundamentals need to be built from the ground up. That will take a lot of time and money.

    Robert
    Forest, VA

    August 4, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  32. mello doug, New Mexico

    If we can't provide safety and jobs and build a working economy based on other things than drugs then sure we are going no where. We need more troops there along with the buy-in of the international community for many aspects from troops to investing in businesses and infrastructure. But it is going to take time and money, and as it is, all of that is going to Iraq.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  33. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    I've always wonder who went on vacation and put us in charge of the world's problems and especially when we can't even take care of our own. These problems have been going on every since man started talking and walking and will continue until we destroy ourselves and have to start over again. Get out of there and bring our troops home for every foreign country around the globe and start taking care of our own business.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  34. Lesley, Lighthouse Point, FL

    I dont' know, Jack. Perhaps we should get together, smoke some Mary Jane and see if we come up with any good ideas!! If it isn't one country, it's another. I know....let's figure out how to fix our own country first!

    August 4, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  35. David,San Bernardino,CA.

    Can't be done. Russia was in a war there for ten years and lost. We have been there for 6 years and have lost. As long as Afghanistan is run by warlords and the drug trade nothing will ever change.

    August 4, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  36. Kim, Dodge City, Kansas

    Send lawyers, guns and money. That's the American way to freedom and prosperity, isn't it?

    August 4, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  37. Philip in Toronto

    Give me a Billion Dollars to go over there and sort it all out, that way your billion dollars will be gone, the problems will be re-named, and you will have been seen to do something.......there, problem solved!

    August 4, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  38. Tom Massachusetts

    The Mexican Government is currupt because the drug cartels run that country. It's tragic Afghanistan won't change either. I'm not sure either country can be saved. In these "narco-states" if you complain about corrupt officials you either get blown up or shot. When you put this question to 3 million people working the Afghanistan illegal drug trade the answer is obvious, they would rather become addicts than get shot or tortured.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  39. Jenny Rome Ga

    Jack,
    Afghanistan? Isn't that where Bin Laden is and where we were supposed to be all these years.?

    August 4, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  40. dennis hunter

    put the troops in place which should have been done seven years a go before we started a war for oil. we should rebuild their arm forces and police force to keep the peace. then we show them how to rebuild their econmy so the drug industry would not be the first choice and I am sure not the first choice of the marority of the people of the country.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  41. Joe, Clinton Ma.

    Let's ask President Bush.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  42. Forrest in Can Do, ND

    Tincture of time Jack. The entire world community needs to be diligent, persistant and needs to obligate themselves to a long-term commitment in Afghanistan. The Afghan people have been living so long in the age of Cro-Magnons and Neanderthals, it's going to take decades to solve their problems. Until education, employment, healthcare and justice for women takes a strong foothold in that impoverished nation, Afghanistan will remain a “narco-state” run by the Taliban, Al Qaeda and the war lords.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  43. Dave in Saint Louis

    Make it a state!

    August 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  44. Betty - AL

    We're too busy saving Bush's daddy from Bin Laden in IRAQ to do anything about other countries. Our own country is about to become third world, and everyone wants war war war war war - this has got to stop.

    How can we save the United States of America? Only when we are a healthy, whole country can we do anything for others.

    Thanks

    August 4, 2008 at 3:06 pm |
  45. Jan Patoka Illinois

    Should be left to the United Nations to decide, not us, if its that bad the world should be involved, not just the U.S.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  46. kenneth sibbett

    Ask the Russian"s Jack, they have enough experiance to keep us bogged down quiet awile.

    Kenneth Chadbourn N.C.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  47. Karl in CA

    Corrupt government and justice system? Sounds familiar. Maybe after we clean up our own corrupt government and justice system we can use the same tactics to fix theirs. Until then, we need to leave Iraq and concentrate on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Flood those hills where Bin Laden and the rest are hiding because someone knows where they are and take them out and leave. As for drugs? Leave a trail of scorched earth and let the international community work with them to grow food instead of pot and poppies. We need to get our own country back in order.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  48. William in Sanford,NC

    Jack, I would like for you to please show your thousands of loyal followers where in the US Constitution that the American taxpayer is obligated to keep up the rest of the world.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  49. Chicago Bob from Illinois

    The next president should move our forces out of the black hole in Iraq and move some of them to Afganistan where they will be much more effective in the war on terror.

    We have wasted Trillions in Iraq, it will only take a few Billions to fix Afganistan and Nato is on board with this fix and will contribute.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  50. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,
    The Supply and demand of drugs makes this mission impossabe for one nation to win the war. We have to reduce world demand for the coke and pot and it will dry up funding for the terrorists...

    C.I., New York

    August 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  51. Derek

    Take out troops from Iraq and put them in the real war which should have been fought and paid more attention to all these years. I guess President Bush forgot the memo.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  52. Linda, Ruther Glen, Va

    Jack, we need to send George W Bush over there to be president, let him fix it. He'll be needing something to do in January.

    August 4, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  53. Annie, Atlanta

    State run poppy and cannabis farms for medicinal purposes, taking the profits out of the hands of terrorists and wiping out their buying power. Then they can take care of themselves. Addiction, on the other hand, well there isn't a civilization that's figured that one out yet.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  54. Derick, Greenlawn NY

    Develop infrastructure and lay the groundwork for a genuine economy. Promise we're going to napalm every poppy field in the country in 5 years, then make good on that promise. Then, even if we have to donate food and basic supplies, at least we know the worst Al Qaeda could attack us with is sandwiches and toothpaste.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  55. Jason - Chandler, Arizona

    Jack

    Nothing more by Americans! We need to save America first and foremost. Bush put all of his efforts into 2 baskets (Iraq and Afghanistan)... The middle east tension will never fade, no matter how many democratic countries our government tries to install and reshape. We need to leave the hornets nest alone before someone pushes back.. America should be ANY presidents focus first and foremost. Lets rebuild America before we are truly a 3rd world nation!!

    August 4, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  56. Joann Alexander

    Jack,

    Afghanistan is a beautiful place, and I am so thankful that America reaches across the waters to help others in desperate need. But we need to take care of America and get it back on top in every area that currently is down. Charity starts at home and then spreads abroad……or something like that

    joann
    Smyrna GA

    August 4, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  57. onyeka-california

    o jack i think i have one.The United states should provide them with better equiptments to improve thier poppy production.This will fercilitiate the expot of better Brian-damaging-easily-addictive opium poppies to the west , since the Unitted States have not lived up to thier economic promises to the Afghan people.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  58. Michelle, Washington DC

    We've revitalized countries before, like Germany and Japan. After that, it seems like we are fine with creating a war and then walking out tail between our legs. Now I don't believe we had any business whatsoever going into Iraq, but I do think it is vital to leave the country with a stable infrastructure (which it finally seems we have). What we've failed to do over the past 30 years is to cultivate societies in countries we have been fighting in that are not as vulnerable to the call of extremism.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  59. Donna in ID

    In any of these countries we should be helping them drill water wells and stock ponds and help with machinery and teach the farming and ranching of what they can eat and trade and sell. But before that there is a need to spray and kill off the poppy crops.
    Help them start business like being electricians and plumbers and builders.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  60. donna myrtle beach, SC

    How about out of Iraq, where we never should have been and more force in Afganistan where we have a right to be. Maybe if we went after our enemies instead of the oil companies interest we would be better off, and so would Afganistan.
    Of course there is no oil in Afganistan so as long as the Bush regime reigns we can forget about that.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:11 pm |
  61. Marty CT

    How about concentrating on our own back yard for a change...I'd bet those folks in the midwest and ward 9 would be rather happy to get some of this attention and help for a change....

    August 4, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  62. seville jonesville

    Why are we the police for the world sometime its best to leave other country alone and let them handle their own situations.Those country has ben fighting against each other since the beginning of time and will not stop just because we are there.Neither side want us there.so they act dumb and get our guys killed while theirs live on to keep the war going..We are totally not welcome there.So elect Obama and bring our troops home from these no win wars Mainly Irag. To many unnecessary lives has been taken.We are in a no win situation bring them home

    August 4, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  63. Bill in St. Cloud, FL

    Kinda sounds like what we're doing in Iraq. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. How many billions will this cost the taxpayer?

    August 4, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  64. V, Chester Virginia

    Simple. Invest in roads, education, anti-terrorism operations. Approach Pakistan, train the Afghan military to be able to come to terms and shake off the lingering Taliban. Convince NATO forces to kick it into high gear and their lazy asses out there to help our soldiers! It's simple really, the next President should focus on Afghanistan like Bush didn't focus on Katrina.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  65. Mike Nunn - Hot Springs, Ar.

    We should study history and realize that nothing can be done to save Afganistan. We should simply save ourselves.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  66. Joel O'Connell From Tempe, Arizona

    Hillary will pull in the guts of the Democrat Party...the blue collar workers. She would make a substantial contribution to the tickets.
    Obama can keep talking and at least there will be a Hillary to do the gunt work that has to be done for change.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:19 pm |
  67. Bill from Alabama

    Throw them Obama! He can talk his way out of anything!

    August 4, 2008 at 4:20 pm |
  68. Sandra fromTexas

    I am not worried about Afghanistan. It's past time someone started worring about the United States of America. This sounds like a United Nations problem.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  69. Joel O'Connell From Tempe, Arizona

    What should be done to save Afghanistan? Forget...It is a losing cause and we don't more money being poured in to another quagmire.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:21 pm |
  70. Will, Maryland

    Didn't you know McCain has already answered this question. Treat Afghanistan just like Iraq. Apply the same exact strategy. Both countries are in the Middle East so it has to work.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  71. Nick - Cary, North Carolina

    Drill for oil.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:22 pm |
  72. Terri-Ann, Dallas, TX

    The Afghan government needs to step up to the plate with all hands on deck and help find Bin Laden and his friends! In addition – end the stupid war in Iraq. Move some brigades over to Afghanistan and continue to work together with the UN forces to fight the war on terror.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:23 pm |
  73. Steve

    For one Jack, in the case of Afghanistan, you can't fight fire with fire. Sending troops and arms over there to make them stop fighting is like buying a round of beers for people at an AA meeting to help celebrate them for quitting drinking. Maybe we should bomb their poppy fields with seeds like wheat or soybeans, This will overpower the poppies and give them something to eat at the same time.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  74. Jan

    Nothing. What is that country good for? The fact that their only economic resource is Poppies says it all. I don't think they have much between the ears over there ! I don't want one cent of my tax dollars spent on drug dealers. Take the terrorists out and get out of there.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  75. Bill from Alabama

    Seriously,we should have another surge,but not before doing our homework,and blasting everyone involved in the sheltering of these terrorists. We should talk a little stronger to the leader of Pakistan,first,and give them fair notice of our intent to level the border towns sheltering terrorists.....and tell them:..."to get their people the heck out of the way,or else." We will not allow safe harbor for these terrorist,to occur anywhere without consequences.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:25 pm |
  76. Carol Largo, Fl

    Jack, First we go jerk all the poppy plants out of the ground, no if's, and's or but's, then we send in a platoon of John Deere tractors, (are they made in America anymore) and teach them how to grow vegetables or maybe we can teach them how to answer phones like they do in India and if they can learn to speak English better than the Indians, they are all set. What a way to fight a war.......

    August 4, 2008 at 4:26 pm |
  77. Carl in South Carolina

    We soud have stayed out of there. The Russians tried for ten years to win a war there, and it almost ruined them. Anyway since the US has been there their drug crops has risen to a all time high. At least we have accomplished something.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  78. Bob

    Get the troops out of Iraq and put them in Afghanistan.

    If we don't it will be necessary to resort to a draft in order to come up with the number of troops necessary to occupy Iraq and fight the war in Afghanistan. There isn't a politician in the U.S. who will resort to a draft. If he or she did it would be the end of their political career.

    The so called "surge" should have been in Afghanistan to begin with.

    Bob
    Louisville, Ky

    August 4, 2008 at 4:27 pm |
  79. Jerry Ibrone - Atlanta

    Wage war into the NorthWest Pakistani Territories.

    These are the "cultures" protecting Bin Laden and other terrorists, they are beyond the rational control of any government and "if you ain't with us, you're against us" as Bush once said.

    Go get 'em. With everything we've got. The problem in Afghanistan would be "solved" in a month.

    Then we can focus all our national resources for a decade on dealing with the "Northwest Pakistani Territories" problem.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:28 pm |
  80. David Richards

    Withdraw combat troops from Iraq and ship them to Afghanistan.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:29 pm |
  81. Janice in Plainview, TX

    Bribe the Afgans to grow corn instead of poppies. That would solve a world of problems. Pardon the pun.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:31 pm |
  82. Nicole A from Florida

    Jack ,

    Charity begins at home. I don't particularly care about Afghanistan when over 100,000 jobs have left this country in 7 months. People are loosing there homes. The only thing I wish for Afghanistan is that our troops are removed .

    I cringe at the fact that people have used the country to promote and secure there selfish gains and let us all go to hell. Remember the Katrina victims.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:33 pm |
  83. dan

    america first. lets have our own fair election and go from there.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  84. Kevin MA

    Whatever is done it is time some one else does the doing. America has got itself involved evreytime a country is in need and we become the bad guys for doing so. There is enough for us to do at home for a time and that should be Americas priority. We have gone everywhere for everyone and the neglect here at home is showing bigtime.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:55 pm |
  85. Alan - Buxton, Maine

    Why do we have to bankrupt this country to interfere in so many others? We need to get out of Iraq, Afghanistan and any other place in the world where we don't belong. The UN is the agency that is supposed to be monitoring the world not the US.

    August 4, 2008 at 4:57 pm |
  86. Lenny, NY

    The United States is not the world's policeman, benefactor or sugar daddy!!! But, since we made the mess (sort of) we need to help clean it up. However, I think the United Nations or NATO should have a central role. If the UN had real power to make the necessary changes in countries like Afghanistan, that would be the best way to go...unfortunately, it does not.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  87. Ken

    Jack, I get paid and pay MY BILLS. Then buy food and provide for my family. Now after all of that is done, if there is any left and my neighbor is in need of help, then we help them. Moral of the story. MAKE THE NATION LIKE THE FAMILY. Take care of home first.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:02 pm |
  88. Darren S.

    Seeing as how heroin exports reman unchanged and Taliban terrorism is resurgent, maybe it's time we exit stage left and call this entire Middle Eastern democracy tour a bust.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:03 pm |
  89. Sandi AZ

    Its going to take a President who is willing to work with all other countries surrounding all borders and the United Nations to work with them. The United States cannot fight this alone. It must be a large enough surge to remove the Taliban, Al Qaeda, Bin Laden once and for all. The only person I can forsee doing this without a shot being fired and good diplomacy is Obama. McCain and Clinton would go in and obliterate the whole country.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  90. Brian Los Angeles Ca.

    I say help, but knowing the angry criticizing public, any problem that occurs in or out of Afghanistan around the time of help, will simply be blamed on the helper; but as they say were not suppose to help for the good publicity but for the good act itselfm, so why not.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  91. stephanie/houston

    I would like this country to be worried about the United States. We cannot afford to worry about Another country's problem when we are trillions of dollars in debt ! What is the United Nations for, rent free all inclusive glorified tourism.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  92. Yolanda of NJ

    Send Bush, McCain and Cheney over there to fight.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  93. Yolanda of NJ

    Oh...I forgot to include Karl Rove....send him too

    August 4, 2008 at 5:09 pm |
  94. Kerry Diehl

    It all boils down to dollars and "sense"! Money is always at the root of all evil.

    .... Drug crops are big dollars and it makes "sense" to reap these money rewards for the Taliban and/or Al Queda in financing their efforts or just making individuals rich.

    Let's take away these sought after crops by subsidizing the farmers with equal or more monies for other crops instead of popies.

    Investing in their agricultural economy in this way may end up cheaper than bullets, bombs and missles in the long run....not to mention lives saved.

    kerry diehl
    grosse ile, mi

    August 4, 2008 at 5:10 pm |
  95. Abdiel Lewis from Glendale, California

    Not one thing. We, America, need to stop putting our noses into other countries issues. We don't even have a stable economy, and we want to meddle with Afghanistan? I say, lets work on America first, before we play hero.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  96. Kyle- DuPont, WA

    I have spent a significant amount of time in Afghanistan and I have come to the conclusion that the only thing that can save that country is education, and that is precisely what the Taliban is trying to prevent. The entire country outside of Kabul and perhaps Herat is ruled by two things; ignorance and testosterone.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:11 pm |
  97. Trenton, Lone Jack MO

    Well one thing is for certain in my mind, we have to take care of the country. I say this for two main reasons,

    1) To keep a steady eye on any terrorist activity (cause I have a strong feeling that Mr. Bin Ladin is in the mountainous region of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border)

    2) Make up for our error that we made after the Soviets left the country in the late 80's. we armed them to take down our enemy, and didn’t arm them with tools to rebuild, that my friend was the mistake that caused 9/11 in my mind. Now sure, the terrorist who flew the plane may have been Saudis, yet the man who orchestrated it all was a Mujahedeen who saw firsthand the destruction our weapons and the war with the Soviets caused, then experienced reconstruction of a country we helped them destroy but had no hand in rebuilding. The schools that weren’t built because no money came from the US, yeah that resulted in the terrorists that we fight this day. Hmm…perhaps our country can learn something from history…cause it has a tendency to repeat itself.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:12 pm |
  98. M Gallo

    Send President Bush over there when he leaves office.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  99. james andrews

    Because he has no core beliefs. He is good at reading polls. I notice McCain is even in the Rasmussen and I am sure Obama's own polls show him losing the election already.

    James, Sacramento Calif.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:13 pm |
  100. Fish, MN

    Elect McBush, and by then it'll all be forgotten for hundred years because we'll still be in Iraq.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  101. Michael & Diane Phx AZ

    Gid rid of that Union Oil "lackey" whom Bush put in as President to begin with....With unemployment so high there, do what Bush suggested we do here with our unemployed....send 'em to the local community college to learn some kind of trade or skill that there will not be jobs for...just like the U.S.! Or better yet, bring 'em here and let them fight the other illegals for low paying jobs!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:15 pm |
  102. Jermoe, Choteau Montana

    Jack, It is interesting the Taliban had almost eliminated poppy production, when the US military and the CIA went into Afghanistan to chase the bad guys after 9-11, then Poppy production soared. Interesting where Big Oil and the CIA mix [don't forget the pipeline deal with the Taliban that fell through] poppies and heroin follow. Reminds me of how it was in Vietnam, just one old Vietnam veteran musing on events...

    August 4, 2008 at 5:17 pm |
  103. Richard

    Jack, Nothing!!! We don't live in Afghanistan. Let them figure it out on their own. I'm more interested in what we can do to save America not Afghanistan.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  104. GrammieJ

    Why should we stick our noses in Afganastan or Iraq? To me these are religious and cultural situations that we cannot begin to understand nor should we be interfering with in these nations. We have a multitude of problems in our own country. Let's build the USA again!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:19 pm |
  105. Ron

    Stop the poppy you stop the money.The drug is financing the Taliban, for the little the farmers make for growing it a replacement crop should not be out the question.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  106. Jasmine in Germany

    Senator Obama has had the right ideas about Afghanistan for many years. And I'm surprised that some of your readers don't seem to know why we (and many Allies) are in Afghanistan.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:20 pm |
  107. Christopher Kerr

    Perhaps while we are out policing the world, some well-meaning country could bring their military to the United States to liberate us from our own government.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  108. Scot - Fairfield, CA

    Dangnabit, Jack! Do we have to take care of everybody? Why can't they take care of themselves?

    August 4, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  109. Griff

    If Pakistan won't help. there is no answer... They have nothing but "Pretty Flowers"..

    August 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  110. hugh ny

    this country seems to have a knack for fixing other countries, as if no one knows anything about anything except the us. had they not gone in to fix afganistan during the carter administration,you wouldn't be in the predicament you are in now.why can't america face the fact that not everyone wants to be a carbon copy of america, that they have their own way of life, they like it, and they don't intend to change it. consider this, if they wanted your way of life would you have to invade them to force it on them. would they fight you to the death? even after you "freed" the iraqis from saddamm they still want you out,they never wanted you in. i'm sure the afgans feel the same way. both societies have been in existance infinitly longer than this one has. you can't even fix your own society, what makes you think anyone wants your crap in their country.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:24 pm |
  111. Ted - Florida

    Nothing can save Afghanistan at least in the short run. The country is chronically ungovernable. Local control by military chieftains is the standard way things work there. Involving Pakistan more than it is already would be like letting the fox into the hen house. Not a good idea.

    That said, leadership in the war against Al Qeada needs to be encouraged. That limited war can be won, but only if the United States works with, not against, tribal leaders. Something like the alliances being forged with the Sunni tribal leaders in Anbar Province in Iraq, needs to be done in Paktia and Helmand provinces (to name just two) in Afghanistan.

    Henry James in one of his essays written in the 1890s, refers to "pugnacious" Afghanistan. It is still is, and probably will remain pugnacious. We will just have to live with it.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  112. Mike P.

    Enough of us wanting to get our noses in every nation. I have an idea, save America! Why don't we ever want to help our own nation, but quick to go to some other nation and say: This is what's wrong with you and this is how we want and will fix you.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  113. George from Illiniois

    You can't argue the fact that the surge of troop levels in Iraq had set aside violence on a huge level to make way for the Iraqi people to take hold of their own country. If we expand troop levels in Afghanistan and come to the enemies doorstep, we can win. It worked in Basra, Sadr City and even fallujah. If it worked there, it can work on the opposite side of Iran....

    August 4, 2008 at 5:29 pm |
  114. M Hammond, Florida, USA

    What should we do about Afghanistan? I could NOT care less. But for starters, let's begin with not wasting a PENNY of our tax dollars in this mess any more. We got all these fancy satellites in orbit – Check on those where the training camps are, and then let fire rain from the sky on those camps. But NO more boots on the ground!!!!!!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:38 pm |
  115. george wilson

    Afghanistan must save itself. The US invasion hasn't helped. Killing is never a good idea.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  116. Gerry from Virginia

    Why do we think Americans have to "save" every country that doesn't live their lives the way we do. I say leave them alone and let the chips fall where they may. Their politicians are nothing but thieves who rob the citizens and its been that way for hundreds of years. When the citizens of Afganistan learn a better way of life, they'll get rid of their corrupt leaders. It may take a revolution but so be it. Until then, as long as they don't try to invade us (ala W) leave them alone.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  117. Rishi from NJ

    Its Afghanistan people! None of these statistics should surprise anyone. It's been the world's garbage can all these years. It's fine by me, if the United States intends to do some recycling, but the country will always be plagued with disturbing problems.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  118. Sandra

    Why should we United States of America save Afghanistan when our own country is at war with each other. Between the violence, politics,gas prices, illegal immigrants, how can we? If anyone should be helping them, they should be helping us!! My goodness, has the world gone crazy or did someone just wake up like Hilary Clinton?

    August 4, 2008 at 5:52 pm |
  119. Erika, California

    The world doesn’t care about saving Afghanistan. What you really meant to say was, “How do we prevent the Afghan people from translating their destitute way of life into destructive behavior that affects industrialized nations such as The United States?” If the Afghan people only attacked countries like Yemen or Ethiopia, we wouldn’t even know who they were, let alone want or try to save them.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  120. Bernie

    Maybe we can give the Dubai government Afghanistan. That way, there will be more private islands, indoor ski slopes, and huge shopping malls for all the tourists of the world to visit and enjoy.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:57 pm |
  121. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Sounds to me like we should kick a– and not take names, with the understanding that only a strong military power can make the people get in line. OR, we should pray for the people and the country, from about 8,000 mile away. I vote for the last plan.

    August 4, 2008 at 5:58 pm |
  122. CarrieinSterling,VA

    Anderson Cooper has done extensive reporting on this tough situation. We did try poppy eradication: NATO stopped it-because they didn't want to fight the taliban-when they started shooting at them for burning the poppy fieds. McCain is right we need a unified strategy for Afghanistan and we need to use the couter-insurgancy strategy and troop increase- that was successful in Iraq-since Patreus is headed their next-I have no doubt that that will be done–one more thing....pray!

    August 4, 2008 at 5:59 pm |
  123. Ben, Chicago IL

    We should worry about saving ourselves first. Charity begins at home.

    August 4, 2008 at 6:00 pm |
  124. Jon

    We should have supported rebuilding the country's infrastructure to begin with (schools, hospitals, water/power). We failed after they routed the Russians and we failed after routing the Taliban. We never seem to learn from out past mistakes.

    August 4, 2008 at 6:01 pm |
  125. Jeff

    I agree with General McCaffrey where he stresses "the need to help fix the Afghan agricultural system," which will help them grow more opium and cannabis, thus reducing their unemployment and generating a solid tax base which can then be funneled into coffers to fund entitlement programs for the Afghan people. Naturally, the United States government will have to decriminalize the import and possession of these drugs for the sake of stabilizing Afghanistan's economy; but the return to the American tax payers in the form of military savings in respect to the "war on drugs" would be exponential (and make coke and pot more affordable to the American people in our struggling economy.)

    August 4, 2008 at 6:01 pm |