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August 14th, 2009
04:00 PM ET

"A few years" in combat in Afghanistan?

 The U.S. will soon be entering the 9th year since the invasion of Afghanistan, but the war could be far from over.

The U.S. will soon be entering the 9th year since the invasion of Afghanistan, but the war could be far from over.

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. will soon be entering the 9th year since the invasion of Afghanistan, but the war could be far from over.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates says it will take "a few years" to defeat the Taliban and al Qaeda, and larger scale success will take even longer.

Gates describes how long U.S. troops will be in the country as a "mystery" – saying there are too many variables to predict.

Variables like the Taliban – which are in control of more and more of the country. This means insurgent attacks are up. Last month, 49 coalition troops were killed in bomb attacks, up from 8 during the same time last year.

Some think more troops are the answer: There are now 62,000 U.S. troops there – with another 6,000 on the way. Gates says the top commander in Afghanistan won't be asking for more troops right now, but some expect him to eventually ask for another 10,000 troops.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has spent more than $220 billion on Afghanistan since 2001 – and is now spending about $4 billion a month.

But that still may not be enough. A new Senate report paints a grim picture of the security situation in Afghanistan and makes clear that the U.S. needs to send more troops and civilians. Officials tell Senate investigators that progress in Afghanistan "if it comes" would be "incremental", talking about anywhere from 2 to 10 years.

SO HERE'S THE QUESTION: Should the United States spend a "few years" in combat in Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Eliseo from San Juan, Puerto Rico says:

There are reasons why Afghanistan may or may not be worth the money and lives projected to be spent and lost there. They have to do with gas and oil supply lines from Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. I want to know why we are not being told - is that in itself significant? Did some public relations guy in the Pentagon decide to keep it simple and mention only al Qaeda?

Judie from Texas says:
Same deal, different year. Once again, the American public is being told one thing when in fact something far different is taking place. No one will define a "few years"... perhaps worded differently, the same applied especially to Vietnam and Iraq.

M.L. from El Paso, Texas says:
Like ants, the Taliban will keep moving, charging and killing, and American lives will continue to be sacrificed. For what? I would like Pres. Obama to tell the American people very specifically what we are doing in Afghanistan. More importantly, do the people of Afghanistan want us there or do they want us out?

Jon from California says:
Everyone knows the 'war on terror' was going to be a long battle, but spending years in one Middle Eastern country then spending a 'few' more years in another is just plain ridiculous. Clearly tactics aren't working if it takes this long.

Ryan from Wisconsin says:
We got oursleves into this mess, and need to see it through. It would be irresponsible for the U.S. to just up and leave.

Megan from Fort Polk, Louisiana says:
My husband is in the Army and comes home from a 15 month tour in Iraq sometime next month. Perhaps we should ask my two kids if the wars in the Middle East should continue. There should be a point when the American people say enough is enough. As to when that point will come, who knows? A few years is a few too long if you ask me.


Filed under: Afghanistan
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Jack Kramer in California

    Yes, we need to see it though. If we leave, it will bring more terrorism.

    August 14, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  2. Tony from Torrington

    Let's see, I'll ask my Generals and get back to you.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  3. MIKE FROM CHICAGO

    What are we even there for? The media has kind of forgotten the "war on terror(mean people since the Obama election)" and how many of our brave young men and women who are dying in droves over there. Lets see how we can blame George Bush for this mess too.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  4. Jason, Koloa, HI

    War is nothing but proof of how unevolved our supposed leaders are.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  5. William Joseph Miller, Los Angeles

    Right now Blackwater and other security firms are killing Afghan civilians indiscriminately. Our air strikes are doings the same thing. What effect will civilian deaths have on the current Karzai government?
    What happens if the Afghan government itself tells us to leave?

    We definitely need to phase ourself out of Iraq. No one has succeeded in conquering Afghanistan. Why do we think we should be the exception to the rule? We need to realize that there is no military solution to Afghanistan and try other means of containing the Taliban.

    Bear in mind that Al Qaeda gets its income from oil, particularly form the Persion Gulf. Even if we do not buy Arab oil, some one else will. If we do not have the political will to wean ourselves away from oil, then
    there is no way to "win" in Afghanistan.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  6. John from Alabama

    Jack: It will be 5 years before Afghanistan will be free of most of the Taliban influence, because we wasted 2003 until 2008 in Iraq. Iraq was a war which has cost this plenty and will continue to cost us as the veterans of Iraq grow older. Afghanistan is the war we should have been fighting since 2003. We need NATO nations and the UN to provide troops and materiel for the Afghan War.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Roy

    We've been fighting in Afghanistan for almost eight years and over six years in Iraq. Before that we had ground troops in Vietnam for ten years. Jack, I don't like answering your question with a question, but what is it about seemingly endless war that is so attractive to Americans?

    Roy

    August 14, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
  8. Brian

    Jack,

    I'm an anti-war liberal, but Osama Bin Laden is still alive and well somewhere in the Pakistan/Afghanistan region, and until he and his organization are gone, we need to keep at it.

    The War on Terror needs to end – you can't eliminate evil, you can only beat it back when it rears its head. Once Bin Laden is taken care of, we can call it a day.

    Brian
    Boise, ID

    August 14, 2009 at 1:19 pm |
  9. isaac

    Hey Jack, did Amercia learn a lesson from the Russia? Now here we are doing the same damn thing Russia did who lost the damn war which we backed! What does America look to accomplish over there? more BODY BAGS of Amercian Solidiers? What is this really about? I think ti is about all the DRUGS that begin with the letter "H" now people don't want to hear that, but lets face it "H" is at an all time high and Cocaine has taken a back seat...

    Jack, when will American wake up?

    August 14, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  10. Chad N.

    Sure, why not. We have all this surplus money to fund it and have had such great success there why shouldnt we stay there for a few more years? I mean that is the country in which the Soviet Union had thier greatest success as well, so whats good for them ought to be good for us....right?

    Sarcasm off.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  11. Paul Austin, Texas

    I would say yes Jack. That is where we should of been with our troops in full force to start with. If we would of focused on Afghanistan from the start we would of had Ben Laden by now and the Republicans would of still been in power. We wasted to much time, money, and life
    in Iraq. After they made the decision to go into Iraq and after they got Hussein out we should of gave them the keys to their country and left but by then we had already lost so much. But these days no matter where we go in combat we need to have that back door open so we can exit anytime we wish to do so.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  12. Donna Colorado Springs,Co

    No. Our government needs to acting like"big brother"for every country in the world, and let Afghanistan take care of its own problems. We have enough of our own, and with all of the violence starting to rise up from all of the militias growing in this country, we just might need those troops here to quell violence at home. I hope that the right wing in the country is pleased with all the damage they are causing to everybody!

    August 14, 2009 at 1:38 pm |
  13. Robyn Webb

    Absolutely not. All of our forces should be withdrawn from Iraq and Afghanistan without delay. They can serve better defending the borders right here in the US rather than deploying National Guard units for that purpose. We're hemorrhaging money. We can't afford this anymore.

    Robyn Webb
    Richmond, VA

    August 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  14. Paul Martin

    Hurst, Texas

    Only if the US wants to
    needlessly kill
    our young men & women in the Armed Forces.

    By the way how is that USA Southern Border Security holding up?

    August 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  15. Tina Tx

    No. We need to say we won and quietly leave the area. We need the money being spent over there here fixing our insurance mess and the states needs money to keep them afloat. Local cities are shutting down the libraries and pools which should always remain open. What kind of trouble will bored kids get into to without an outlet to keep them off the streets?

    August 14, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  16. Mike in St. Paul

    No. The Taliban are evil scumbags, but we went in there to get Osama and al Qaeda. They closed the books on those guys long ago and now we are fighting two wars on "terror" who had nothing to do with the Sept. 11 attacks. Tell me this isn't a government run operation.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  17. Maria

    No more years in Afghanistan or Iraq.

    Pres. Obama made a lot of promises which the electorate knew he couldn't keep right away. Getting out of those countries is a deal-breaker for his re-election.

    Brunswick,MD

    August 14, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Stephen Madaras

    We need to stop ALL wars because they only benefit the big banks and military industrial complex. Wake UP.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm |
  19. Russ in PA

    No, no, no, a thousand times no. Get out now, and stop breaking the US piggy bank. The Empire is coming to a grinding halt...

    August 14, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  20. Mark in OKC

    Why did every talking head in the media rant and rave about President Bush keeping us in Iraq, when Obama obviously intends on keeping us in Afghanistan just as long? If this doesn't show how biased the reporting is from most of the national media, I don't know what does!

    Mark
    Oklahoma City

    August 14, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  21. Chris from NC

    The war in Afghanistan would've been over years ago if we hadn't invaded Iraq. It's a shame we're finally getting around to mopping up the mess there now.

    August 14, 2009 at 1:55 pm |
  22. Gregory Miami Beach, FL.

    War has always touched every generation of Americans. My dad, uncles , me, and all my brothers have all served in all of the four major branches of the services and our family tradition will continue because we must keep bringing the fight to them or they'll bring it to us! Every world power that has had a way of life worth defending had to defend it! whether it's Afghanistan or the Arctic or a few years or forty, we must protect and defend our people and thier values or someone else will impose thiers upon us. If you would rather serve a foriegn power and endure humiliation than maybe your not cut out to be an American. This world is like a tough neighborhood, If your not the toughest kid on the block, than you'd better keep trying to be!

    August 14, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  23. Carl in Topeka Ks.

    No.They should be brought home from Iraq and Afghanistan and placed along our borders.Have we learned nothing from Vietnam and the Russian incursion into Afghanistan?

    August 14, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  24. David A. Keenan

    After 9/11, we traced the perpetrators to Afghanistan, which is where OBL was supposed to be and the Taliban were supposedly protecting him.

    Bush and Cheney decided that there was more to be gained by invading Iraq and focussed far more resources there, for reasons I still do not understand or believe (the oens they gave anyway) to this day.

    So, if we are to satisfy the original focus of 2002, then we need to pursue our aims in Afghanistan – perhaps. However, thanks to Bush & Cheney, I doubt if the object of our original invasion is anywhere near there.

    We wasted 7 years and a lot of lives; for what?

    August 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  25. Phil-Eastern Washington

    No! Look what happened to the Soviets. Let Afghanistan self destruct. Killing bin Ladin doesn't mean the Taliban and al Quaeda are going to go away. Isn't that the real reason why we're over there...to find and kill OBL? All we're doing is amplifying a situation from bad to worse. Haven't we learned past lessons from Vietnam? Bring our brave soldiers home. Let's begin focusing our efforts on the grave situation right here in our own country.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  26. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    What's the alternative? This is the war we should be fighting. Al Qaeda and the Taliban go hand in hand and they need to be put down. Otherwise, we can pull out all our troops, sit back and wait for another 9/11. Then we can start the whole process all over again.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  27. Lucy

    I, in no way, agree with this war. It began out of pure retaliation, a very immature reaction to 9/11; I also have begun to see at as a sort of pissing contest between men. The last few generations of my family have been in the military, but I don't like violence. I have known soldiers who have died in this war, I have had family fight in this war, I still think this war is absolutely ridiculous and that we really have no reason to be meddling in the Middle East like this. However, nine years in is no time to pull out. We have already invested so much that it is too late to turn back. Yes, we should spend "a few years" more in Afghanistan.
    Lucy
    SF, CA

    August 14, 2009 at 2:12 pm |
  28. Kim, St. Thomas ON

    Jack: the US needs to spend additional years in Afghanistan because unfortunately, your military was sidetracked for years and years in Iraq, and let the insurgency in Afghanistan rebuild, after the initial 'shock and awe' campaign in the months following 911. Our Canadian peace keeping troops along with those from Australia and the UK, have been 'holding the fort' there for years while Bush waged war in Iraq, getting their butts shot off and vehicles blown up, as there is not enough support to fully protect their missions. Watching Amanpour's Generation Islam last night, it is ever more apparent to me that indeed, America MUST take care of business in Afghanistan if there is to be any hope of controlling the fundamentalist surge focused on millions of young people as Christianne's program so pointedly said: we will rise and fall dependent on whether they rise or fall.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:14 pm |
  29. Billy in Las Vegas

    NO, it's time to get out, Jack, before it turns into another Vietnam complete with Pakistan playing the roll of "Cambodia West"

    I could never figure out WHY Afghanistan was of such "strategic importance" in the first place. the likes of al-Qaeda can train and plan anywhere in the world. they are a "small cell" terrorist operation, NOT an army. you fight them with good intell and special operations NOT invading a country where they may happen to be. the Predator drone ops in Pakistan have probably done more damage to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda then all our "boots on the ground" combined.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:15 pm |
  30. Jill

    The sooner we realize that the answer to combating terrorism is establishing a two state solution in Israel and pulling our troops out of the Middle East, the sooner we combat terrorism.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  31. Matthew Enthoven

    Absolutely. September 11th wasn't the only act of terrorism out of the Middle East. Let's not forget the London bombings or the reasons why we have liquid limitations at airports. Our interests in Afghanistan are only those of National Security. We should keep the Taliban busy there instead of having to worry about them here.

    – Chicago, IL

    August 14, 2009 at 2:16 pm |
  32. Bob - Rawson Argentina

    We went there for a VERY good reason. We unfortunately allowed ourselves to become sidetracked (Iraq and other BS). The high probability of another 9/11 is still present. We need to correct that . . . . difficult as it may be.

    Iraq was a mistake and extended involvment in Afghanistan is the price we pay.

    Life is simple when you realize that like in physics, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction."

    August 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  33. Larry from Georgetown, Texas

    No, Jack, as a Viet Nam era vet I believe we should bring all of our troops home today and start defending our own countries war issues. We have a major problem with drugs, gangs in many cities and shootings in areas like Chicago. I wish we had the passion to make this change that people are showing about health care.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  34. Phil (New Jersey)

    Jack – My son(Sgt in Army) is currently stationed somewhere in Afghanistan and while I as his father would rather he be home, he has stated to me that the majority of the people he was going over with feel that what they are attempting to do is necessary. I thinks it becomes very easy for people to say "get out now", but if you look at what is happening there on a daily basis, the need for someone to help out the majority of the people is a very real and critical need. I find it funny that before my son left one of the things he was most adamant about was that if everyone(media, goverment etc) would leave the military alone and let them do what they are trained to do then the task could probably be completed in a much shorted period of time. Anyway just my thoughts

    August 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  35. Melissa

    THIS is a war that should have been fought in the first place. Its afghanistan thats always been the problem. I'm fine with it. Especially if it gains us Bin Laden.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  36. Bill, Quarryville, Pennsylvania

    Afghanistan bankrupt the Soviet Union causing its demise. If we're not careful with our national at two trillion dollars it can help bill bankrupt us. A few more years, I heard the same thing during the Vietnam war as more troops were being sent. We all know how that turned out. I think the Afghanistan war can turn into another Vietnam if we are not careful. I think it is time to start planning and exit.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  37. ed d setser

    The U.S. will never change Afghanistan to what it wants, the USSR learned that lesson the hard way. I say we use that money here at home for health care.
    We have taught the Taliban the consequences of attacking America, now it's time to come home and fix our nation.

    Ed from Myrtle beach, SC

    August 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  38. Jim Bailey

    Lets do the job that George choose not to,
    Wipe out the Taliban and Al Queda, salt the poppy fields and then get the hell out.
    Jim
    Cripple Creek

    August 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  39. Eric

    The world is a big place with a lot of caves and isolated areas. If we ever win in Afghanistan they will just move somewhere else.

    That said, if we stop chasing that gives the terrorists the ability to organize better and the opportunity to organize more bombings such as 9/11 and more recently in Europe and India.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  40. Tom in Desoto, Tx

    The war in Afghanistan started almost 9 years ago. This conflict made more sense to engage. Then there was 2003 when Bush put that war on hold so he could lie about Iraq and WMD and list of other things. The Afghanistan conflict was given the Rip Van Winkle treatment, put it on hold until we could get back. Troops in there makes more sense than any in Iraq ever did.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  41. John in Norfolk

    Afghanistan is a pit of despair that nobody cares about. That's why the terrorists went there to train in the first place. Unlike Iraq, which has an infrastructure and an economic basis that does not depend on producing heroine for the western world, Afghanistan has virtually no hope for the future without massive infusions of economic aid and the permanent stationing of troops to keep the peace. Our European "allies" have already given up on it and now that the US is in the middle of an economic crisis of its own, we can ill-afford to continue to prop it up at our expense and the risk to our military personnel. This is where Obama got it wrong – Afghanistan is the war we will lose while Iraq is a success, thanks to President Bush and his leadership.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  42. Lynne Parker in N. Augusta, SC

    Jack, "Afghanistan" is Arabic for "Vietnam". The public is increasingly hip to that.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:35 pm |
  43. Meg from Troy, Ohio

    Jack–
    The time to clear out the Taliban in Afghanistan was when we were wasting lives, time, and money in Iraq. I just don't think it's worth anymore American lives, energy, or money. Bring the troops home and let Afghanistan deal with its problems. We need our troops working on our border ssues, and our time and money focusing on our economy and healthcare issues. It's high time that we used our resources to help our own people and our own country.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  44. Mark... Voorhees, New Jersey

    Nope. Enough is more than enough. We wanted to go after Osama Bin Laden. But we should never send 100,000 men to do what 100 can do wiith no publicity.Just like Iraq, we wasted hundreds of billion of dollars, and contless American lifves FOR NOTHING. If we want to have a war with someone, it should be over in 15 minutes, if we determine that we have the moral justification for starting a war. And charge back Cheney and his friends. because war profiteering is the only reason I can discern that we got involved in either country.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  45. Eleanora Feucht, Mt. Laurel, N.J.

    NO WAY ! That whole section of the world is a quagmire. Once you set foot kin it, there is no way out

    August 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  46. David in Natchez

    Ask Russia this question. We have done more damage to ourselves in these two wars than the Taliban ever could.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  47. Larry, Ohio

    Jack,it has often been said those who ignore history are destined to repeat it,does any one remember what the Russians went through in Afghanistan.President Bush's Iraq war was a huge mistake and so is President Obama's Afghanistan war,but then aren't most wars?Get out now!!

    August 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  48. bobwhite in Kansas

    Protection of civilians, children, schools, hospitals & clinics, and food sources and supplies may be needed, but that is the military combat strategy to which we, the US, should be involved. The US needs to aid and assist the Affgans to solve their poverty and problems but the US should not engage in war in Affganistan. While this strategy may not be the only strategy necesssary, it should be the intital strategy. There will be no peace, anywhere, without justice.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  49. Ann from Hampton, New Jersey

    We were supposed to go into Iraq and come back out again. Never happened. The war in Afghanistan is like the war in Korea – going nowhere. All we will do is lose a lot of good men and women and spend and spend with no end in sight. If we had minded our own business and stayed out of it, this question would never have been asked.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  50. Michael Odegard, Portland, OR

    I think the USA should spend a few years in Afghanistan, building military alliances with the various tribes there, so as to establish a legitimate and regulated opium trade. Hospitals need the opiate derived drugs and Afghanistan should have the effective monopoly on this supply. It would be wise for the USA to make sure this supply is controlled by a legitimate government. Such a government is worth fighting for.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  51. Rich McKinney, Texas

    Jack I don't think we should spend another minute or another dollar in Afghanistan. We have no real political interest there other then Osama BinLaden and his gang of thugs. The problem is that we do not even know that Osama is even in Afghanistan or Pakistan right now. If we knew where he was we would go and get him. Same with the Taliban. We can kill ever Taliban member we come across but that does not mean that we will have killed them all because they will just go into the mountains or over to Iraq. The Taliban is more an ideology then anything else. We can not change the way people think no mater how many bullets we fire.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  52. JB from NH

    Afghanistan-Bananastan... The President has a hard sell to keep us engaged in a place which has historically kicked out occupying forces over the past century. And given this country's attention span of a tic tac, no one is willing to wait 2 years- billions of dollars – to find out that we still don't know the language, culture and threat of an unstable Afghanistan.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  53. Terry, Chandler AZ

    Yes, we don't have a choice. But we need to do more than fight. We must help the citizens, specificly the children. This kids need to be educated and be given hope for a bright future. By providing assistance in education and health care and developing an excitement among these kids that they can change their country, we will win in many ways.

    August 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  54. Steve in Florida

    Considering that's where our actual enemy is, it's a helluva lot better idea than the Iraq dyslexic disaster. What's the alternative? Give up going after Al Queda?

    August 14, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
  55. Gigi

    The Senate leaders should be drafted and spend a nine month tour in Afghanistan. It might clear things up sooner than later I believe that the down fall of America will be the wars it supports. We are so far in debt simple because of the bad choices are government has made. The money we have spent fighting countries that borders do not touch our borders is insane. We have two countries that border ours they come here and take our jobs then return home for cheaper living when they retire. Medical expenses are too high for them to retire
    here. Even we citizens can't afford to retire here.

    Oregon

    August 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  56. Frank from Peterborough

    From what you see, hear and read the United States are going to have to bring their troops back to America to fight the American Taliban and the C Street gang.

    What happened to Afghanistan with their extremist religious cults is well under way in America and it is only a matter of time until the same struggle will be required in the United States.

    No one will freely admit this in America because after all it's religion and heaven forbid if anyone dared confront this extremism in the 21st Century.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  57. Alex in Seattle

    Ignoring Afghanistan after the Soviets left led to the original rise of the Taliban who allowed al Quaida safe havens. Now that we are refocussed on the country where the 9/11 attacks originated, we need to finish the job! The lesson of recent history is that ignoring Afghanistan will allow terrorism to grow again.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  58. Sunny

    Dear Jack. The question is a real tough one, but the russians made a good choice and got out. the problem is that its not just the american army that is involved but many countries. i live in canada and we all want to bring out troops home. the money we spend fighting this prolonged war could be used to fund ublic programs that can help boost our aconomy. The canadian and american armies have suffered the most casualties hense the need for a pull out. we should not be persuing this any longer, our main abjective should be al-queda. not to waste money on a never-ending war that produces no results. we havnt cought bin laden nor mullah omar. how much more lives would it take to bring our troops home. what is happening in iraq should be happening in afganistan. we should be focused on training the afgan army and police and hand over control when they are compitent enough to protect the public and country. JACK WE NEED THE MIND AND MATTER FOCUSED ON AN AFGAN PULL OUT.

    SUNNY LAL
    TORONTO. CANADA

    August 14, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  59. bill in Texas

    Jack;
    What is so valuable or so very dangerous to the United States that we would invest the lives of our best military forces and 4 or 5 hundred BILLION dollars to occupy and "transform" Afghanistan?
    They have withstood external invasions for a thousand years. The country has been bombed back to the stone age but that is where they started. What could we possibly gain controlling a country that will require policing into the next century. There must be a better way to control heroin and we could offer cash to get the natural gas pipe line built. We do not need to have U. S. Military troops die for this.
    It is time to get our troops out and stop carnage and waste. We have needs here at home.
    Leave Viet-ghanistain it is another looser!

    August 14, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  60. Jay in Texas

    No. We should have been out of Afghanistan years ago. Our goal there was supposedly to run the Taliban out of power and replace them with a friendly government that would not allow Al Queda to regain a foothold there. We should have trained and equipped the Afghan people to do this job themselves long ago.
    Brownwood, Texas

    August 14, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  61. Ryan from Wisconsin

    We got oursleves into this mess, and need to see it through. It would be irresponsible for the U.S. to just up and leave.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  62. Tom Mytoocents Fort Lauderdale Florida

    Jack
    The war in Afghanistan will end when Bin Laden surrenders on the decks of the Missouri. If my history is correct about the same number of people died at Pearl Harbor as The World Trade Centers. Afghanistan is a war that must be won.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  63. Ben Leatherbury

    If we were over there to capture Bin Laden it would alright but the U.S. doesn't even have a warrant out for his arrest. Why don't we go over to Saudi Arabia and ask his family where he's at? Plus how does Afghanistan get the weapons to fight us anyway? That we would be a good war strategy to cut off the weapon supply by not letting other countries send them weapons.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  64. Allen L Wenger

    A few more years won't make any difference. I think we need to bring our troops home and that includes our military personnel in England, Germany, and Japan. If our troops were stationed in the U.S. spending their money into our economy, we would have some economic growth and more jobs.

    Mountain Home ID

    August 14, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  65. M.L. Squier

    It's Vietnam all over again, or as John Fogerty says and sings, it's "Deja Vu" all over again.
    Like ants, the Taliban will keep moving, charging, and killing, and American lives will continue to be sacrificed.
    For what?
    I would like President Obama to tell the American people very specifically what we are doing in Afghanistan.
    More importantly, do the people of Afghanistan want us there, or do they want us out?
    It seems like a very big waste of money when Americans die, and when there is only more and more escalation after a decade-long invasion.
    Oh, and where in the blazes is bin Laden?

    M.L. Squier
    El Paso, Texas

    August 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  66. marlene

    The US should get out of Afghanistan now. Former Pres. Bush got the US engaged, but $4 billion a month is outrageous. Especially when the United States can't quarantee where the money is spent. Just give the money to US citizens, every month, and forget health care reform, a failing economy, etc.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:24 pm |
  67. Judy, Exeter, Calif,

    Yes Jack, if the Reagan administration had finished the job, perhaps the Taliban would not have gained control of that country, and I don't think we need to be reminded that if the Bush administration had completed it's work in Afghanistan instead of invading Iraq things may not be as bad as they are now.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  68. Cheryl

    If we had gone into Afghanistan in the beginning with full force and taken care of it then, maybe we would have come out on top. Instead we greatly watered the effort down by concentratating on a stupid war in Iraq. Now our forces are exhausted, the American taxpayers have no money for it, and it will just become the quagmire it has always been for ANY country going into it, including Russia.
    Cheryl
    Houston, TX

    August 14, 2009 at 3:29 pm |
  69. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: The answer to Afghanistan is not more troops, more bombing or more bullets. The resolution is going to have to be settle by diplomacy or some agreement. Another two years means two plus years. We will never ever achieve a "hollistic democracy" there-–in fact the new government, if it ever get establishes, will be far from what the US is expecting. EIther reach an agreement or leave--this situation is the dog chasing his tail-–and at a very high price-–our young soliders. The money can be replaced--you can't replace the tragedy of anymore troops dying.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  70. Chris - Ottawa, Canada

    Where's the money gonna come from? I thought America was bankrupt.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm |
  71. don dean bradenton fl

    Only if we send all the congressmen kids over there

    August 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
  72. hank, montreal

    Seriously, I think they should not remain for even one more year much less a 'few more years'! They don't even want us Canadian do-gooders overthere either. And besides, pres. Karsai is just another pompous warlord propped up by US and UN backing. Time to call it a 'draw' and go home.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  73. Megan

    My husband is in the Army and comes home from a 15 month tour in Iraq sometime next month. Perhaps we should ask my two kids if the wars in the middle east should continue. There should be a point when the American people say enough is enough, as to when that point will come, who knows? A few years is a few too long if you ask me.
    Megan
    Fort Polk, LA

    August 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  74. Sherri-Illinois

    Absolutely not! Enough is Enough already!!!!. The USA has got to stop Policeman of the world and especially in a time when our country is suffering through a Economic meltdown and Recession. If this country collapses into a Depression, will Afghanistan come to ur rescue? No. I say get our Soldiers of of there asap, they have been shifted from Iraq to Afghanistan and enough is enough. Let some other country step up to the plate!.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:37 pm |
  75. Jim

    Jack:

    We will be there for more than "a few years" if we can learn by Afghanistan war history. A story cited in the book "Charlie Wilsons War" perhaps tells it all. An Afghan Chief was brought before the commander of the occupying British troops in 1842. The British commander began to dictate terms to the tribal leader. Before he could finish, the Afghan started laughing. "Why are you laughing?" demanded tie Brit. "Because I can see how easy it was for you to get your troops here. What I don't understand is how you plan to get out?" The British forces were destroyed and withdrew from Afghanistan.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  76. Vinnie Vino

    Jack,

    Enough is enough already that money is being wasted on an endless war which is going to bankrupt us and kill more of our fellow citizens. It's time to end this prolonged war and used the money saved over there right here to revitalize this country...

    Vinnie Vino
    Central Islip, N.Y.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:45 pm |
  77. Linda in Arizona

    We should get out and get out NOW. We have no business being there, and we will LOSE. Idiots never learn.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  78. vern-anaheim,ca

    i think we should get out of afghanistan asap,even the soviets could not defeat the problem there.how many american lives have been lost there already and how many more do we have to lose before washington realizes this was a mistake to get involved there plus what it's costing our country a fortune to fight this war and the money spent on that could be better spent at home

    August 14, 2009 at 3:49 pm |
  79. Dolores Wolfe

    If ever there was a situation where "if only" is the correct preface to an answer, this is it. "If only" we had NOT attacked Iraq & instead, concentrated on Afghanastan.....but that was not to be.....so now, we appear to have no choice but to stay. However, the longer time-frame is very troubling, especially when one considers that country's history towards "invaders".

    Dolores
    New York

    August 14, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  80. AndyZ Lynn, MA

    The American Expeditionary Force, under the command of General Pershing stuck it out until victory in WW I. General Dwight David Eisenhauer led American and allied forces in Europe. Admiral Nimitz and General MacArthur led American forces to victory in the Pacific. There is no compromise for victory. We learned that when our national will was broken in Viet Nam. Either we stay the course or we should never have gotten involved in the first place.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  81. Jerry B. Oklahoma City, OK

    Absolutely!! Afganistan is a haven for terrorist, and to leave now would only give them their save haven back. We must fight terrorism whereever it rears its ugly head. If we don't then we are only setting ourselves up for another 9/11.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  82. Joy in Texas

    Jack
    I am so torn on this question. I wish that our young men and women didn't have to spend one second of one day on foriegn soil fighting. Its my belief that we cannot change their way of life or their beliefs, and why shoud we want to, therefor we cannot change their minds about wanting to do us harm as long as we are in their country. They are a people who deal with their problems with war of some kind. Every rock and stick over there, for many generations, has been used as a weapon against each other and their percieved enemies. They are clanish people and will never give over to our way of thinking, so we probably need to get out of there and concentrate on keeping our borders and our interests around the world guarded as best we can. I know this sounds like a niave answer to your question and it doesn't address the fact that we have interests in the oil that we get from the middle eastern countries. So to that, I pray that our leaders will get the oil dependency situation figured out to the point that we don't need their products anymore. This would not make us quitters or cowards, it would just makes us smarter and in the long run safer.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  83. Donald, Canton, NC

    NO!!!

    This Country is being sucked into a dark abyss just as the Russians did previously.

    Either get down to business and get it down or bail out let the Afghan return to their ways of life prior to our occupation.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  84. Ken in Pinon Hills, California (The IOU State)

    The "Military/Industrial Complex" lives on. If not Afghanistan, we would be in some other trouble spot on earth. We embrace war as a profitable industry.

    August 14, 2009 at 3:58 pm |
  85. Jon from CA

    Everyone knows the 'war on terror' was going to be a long battle but spending years in one middle eastern country then spending a 'few' more years in another is just plain ridiculous. clearly tatics arent working if it takes this long. just how much more money are WE willing pay for this war jack?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  86. Linda in Southern Indiana

    If we can't find Bin Laden we need to come home. Why does the United States think we can tell any country if they are right or wrong? We shouldn't have gone to Iraq and finished the fight in Afganistan instead. We don't want anyone running the US, so what makes the US think we are wanted in their country? Did they invite us into their country? Do they want us there? Our brave young men and women need a rest from war. When is the world going to realize that NO ONE EVER WINS IN WAR. Ask the widows, mothers, dads, siblings of this world who have lost their loved ones.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  87. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    Unless you really want to control 90% of the opium that flows through the veins of the world, NO! Unless you really want to control the oil and resources of central asia that flow into China, NO! Unless you really want to endanger our young soldiers for the benefit os the military-industrial complex, NO!
    We have better things to do with the flower of our youth than to control the poppy's of Asia.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:11 pm |
  88. Fernando McGregor, CA

    History tells us that "all empires die in afghanistan". That region is "different world", and their view of the world is totally different from ours.
    We cannot impose our values in cultures that won't embrace our ideals, and viceversa. Specially when we try to impose "democracy" in oil rich countries. We are in Afghanistan because of oil, and just oil, and we have to thank the oil company lobby for that.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  89. Mike of Hot Springs.

    I am a strong supporter of Obama except in his decision on Afghanistan. We do not belong there and our troops should be brought back now. That is a lose lose situation and always will be.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  90. Ken in NC

    NO. Troops should be brought home to the war here. We should bring them home to fight the cartels invading our country from Mexico.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  91. Ron from SF

    We need to put Afghan's together to build their own infrastructure, so that water and supplies can move. If you don't work on the Infrastructure, you are ensuring failure. Without roads, folks can't build hospitals, let alone go to them. If there are no power lines, then forget about phones and access to the Internet. If all we do is leave them in the 14th Century, then forget about it–bring the troops home now. If we're willing to do a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan, then it has all my support.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  92. Keith M

    Wars bankrupt nations. We should have learned from British history.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  93. Chris, Philadelphia

    A couple of presidents dropped the ball on this one, fell asleep at the wheel, or either ran in the wrong direction. Again, this leaves our country with a load of manure to deal with now. We're just going to have to keep treading threw the stench of it all. It reeks but such as life! Confront it. Be consistent.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:18 pm |
  94. Scott Green Bay

    A year should do it Jack. If we fight the war to win the war! We need to dedicate more troops more vehicles and more supplies. The media needs to keep a positive attitude while reporting on the war and we need to win the Afghani peoples support for ousting of the Taliban. If we can act like we really want to win, if the whole nation is behind our soldiers, then we can win!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  95. Trevor

    Absolutely Jack, I don't support the war in Iraq, but there is a serious legitimate reason to fight in Afghanistan. Besides, what would it look like if two world "Super Powers" (the USSR in the 80's, and the US now) couldn't defeat the Taliban? It'd be a serious mistake not to finish what they started.

    Trevor
    Eau Claire, WI

    August 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  96. Brian

    Yes. Imagine how far along we would be there had we never been tricked into attacking Iraq.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  97. Susan from Twin Falls Idaho

    Jack we should have been out of there long ago. Our vested interests are here in the U.S. Let's bring our troops home from everywhere in the middle east. It's a lose lose situation for us.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Matt Harrison (Oklahoma City)

    Of course we should stay in Afghanistan as long as possible. The people that REALLY run this country are the banks. The banks are the ones that make money off war. There is nothing to win here. These insurgents can't ALL be tracked down and defeated. This war was started with intent to be sustained for as long as possible to continue the profiting of banks. Just my $0.02

    August 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  99. Jon from Tempe, Az

    Jack, let's not forget that Osama Bin Laden operated out of Afghanistan with the Taliban's permission. The Taliban is responsible for allowing this horrific act. I am a pacificistic liberal but on this one we need to be there to protect our sovereignty. Iraq was a waste because Iraq was not responsible for attacking us but Afghanistan was.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  100. Rodney Hutton

    Get out of Afghanistan now. Why can't the US learn that it can not continue to fight war after war pouring our treasury in coin and lives into unwinable situations. If Obama continues this war, he will suffer the same fate as Lyndon Johnson and George Bush. Unfortunately, the military/industrial complex (which Eisenhower warned against) must have another war to fight. Stop this nonsense.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  101. John Farrar

    Absolutely not! The Russian learned the hard way about Afganistan and got out. We must extricate ourselves from this disaster as quickly as possible. That country isn't worth the life of even one single American soldier.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  102. Michael Shapiro

    How much treasure, how many lives and limbs befor we can understand what every occupier of Afghanstan has learned, there IS NOT LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  103. cy gardner

    If Osama Bin Laden and the hierarchy of Al Quaeda are hiding in the caves of Pakistan, that means the front line of the war on terrorish is right there. We can't pull back to Kuwait and rely on surrogates in Afghanistan and Pakistan to watch our backs. We need to be there until we capture or kill Bin Laden and his gang. If Bush had done his job and rounded them up in Tora Bora six years ago, maybe we could'vd pulled out by now. cy arlington, va

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  104. Timothy Cooke

    I would support fighting there for eternity if that's what it takes to preserve and defend liberty.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  105. Jeff Jones Atlanta

    Yes, unfortunately, we must have a presence in this part of the world to reduce and contain terrorist threats. We could, however, probably close down our 'mission accomplished' bases in west Germany and Japan...I think we've won that already.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  106. Annie, Atlanta

    No. Bring our troops home now. This is the country where empires go to die. With the Republicans trying to kill America from within for political gain, we have more pressing matters. If the Afghans want the Taliban out, they can have at it.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  107. Aaron

    Yes they should. America is supporter, defender of democracy. Apart from Afghanistan there is no where else for troops to occupy their time. Let them spend a few years there unless something more serious comes up like Iran or N korea.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  108. Dave INDIANA

    When will we ever learn.. A few years in combat... NO WAY we should send in the troops necessary to blow the Taliban out of existence and as quickly as possible. When we try to do things piecemeal it never gets done right and costs more in lives in the long run. Just do it and get it over with!!!!!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  109. Roger

    Sure we need the military there in Afghanistan
    We do not need the military in Japan or Germany or Italy
    Just move the people around so the leftist will not continue crying "bring the boy home"

    August 14, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  110. Christina Martini

    No! We should have already learned from history: fighting between Russia and Afghanistan years ago proved the case! We cannot win there! Let's stop the bloodshed and get out sooner than later!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  111. Michael

    Doesn't anyone read a history book? I've yet to understand how Iraqi sovereignty and Afghani freedom and sovereignty is our fight. Maybe we can go back in time and have other's fight the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, even WWI and WWII by proxy for us. I'm a firm believer in, your country, your problem, your fight. But if we had to meddle in world's affairs for the good of all people, it seems NK would be first on our list.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  112. Mike

    After seeing the report last night from Ms. Amanpour, I believe that the investment in Afghanistan will pay off positively if we stick to a simple plan and do not over-commit for too long or lacking specific objectives.

    Mike in Phoenix, AZ

    August 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  113. Carl Fredley

    8 years already into Afganistan and still no luck.
    War is an Afghan Custom. The most invaded and never won
    country in any war. The invaders pay a high price. Thesxe farmers and herders do not want US or Them. Best to leave the Military out and send the Peace Corp as they are the ones that can lead a victory.
    Time to trade gun for Civility and Progress in a positive way
    lets call it Non Destructive Developement.
    Unless you want to keep the Weapons manufacturers working overtime!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:21 pm |
  114. Russ Eppen

    I don't get it. The Talaban will never be totally eradicated. They can't attack our homeland except by terrorist measures. Wouldn't the lives we save, and the money we spend on this war be better spent on our shorelines instead?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  115. AshleyBartolome

    We spend about 16 billion a month in Afghanistan alone, we've been bombing taliban members in Pakistan with drone planes and many Americans still can't find Iraq on a map. I think the real question is, when will this question actually matter to Americans? And WHY don't we have town hall meetings over the Iraq or Afghanistan war?! We spend over 25 billion dollars a month in Iraq & Afghanistan, where's the questions, fears and protests about that?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  116. Givonna, New Orleans

    The situation is only this bad because the previous administration went to Iraq instead of going after Bin Laden first.

    I pray for some success sooner, because I want our people to come home. I know the President does too.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  117. Denis Duffy

    The United States government has a horrible record, when dealing with tribal cultures. As usual, we are in a war that is not a war. In the end, the "war" in Afganistan will not be won or lost. Just more money and lives thrown away.

    Denis
    Upper Saint Clair, Pa.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  118. Adam

    Jack,
    Unfortunately, we are going to have a presence in the Middle East for sometime; be that in Afghanistan, Iraq, or Israel (among others). Establishing a stable regime in the region is essential, and regrettably the US has entrenched itself in the quagmire.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  119. ILENNE

    NO!

    Send in the Delta Force to find and kill Bin Laden and bring the rest of our troops home. Put the money being expended there toward Healthcare Reform and infrastructure here.

    Bring our troops home.

    Ilenne
    Henderson, NV

    August 14, 2009 at 4:22 pm |
  120. George Wilson, Marco Island, FL

    Absolutely, the US should stay in Afghanistan untul the capture or death of Osama Bin Laden, and the demise of the Taliban. We need to do am much better job of defining our involvement in Afghanistan as a police action against the group that attacked Americans on our soil, and not an action against the country and people of Afghanistan.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  121. Will from Sunrise, Florida

    Well, unlike Iraq, we actually have reason to be there, even though nobody wants this war to go on it would likely be best for national defense and defense of our allies if we continued to fight the Taliban.

    Hopefully this will serve as a lesson to us: Next time we support a resistance force, like we did back when Russia invaded Afghanistan, we should make sure they won't be able to use those weapons to try to kill Americans instead.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  122. Paula

    We went to Afghanistan to find and bring to justice Bin Ladin. We do not seem to be able to do that. In fact it appears he is not even in Afghanistan. Now it appears the mission has been changed to "defeating" the taliban by killing them all. That is impossible. No we should not spend any more of our National Treasure, the lives of our fellow Americans. We should get our troops home. No one can kill all the taliban. Diplomacy is the only way we can get anywhere with the taliban and if they won't work with us than we will have to be diligent with our intelligence and try to stay a step ahead of them.

    Paula in Maryland

    August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  123. Lynx

    Afghanistan must be settled but quickly. A win must be translated as the destruction of the poppy fields which is easily done. They provide the fuel(money) for the terrorists and Taliban. Get rid of the corruption in our government by destroying those fields and then move the game to Columbia. We take the money from the real terrorrists: Taliban, Osama wanna be's and the drug cartels as well as those our own crooked US officials that are on the take.
    Lynx

    August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  124. Arthur Bankhead

    Absolutely no way should we spend anymore time in Afghanistan or Irag. I still have not found anyone that can give me three (3) "concrete" reasons why we are even involved in war in those places. Very surprised that folks in this counry will scream and yell about Health Care for ALL and not willing to do the same about ending both of these WARS.

    We have enough problems at home to focus on and could use the $$$ Billions were spending in these Wars to help Americans here in USA.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  125. Mead, Phoenix AZ

    If George W. Bush was still the President, we'd be only a few weeks away from declaring victory in Afghanistan. Ten years away from accomplishing anything, but he'd be declaring victory in a couple weeks anyway.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  126. Craig T (Houghton Lake, Mich)

    Good Afternoon Jack,
    How does the old saying go? "if we don't learn from history, then we are doomed to repeat it." The conflict in Afghanistan is now a "generational" conflict. The Taliban is already recruiting and training the next generation of their members. Does anyone remember what happened to the Russian Army when they tried to "break" Afghanistan? They were sent home with their tails between their legs. A few years, as your questions asks, should be more like decades. Unfortunately, the time our troops spend in that corner of the world will be long indeed. Take care Jack.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  127. Ryan :Vermont

    I do not think we shold stay if we continue the current way we are placeingthe troops pushing the taliban in to pakistan. if we can come up with another plan more safer for he pakisanies than we should say, otherwise, admite we are failing and leave an un winnable war

    August 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  128. Maurine Witte

    Jack, I am an 86-year-old Obama supporter, but I am worried that this deepening involvement in Afghanistan is a tragic mistake. It feels like a plunge into quicksand.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  129. Margaret Pennybacker

    No, we should not spend a "few more years" in Afghanistan . Didn't we learn anything from the Soviet Union's experience there? Didn't we learn anything form our experience in Viet Nam? Why do people complain about the cost of giving every American health insurance, but not the cost of the expensive, lengthy wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?
    Margaret

    August 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  130. oliver clark

    Do we really feel we are going to defeat the Taliban? If we do we should stay but I think that is an unreal expectation, so we should work towards leaving asap.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  131. John Kelley

    Yes America should be there to wipe out the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda killed 3000 Americans on September 11, 2001. The tragedy of this mess is that the former President of the United Stated abdicated his position as President to Dick Cheney and let Cheny invade Iraq who did not attack us in 2001. Had we "stayed the course" in Afghanistan with a military surge in 2001, we could have done wonders there. The Republicans did no do their jobt. Now we are paying the price for their incompetence.
    If we pull out of Afghanistan, that will help Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists defeat the democratic government in Pakistan as well as taking over Afghanistan.
    What we need now is some education on TV why we are there so this kind of question never arises. People somehow forget their past.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  132. Michael Sullivan from Lafayette, California

    Jack - We've already spent more than enough time in Afghanistan, not to mention the American lives and billions of dollars - Bush and Cheney
    took their eye off the ball when they decided to invade and occupy Iraq,
    and now we're paying the terrible price - it is now time to pull all of our troops out of Afghanistan as well as Iraq before more young American men and women are killed or maimed and before we spend billions of dollars more that could go to health care reform and climate change legislation!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  133. Dave in Indiana

    We have to change our entire mindset about fighting in Afghanistan. It was Alexander the Great who conquered this region by giving the leadters this choice: total annihilation or massive investment in your nation. They chose investment and war was averted. This is actually what our approach should be today. As Greg Mortenson has shown, giving Afghans and Pakistani children schools has done more to change their hearts and minds than any military expenditure has ever accomplished. Continuing war and killing the native population will just prolong the massive expenditure of blood and treasure.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  134. Dianne

    How can we possibly justify quarreling over the cost of healthcare reform, while spending billions of our taxdollars monthly in Iraq and Afghanistan. We need our money for our own economy which is threadbare, and for our healthcare reform. It's beyond time we realize we cannot shore up the world. It's our money and we need to spend it on – us! So, no, we cannot afford the lives nor the dollars to fight the battles of other countries.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  135. Daniel

    Absolutely not. President Obama received immense support from the anti-war movement but the first thing he does in office is to ratchet-up the war effort in Afghanistan. President Bush came into office under similar promises of a "humble" foreign policy and we all know how that turned out. Haven't we learned anything from the Russians' attempt at taking over Afghanistan? The Taliban fighters in the mountains will fight to the last man, prolonging the war indefinitely, and causing severe casualties for coalition troops. It's time for America to have a non-interventionist foreign policy.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  136. chris otterstedt Auburn Indiana

    The war in Afghanistan sounds to me more and more like Vietnam. I am currenlty reading "Nixon and Kissinger" which has brought back to me all the the government premonitions that if we lost in Vietnam; all hell would break lose; ie the domino effect in southeast Asia. Obviously, that did not happen. In addition, is Afghanistan a country that can be governed by anyone? Or is it just a conglomeration of warlords and villages that have no nationalistic tendency whatsoever? Lets get out now. We can spend some of that $4 billion per month on internal security and other domestic issues.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  137. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    I think we should stay in Afghanistan as long as Secretary Gates thinks we should.I say Gates because he is a wise man and I know he will be in consultation with the President,State dept and the leaders on the ground. I think this should be a military secret and the congress,the American people and especially the media should think about Healthcare, the economy and especially JOBS. Gene

    August 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  138. Joan

    We have to do what we have to do now...thanks to George Bush. If we had gone after Osama after 9-11 and not put all our forces into Iraq we would have saved our treasured young soldiers and saved billions of dollars that could have helped capture Osama and we would probably now have a stable Afganistan. Put the blame where it belongs. People soon forget.

    Joan

    August 14, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  139. DAN

    Is it a combat war or an economic war? 9 years or combat and counting sounds like the combat mode will not work. We beat the USSR with economics, so should the Taliban. Send in the relief workers like a hurricane instead to win them over.

    Thanks

    August 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  140. Chuck Prather

    We should leave this area tomorrow and learn from history. It cost Russia in the past as it's costing us now.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  141. David in NoVa

    It depends on what the people will tolerate. They tolerated 5+ years of "combat" in Iraq, while Afghanistan was by and large neglected. I think it will be worth it, if only because of the long term foreign policy implications. The Soviet Union failed in Afghanistan, and a similar failure by the United States would be viewed as a weakness. So, while the people will probably be the final word, any actions that ensure a different result than the USSR will be at least politically viable.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  142. George Stratigopoulos

    The time will soon come for us to leave Afghanistan to its' new government. We cannot help indefinitely. We can fight terror surgically anytime we need to in the future without spending billions of dollars and thousands of lives occupying a country. The world must understand the U.S.A. will continue to fight terror all over the globe.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  143. mike-sey

    The mystery is how come military leaders didn't see this coming and allowed Rumsfeld/Bush/Cheney to plough ahead into this fiasco without a peep. Its not as though they lacked experience with wars or insurgencies.
    No doubt they will enjoy their pensions and the thanks of a grateful nationin their declining years, but why would anyone trust their advice now, given their sorry track record.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  144. Darryl Snook

    Jack,

    Anything done in Afganistan will neve be enough. More money, more troops, more civilians, etc. Afganistan has become a giant sinkhole of which dumping more and more resources into just does not make any sense. Change if it comes will not come from the West and our militaries or aid agencies there. It will come from the people there, as it came to every major free country in the world. We should be working on harder on enabling the people of Afganistan rather then fighting their war for them. The Taliban need the people to make any progress. We need to make sure we give them what they need to see they don't need these thugs, ensuring that they tell them where to get off.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  145. Joe Torres

    What did 9-11 cost us? Why didn’t the past administration solve this terrorism which happened on our soil? It is time to address the true problem that started the wars, yes I am willing to pay for that.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  146. Craig T (Houghton Lake, Mich)

    Good Afternoon Jack,
    Unfortunately Jack, Afghanistan has turned into a generational conflict. The Taliban are already recruiting and training the next generation of their members. Does anyone remember when the Russians tried to "break" Afghanistan? They were sent home with their tails between their legs. A few years of combat as your question asks....more like decades. Sadly, our troops will be mired in that part of the world for a long time to come.

    Take Care Jack, keep up the good work.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:31 pm |
  147. Marshall Halladay

    I believe every American should be proud of and totally support our troops wherever they are, but I do not believe we should have gone to Iraq and am against the war in Afghanistan. At a time when we are struggling to fund a much needed health care reform here at home, that 4 billion dollars a month being spent on this war would go a long way toward helping us over the hump.
    Bill
    La Grande Oregon

    August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  148. Dennis E. East

    Yes they are the one's "The Taliban"that attack us.We must make sure they pay a price for that and are not able to do it again

    August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  149. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    The Taliban is clearly a known terrorist group and it's in our best interest to stay as long as it takes until the Taliban are begging us to leave.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  150. Tom baskette

    The war in Afganistan only needs American Troops long enough for the Afgan people to have elections and secure their own future. This is what we did in Iraq, Cuba, and Vietnam. Any longer just causes more loss of life and suffering on all sides.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  151. jT.E. Jones

    A few words from Sun Tsu's "The Art of War":
    1. No country has ever benefited from a protracted war.
    2. When troops attack cities, their strength will be exhausted.
    3, The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
    When will our leaders, civilian and military, admit that we have been and still are caught up in a guerrilla war?

    T. Jones, Gainesville, FL

    August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  152. Neil

    No,
    It was a war that could have been over if we hadn't spent the last 6-7 years in Iraq. At $4B a month, we could have a lot of health care and everyone could get a new car. $4B a month could mean a lot of jobs in the US.
    Neil

    August 14, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  153. Inspira

    What a mess. We have spent billions of dollars fighting in Iraq when we should have been in Afganastan from the start. Unfortunately, It is the price we have to pay for our lack of focus during the Bush administration. All we can do now is pray for our troops.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  154. Phil Des Marteau

    I thought that we had left the Bush doctrine that the U.S. could do whatever we wanted. It's time that NATO get more involved and if it doesn't then they are saying that Nato shouldn't be involved in this conflict. If we can't get more help from NATO then we should be more forceful in demanding they step up or we will step down. We are not the world's savior, but we are willing to assist in a NATO or United Nations efforts to support countries in need of help.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  155. John...TAVERNIER,Fl.

    The war in Afghanistan, unlike the folly in Iraq, must be won for 2 reasons:1. the Bush administration ventured there 1st to defeat Al Qaeda and its Taliban sponsors and failed. As its war on Saddam
    Hussein was pursued, the resources necessary to vanquish the largest terrorist alliance in the world was diverted elsewhere , and the effort to avenge 9/11 was strategically and tactically forgotten!
    2. Afghanistan now is truly a crucible for whether we succeed to garner friends and peace in the Middle East ,or not. The Taliban ,if defeated, will wither and fade, thus exposing AL Qaeda to being crushed by our forces. If we fail, the Taliban will eventually wear down the Pakistani military, as they freely move between those 2 countries.
    If the Taliban can access Pakistan's government and nukes it will be all over!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:33 pm |
  156. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    America did not learn from what Russia went through by trying to take over Afghanistan, now we have to watch as our backs get broken like theirs did in that sorry country Afghanistan. Here we are repeating the same mistakes of the past yet again, I guess when we reach a Trillion spent on an unwindable war in Afghanistan, and after we wasted eight years in Iraq. Then we just might learn our lesson after spending two trillion on two wars. But I do not think so, some countries just never learn, this is why we are having trouble paying for our healthcare bill!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  157. Lillian Norgren

    I want to withdraw the Afghanistan and Pakistan troops at the same time we pull out of Iraq. We are never going to "win" anything in any of those countries with troops, and we're just pouring money down the drain, as usual.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  158. ERIC

    NO! Didn't we learn anything from the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan? We were so smug back then when our support of the "freedom fighters" helped drive the Russian army out and herald in the financial collapse of the Soviet system. Now here we are, just a few decades later spending precious lives and dollars fighting the same guys, now relabeled as "terrorists."

    August 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  159. Alberto

    I see no reason for the United States to be in Afghanistan today let alone for the next eight to ten years. As to Mr. Gates premise that we have no choice but to prepare for such a war (length and time-sounds like a spae time complex) it simply is a waste of time and energy; even if we pull back, the Afghan armies will still fight the goverment now in power. kfinally, how many more kAMerican lives must we lose in a war that most americans know little of its genesis and even less of the ten year goal. Lets get our men ans women back; we need a new prospectus about this.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  160. Robert Miller, Caldwell ID

    Nation building in the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia...etal...has proven horribly expensive with diminishing returns.
    I'm guessing it might take 50 years or maybe 100 years for these Islamic countries to evolve into peaceful nations. We are foolish to think we can force peaceful behavior between cultures that have been fighting for nearly 600 years Much like Iraq, Nation building in Afghanistan will be a terrible waste of ammunition, lives and money.
    We can't afford it.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  161. Yvonne

    Yes, we should stay in Afganistan for as long as it takes and send in the troups needed so we can get out sooner. If we do not change the training of those young kids to hate Americans, we need to stay until things are straightened out. We should have sent all our troups there in the first place instead of Iraq.

    Yvonne
    Spencer
    Indiana

    August 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  162. Graham Jura

    If we would have spent a "few years" there in pursuit of Osama and Al Qaeda rather than a "few years" in Iraq in pursuit of no bid contracts, this wouldn't be an issue now.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  163. Jeff in Glen Carbon IL

    I am sure that it will take at least a year to know what does and does not work. We can't expect much success given that the local people have to trust a foreign government NOT TO ABANDON THEM before they are willing to turn on their very powerful and vengeful fellow-countrymen. The Afghan government would have to find a way to either accept missle strikes that will inevitably cost civilian collateral damage, or we will have to decide to leave and let the more efficent Taliban take over the country again. [And then have to go back and blow them off the map in five years if they put in terrorist training camps again].

    August 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  164. Dennis Carey

    Jack, I am an in-country Vietnam Vet, 100 per cent disabled by the War. The military machine will never tells us the truth because there's too many profits being made by D.O.D. contractors. Most ex-military people go directly to these contractors for work after their military commitments have ended.
    Therefore, why on earth would they ruin their future prospects for employment. They would not.
    Vietnam ruined two presidencies LBJ's and Nixon. If President Obama wants his presidency to collapse under the deaths of our young men & woman, so be it.
    We lost 58,000 plus the wounded in Vietnam. When President Obama hits his number our country will revolt just as my generation did in the late 60's.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  165. Bob Ramos

    OBL is in Pakistan so we no longer have any reason to be in Afrans. Further, the population supports the Taliban which is evidenced by the fact that the Taliban controls almost all of Afrans. I have seen no reason to continue spending the billions we do not have and losing American lives. We will be getting out eventually so let's not delay our withdrawal.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:35 pm |
  166. Adam P

    Yes we should stay in Afghanistan! I've been there and the people there need our help. However, I think we should provide more infrastructure support and fewer weapons.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  167. EugeneWiese Midlothian,Va.

    I trust the President to make the right decisions in these matters. We have enough freedom,liberty and the pursuit of property with out the American people ,as a commitee, deciding the fate of bailout and stimulus packages. Gene

    August 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  168. Mike

    No, I say pull out of this mess as well as Iraq. Wasn't the Democrat's main platform, and one I thought Obama started running with, the promise of ending the war and Bush's excursions into the Middle East?

    I thought a big reason for pulling out of Iraq was the cost., in lives and dollars The Idea that we could cool tensions in that part of the world, improve our economy, and save a few lives seemed good last summer. I wonder if there are reasons beyond the hunt for Osama and the destruction of Al Qiada for having so many troops in the reason. If not, end it now.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  169. nadir

    As an Afghan American, I truly believe we should continue to make both countries safer without political agenda or what we can get out of it. The main factor in this is that our safety in America will be greater and in the long term, America will have an amazing / grateful ally. We the people of Afghanistan desire freedom like I currently have living in NYC. I am grateful to every soldier, parent and most of all the American People for making this sacrifice on the behalf of the Afghani People.

    Thank you America.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  170. Eric

    Jack,

    This is Obama's war now. It is an unwinable war by the administrations own admission. Why are we still fighting? What is the objective of the war? The President got us out of Iraq. Why is he increasing our military presence in Afganistan? The reasons why we are still there sound eerily like the Bush administrations reasons for extending the war in Iraq. Why can't we learn from our own experience the last few years and Russia's experience in the 80's. I will ask the question that I have not heard asked. President Obama what is the exit stratgy?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  171. Chuck Prather

    I voted for Obama to end the wars, not keep them going for ever.
    Didn't Russia pay a big price for exactly what we are doing in Afganistan?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  172. Richard, Kankakee, IL.

    This is what happens when Bush and Cheney abandoned looking for who really attacked the U.S., on 9/11 to gain a foothold in Iraq. Just more debt, wasted lives, and discuss from the rest of the world because we keep making the same mistakes! Our Founding Fathers never wanted us to become the police of the world, we can not keep doing this!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  173. steve donahou

    Jack-
    I think its time we left the foray in Afghanistan.
    I believe if as a nation we take an honest gains v. losses
    assessment of the future of US involvement in the country,
    it is time to leave.
    Further, the presence of a large military force (perceived as a christian
    occupation) enrages combative elements within the country.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  174. Dee in Florida

    No way!

    We should GET OUT of both Iraq and Afghanistan! It's not our fight, it's not our business.

    At the current rate of spending that is about 35 BILLION per year (and we all know it can only go HIGHER), in addition to what we have already spent. And in addition to the BILLIONS AND BILIONS we have spent in Iraq.

    Just think, if we just got our of those wars we could fund health care reform, fund Social Security, improve ALL the schools in America, replace ALL the old roads and bridges, and maybe even make other countries dislike us less than they do now!

    But for a definitive answer about whether we should stay in Afghanistan for a few years, I think we should ask the Chinese. After all, it is THEIR money we are spending!

    August 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  175. Annie Naples FL

    NO NO NO, if we learned anything from Iraq we should get out. These people do not want a democracy or our help. They are tribal and will always be tribal. We should have learned from what happened to Russia.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  176. Tom from Jacksonville Florida

    Jack I say Yes! they should Flush out the Taliban and Give support to the people of the country who need Security, Education, and Democracy ...
    If we back out now, we will let Tyrants spread thruout the land and eventually we will be fighting the battle in our own backyards.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  177. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Jack,

    anyone watching to the special reporting of Christiane Amanpoor from yesterday; should take lessons that our security depends on how we as a world would change one and for all and become more responsible in reducing poverty in order to eliminate poor choices! Maybe the recession is over for some, for the better off but it is not for the middle class and it is even less for the poorer populations across the globe! When are we going to get that our economic system of over the top greed with poor social responsibility and poor respect of our climate environment is no longer sustainable since in fact it no longer sustain even our own security. We better start redefining ourselves : in 2009 what does it mean to be wealthy in the 21st century. Do people define their wealth only by their bank accounts or by their responsible decisions be it individuals, companies and governments?

    August 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  178. Tigi

    What would be the alternative: failure as in Iraq? This is a war that requires full commitment (both human and financial) from the U.S. as well as our allies. I got to mention though, what CNN reporter Christian Amanpour has documented (in the program that aired last night) is a great deal of notable effort that we should not only focus on actual confrontation, but also engaged in constructive engagement with the Afghans. It is very important that the Afghans see us as a friend and not an enemy. So back to what I'm saying, we must be prepared that there won't be any credible change in the near future....Yep! we're in this for the long-term.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  179. Eric Keating Ontario

    Jack, We didn't have a problem justifying the hundreds of thousands who died in a "few years" liberating France. While every death is tragic, the numbers who have died in the Afghanistan effort is relatively low. These sacrifices are part and parcel of making Afghanistan a relatively stable democracy that is not a threat to us, its neighbors, or its own people. The military work needs to focus first on policing the Taliban and controlling Al Qaeda. This must be supported by development of the country's public assets in government, education and infrastructure. I am urging my government in Canada to extend its commitment to the Afghanistan control and redevelopment effort.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  180. Tim

    In the UK, they are talking about being there for up to 40 more years.
    They are probably being more truthful than Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    August 14, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  181. Andreas

    Yes!!! Althought there has been a lot of disagreement with the war in Iraq, we are completing the job. The same must be done in Afghanistan. Otherwise, the Taliban will overrun again the present fragile successes and spread terror throught the regionn. Sacrifices must be endured now so long term benefits can be enjoyed later.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:00 pm |
  182. Richard Green

    Jack,

    The reason for going to Afghanistan/Pakistan in the first place was to get Osama bin Laden. That window of opportunity closed when Bush called off the hunt to pull off what he thought would be an easy victory in Iraq. It's too late to get bin Laden [if that's the reason we're still there]. He's had a Bush-supplied vacation from pursuit for the last 6 years. He's not going to be found. We need to stop the brutal waste of lives and money and get our troops home as soon as we can.

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  183. Mary Los Angeles CA

    We have learned NOTHING from history. If we leave Afghanistan now, we are making the exact same mistake we made 30 years ago when we didn't move into the void when we had a chance and the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden thrived. Study the geography and the history of how Afghanistan came to be. This country is the crossroads between East and West. It is a huge mistake to think that we can just pull out of this country and all our problems will just go away. Pull out of Iraq? Yes. We had no business being there. But there are very, very valid reasons to be in Afghanistan and if we can all get over our short attention span commitments, then maybe, just maybe we can do some good for ourselves and the Afghanistan people. People: PICK UP A HISTORY BOOK AND READ ABOUT AFGHANISTAN! Stop relying on politically motivated sound bytes played over and over ad infinitum on the all the news channels.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  184. William

    Are you serious? As a U.S. Army solider i believe that it is my duty to stand up for the war. You basically have two choices, A we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Taliban reforms and begins a major terrorism attack on the United States, or B we stay in Afghanistan, at the least, and hope that we can contain this terrorism threat to one area. I do believe that when 9/11 happened everyone was all for this "War on Terror," what happened? I also believe that Pres. Bush said that we would seek out and destroy terrorism wherever, whenever. So, how can you honestly say that the war in Afghanistan needs to quit, obviously the general public wants terrorist attacks to hit America again.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  185. Jon

    America needs to keep fighting wars, to keep the Military-Industrial Comlex humming along. How did we get out of the Great Depression? World War II! How did the slow economy of the 1950's turn into the booming '60s? Vietnam! Let's just pull out of Iraq & Afghanistan and see if we can break the cycle. Would Obama dare to do this? I, for one, wish he would.

    August 14, 2009 at 5:07 pm |
  186. SGT Joe Helle

    Jack,

    I do not feel as if we should be battling an unknown army in the same location that no foreign army has ever been successful in. We as an Army are politically correct, and for many good reasons. The Russians weren't successful in the 80's, and they fought with land mines, and the intention of killing innocents not involved in the war. We are chasing an unknown enemy in a place that is still very unknown to our people.

    We should all remember that the people of our very country were considered terrorists in the eyes of Great Britain in the 1770's through the Revolutionary War. Terrorism is, and always will be a part of this world, as long as there is something to disagree about. The only thing stronger than a volunteer army is an individual hell-bent on an ideal. We need to leave, and rebuild everything that has suffered in the last nine years, and most of that is in the homeland. Family, economy, security.

    SGT Joseph Helle

    August 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm |
  187. Ashley Bartolome Portland, OR

    Obama, you had me at "21,000 more troops to Afghanistan."

    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  188. Maria

    How long US can play the role of messiah ? Don't we have enough in our own platter ?why not use that money for eradicating poverty in the world so rest of the world will appreciate us

    August 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm |