February 27th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

U.S. losing war in Afghanistan?


Soldiers with a joint U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force Provincial Reconstruction Team keep cover in Afghanistan's Shemgal Valley. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

From CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan - so says Senator John McCain.

"When you aren't winning in this kind of war, you are losing. And, in Afghanistan today, we are not winning," said McCain.

The former presidential candidate says although he approves of President Obama's plan to send 17,000 more troops there. He thinks additional allied and Afghan troops will be needed to bat back a resurgent al Qaeda and Taliban. He's calling for the U.S. to set up a larger military headquarters and to boost nonmilitary assistance.

The Arizona Senator says that the situation in Afghanistan is nowhere near as bad as it was in Iraq - but that insurgent attacks were up sharply last year and violence increased more than 500 percent in the last 4 years.

McCain's comments come after those of Defense Secretary Robert Gates - who has said the U.S. faces "a very tough test" in Afghanistan, although Gates is confident we will "rise to the occasion."

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows most Americans agree with McCain... only 31% say the U.S. is currently winning the war in Afghanistan, although 62% say the U.S. can eventually win it.

Meanwhile - when it comes to the other war, the one in Iraq, McCain is among several Republicans backing President Obama's plan to pull most U.S. troops out by August 2010. McCain says the plan is a "reasonable" one and he's "cautiously optimistic" that it can lead to success.

Here’s my question to you: Is John McCain right that the U.S. is losing the war in Afghanistan?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Chuck writes:
It isn't that we're losing, it's that we can never win. We can pour billions into the hole for years, and be right where we are today. Even the Russian generals tell us to leave.

Rob from Maryland writes:
Imagine John McCain giving a speech in front of a battalion of soldiers in that country and telling them that we're losing the war because we're not winning it. I respect you tremendously Senator McCain, but it's just not WWII.

Jim from Hansville, Washington writes:
Afghanistan is not a nation; it is a geographical myth invented by outsiders. We won in Kabul, and installed our preferred puppet there. But the remainder of what we foreigners call "Afghanistan" is an anarchy of near-independent, near-medieval tribal areas. They have never succumbed to outside would-be rulers, and won't succumb now.

Khalid writes:
As an American-Afghan, I don’t think that we can win a war in Afghanistan through military means alone. Look and see what history says about Afghanistan when it comes to wars. We need to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people and that's when we will start seeing success. What have the Afghan people seen since our presence there? Only more violence.

Terry from Greensburg, Indiana writes:
Was John McCain ever right? Let's not call it a war – "terrorist hunt" sounds much better and we'll get much more help from the British. My suggestion is to send a bunch of Kentucky coal minors over there; they can make a mountain disappear in nothing flat. If they need reinforcements, send W. Virginia's also.

Richard in Las Cruces, New Mexico writes:
Yes, we are losing the war in Afghanistan. More than that, this is, like Vietnam, an "unwinnable" war! Unwinnable because the country is controlled by tribal chiefs; is a drug producing country that will not change; has no effective central government and thousands of more allied troops will only result in more death for them and the Afghan people.

Donna in Wisconsin writes:
If McCain was right about anything, he'd be president.

Filed under: Afghanistan • US Military
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. Kevin in Dallas, TX

    He's right in the sense that if you're not winning a war, you're losing.

    February 27, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  2. Dean in Pa


    We are not losing the war, it was put on the back burner to fight the wrong war. Our troops are doing a great job with what they have to work with. But losing never!!!

    February 27, 2009 at 12:57 pm |
  3. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    Losing is in the nature of war. When diplomacy degenerates to war we all lose, except of course for the no bid Halliburtons and war profiteers of the misery. President/General Eisenhower said it plain as day and no one listened.

    February 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm |
  4. Conor in Chicago

    So long as the mission of this war is to turn Afghanistan into Wisconsin then we will lose. If the mission is simply to kill Al-Qaida when the pop their heads up from amongst the caves then we might win at least a tactical draw.

    But we can never forget some basic truths in all of this: If Pashtu’s are being killed they will see it as a race war. If Israel exists and America supports it Al-Qaida will try to kill Americans. So long as we use oil and natural gas we will be forced to care.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  5. Jason, Koloa, HI

    If you are in any war. You've already lost.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:09 pm |
  6. Rob of Brooklyn

    its lost. we're spending all this money for Vietnam part 2 basically. If I lived there I'd just pick up and get out. . This was never a high spot in the world before and it won't be later.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  7. P.B.K.

    Unfortunately, we are losing the war in afghanistan. Although Bin Laden as not attacked our nation since 911, he continue to attack it through the economy. Also he continues to kill the men and womens in afghanistan. President Obama end this war, as soon as possible.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  8. Dave, Brooklyn, NY

    He is right by default. We lost that war the minute we lost focus and started another needless, unwarranted war with no possibility of a good outcome for either.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm |
  9. Al, IA

    Maybe John would like to volunteer to fly a few more sorties to kill a few hundred more innocent civilians. I'm sure that will win the war.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  10. Charlie in Belen, New Mexico

    I don't know how right he is Jack... Personaly, I would ask Senator McCain where he was with all his "expert" advice durning the last seven years while the Bush administration was dithering our way into this hole ? A hole that can best be described as "snaching defeat from the jaws of victory"...

    February 27, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  11. jeff from georgia

    The Soviet Union went belly up after fighting a war in Afghanistan for nearly a decade, we listen to generals whose only purpose is to have a war going on, there are no generals who in peace time became famous, this is what they do and who they are, so as long as we listen to Generals the longer we will be in these conflicts overseas, I think we need to bring our people home and quit trying to build nations, these people are cave dwellers, and in less we want to go into every cave in Afghanistan, which will take about ten years, lets bring our people home, and leave these people to them selves, we can't save every body, and we can't afford to keep having wars, it was the beginning of our economic down turn even more than the housing problems that we have today. Peace is not a bad thing

    February 27, 2009 at 1:21 pm |
  12. sally

    We can never win the war in Afghanistan, if the Pakistani government does not stand up to the terrorists.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  13. Mack in Traverse city Michigan

    Jack if the enemy are living like night crawlers in a cave and scared to stick their heads out in the daytime without keeping their eyes to the sky watchin for our drone aircraft We're not exactly losin the war there. Killing Osama bin Laden will not end muslim extremism and if the people and leadership of the country aren't completely behind our efforts we will never "win" ask Russia. If we keep the enemy bottled up in the mountains and fearing for their lives thats good enough for me. It would be like putting a fence around Washington D.C. and posting guards. They'd still be plotting but they couldn't hurt us anymore.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  14. JD in NH

    It depends on the goals. What is winning anyway? Does McCain expect to see a Starbucks and McDonalds on every street corner in Afghanistan? Define winning first.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  15. Al, Lawence KS

    John McCain only thinks in terms of winning or losing. We can't win this war in any conventional sense. Does that mean we are losing? Most of us with even a little brain power can envision a solution that falls somewhere between winning and losing. McCain, it seems, has no concept of a middle ground.

    February 27, 2009 at 1:42 pm |
  16. Sandy VanAmburgh

    Can we win, when no one else could? I say lets do what we have to then get out.


    February 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  17. Pablo in Tejas

    from Alexander the Great to the Soviet Union no invading army has succeeded in Afghanistan.

    Arlington Texas

    February 27, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  18. chris

    yes the u.s is losing this war because of the president's determation to leave troop in iraq they keep saying in a couple of months the'll asess the sition and see were we are at . dosn't any one remember bush saying the same thing bottom line if you want to win the war in afghanistann get the troops out of iraq asap and consontrate on the war in afghanistan

    February 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  19. V.K. Raman, Sparks

    John McCain never uttered that four letter word "fail" when we were failing in Iraq but now that the power is in the hands of Democrats he is not ashamed of uttering this word. Afghanistan is your party's creation and help the present President to amicably get out of Afghanistan.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:21 pm |
  20. Debbie in Warrenton, OR

    I don't think we are losing the war in Afghanistan, because we really haven't even started fighting the war in Afghanistan. Yes we have had a military presence in Afghanistan, but to fight the war, we need to put not only military resources there, but diplomatic resources. We are just beginning that process. Also, based on what I have heard we need to separate al Qaeda from the Taliban, because they are not the same.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  21. Chad Jarman--Los Angeles

    Its hard to win when our enemy is being funded by a neighboring country (Pakistan). Kind of like how Vietnam was with Russia. How did that war turn out? McCain should know first hand, that simply more troops does not always work....

    February 27, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  22. Chuck in Warren,Ohio

    Jack: John McCain was a looser in the election because of his backing of Bush. McCain has just now wised up to the fact we should have stayed out of Iraq and finished the job in Afghanistan.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:32 pm |
  23. Jim Warren

    Afghanistan is not a nation; it is a geographical myth invented by outsiders. We won in Kabul, and installed our preferred puppet there.

    But the remainder of what we foreigners call "Afghanistan" is an anarchy of near-independent, near-medival tribal areas. They have never succumbed to outside would-be rulers, and won't succumb now.

    We could "win" cheaply and quickly: Bribe the tribal leaders to oppose Al Qaeda, just as we "won" in Iraq by bribing the "insurgents" to stop shooting at us. And bribing them to stop growing opium would be far cheaper than our eternal drug wars.


    February 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  24. Donna Wisconsin

    if McCain was right about anything, he'd be President.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  25. Pat from Chicago

    Mr. McCain, Afghanistan is a war that is more than fight, fight, fight. If that is all we are doing in Afghanistan, then I would have to agree. But, we need diplomacy and help from many other Nations to crush the Opposition. The drug trade is huge bucks for Afghanistan. Poppy fields everywhere! Taliban everywhere. Al Qaeda growing strong. We need a different strategy in fighting this war. President Obama knows what needs to be done, he gets it! McCain, go play in one of your 9 homes!

    February 27, 2009 at 2:40 pm |
  26. Meg Ulmes from Troy, Ohio

    First, I find it amazing that McCain has the gall to be so negative. If he had become president, he planned to hang on in Iraq, and not pay much attention to Afghanistan. Now that he's in the position to be a Monday morning quarterback, he's all gloom and doom. I don't think we're winning the war in Afghanistan, because of the war in Iraq. I think that President Obama is taking all the right steps to turn the war around. I hope so, because my nephew will be going to Afghanistan in April, a part of the first wave of new troops.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  27. Ed Reed

    If there was ever a chance the war could be won, it was lost when the Bush Administration diverted all our resources to Iraq. That left only 30,000 troops in a country 50% bigger than Iraq. It's time to re-think our strategy there.

    Ed Reed
    Port Aransas, TX

    February 27, 2009 at 2:43 pm |
  28. Bob


    What is our mission? That is the question.

    New Lenox

    February 27, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  29. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Am I missing something here? Didn't John McCain state that Afghanistan was a done deal several times during the course of his run for POTUS? Now its a crisis? If it is slipping away from us, and indications are that it is, it is due to the Bush administration diverting resources from there to fight their war of choice in Iraq and then basically ignoring Afghanistan. It's left to Obama to right the ship....McCain's carping from the sidelines is no help.

    February 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  30. Don (Ottawa)

    Jack, if you look at this in context, we are facing increased opposition from al Qaeda and the Taliban, but this does not mean we are loosing the war. thanks to us, Islamic militants were well trained under real conditions in Iraq. Now they are in Afghanistan where the real war has always been. Thanks to us taking our eye off the ball we are facing a better trained more versatile enemy than ever before. Hopefully we have learned some lessons on what not to do.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:03 pm |
  31. Joe from Arlington

    Personally I could care less if a bunch of illeterate Taliban want to worship their dogs and call the US bad names. After 8 years someone needs to ask what on earth is the US Army doing in Afghanistan and can they solve the Al Qeuda problem. The answer is no. Al Queda was always more of a CIA issue which is why the war has actually moved to Pakistan. Send the Army home.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:04 pm |
  32. Steve of Hohenwald TN.

    Is this the same MaCain that said that Afghanistan would be a walk in the park? I`m not even shure what our goal is there, so how can i know if we`re winning? Eight years ago i thought we were there to capture or kill the perpitrators of 911. If that is so, we are loosing.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  33. Mike, Albuquerque, NM

    There is no "winning" a war in Afghanistan.
    We are not there to occupy that nation.
    We did not go there to fight the Taleban, or impose our values.
    We went there to fight AL Qaida and Osama Bin Laden.
    As far as I am concerned, this mission is accomplished.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  34. Doug - Dallas

    Afghanistan is a war we cannot win. The best we can hope for is a draw which equates to a victory. If we can get the tribal war lords to reject the Taliban, then we accomplished what we needed to.

    If McCain or anyone else thinks we can win the war in Afghanistan, they haven't read their history and are spending to much time in fantasy land. Just ask the Russians!!

    February 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  35. Dee in Florida

    I think that McCain is as correct as were the British generals during the American Revolution. They probably knew they were losing, simply because they had never fought such a war. They were used to fighting using the tactics in common use in those days, the marching in columns to the battle, not the guerilla tactics employed by the Americans.

    I think the war in Afghanistan is similar, in that the "enemy" is using guerilla tactics, and we are trying to overwhelm them. It didn't work for the British, and it won't work in Afghanistan.

    In addition, the Afghanis have 'home field advantage'. There is a reason that is said to favor one team or the other in sports; it often does!

    We just look at this war from our viewpoint. Try looking from the Afghani viewpoint. WE are the invaders, they are the home team.

    Are we losing this war? I'd go with McCain and say yes. Did we learn NOTHING in Vietnam?

    February 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  36. Chryssa

    What does it matter if he's right? He didn't use his knowledge or so-called expertise to help us when he could have.

    Boise, ID

    February 27, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  37. Joe N Y..

    I think John McCain is right, History has already taught us that it is not a winnable war militarily. How many young men and women do we sacrifice before we realize this. How many dollars do we spend (Money we don't have). He promised to stop the wars not move it from one country to the next.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  38. Cori

    They've been losing since day one. What is their progress today, right now? What does McCain mean by "winning"? If the troops are eventually going to be pulled out of Afghan. & Iraq, nothing will make a difference long term. What do you think is going to happen once the presence of the U.S. is out of the Middle East? They're all going to hold hands, rejoice and become Christian? They'll what, achieve democracy and peace? War will continue over there with or without us as it has for hundreds of years.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  39. Bob, MN

    McCain should know, Jack.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  40. Nancy, Tennessee

    I don't know about John McCain's expertise when it comes to wars. He spent most of the Vietnam war behind enemy lines not receiving information except the propaganda that they wanted him to hear. He needs to let the Generals that are running the military now report on the situation in Afghanistan. They will let President Obama know if we need more troops, weapons, supplies, and personal armor. I'm sure Obama will make sure they get what they need.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  41. Daniel, Indiana

    We aren't losing that war. The Bush administration abandoned it for Iraq, which was never needed. We politely asked the Afghanis not to grow opium poppies, but never gave them a cash crop to replace it with. The Taliban realized the folly in that move and encouraged their people to grow poppies and make a living. We have turned our backs on those people and wonder why they turned to the Taliban again. Let's wake up and smell the coffee. Bombing and otherwise killing innocent civilians don't add to our credibility with the Afghanis either.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  42. Sherri Illinois

    This sounds just like the song & dance about wining or losing in Iraq!. I still don't understand why we have troops in Afghanistan, we can't enter EVERY country in these regions because the Taliban are in EVERY country in those regions. I hope we get out of Afghanistan, I hope the military brass would be upfront and honest as to what the heck we are doing there, are we accomplishing anything? it sure doesn't look like we are to be honest. The focus NOW appears to be on Pakistan because they have the nukes, so this is a neverending story and George Bush should be vilified for his invading IRAQ for OIL because that detoured America from Afghanistan where at that time we could have made a difference, now its appears we are just blowing in the wind over there at the expense of those men & women fighting and getting killed.

    February 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  43. Kirk, IN

    My weekend is seven days long. I just lost my job.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:00 pm |
  44. don in naples, florida

    I could not say what is going on in Afghanistan. But if we still have troops in the area then there doesn't appear to be any victory.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  45. circy in New Mexico

    Too bad we don't learn from history. No war in Afghanistan is winnable. Our superior weapons are no more effective that a rifle. Why can't our so-called military leaders ever learn that like Vietnam, the Afghans are fighting to defend their country. The Russians couldn't defeat them over a 10 year period, and we won't defeat them either. They, like the North Vietnamese, have a will to prevail, and we won't make a dent in their resistance. We need to get out of Afghanistan. After all, is this about catching Bin Laden? That's not strategy, it's ego.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  46. Cindy

    I don't know why he's talking... and why we are listening.

    Ok ok, we do need to listen... but with a grain of salt. McCain wanted to engage in rekindling the cold war, not diplomacy first. I am weary of his grandstanding.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:19 pm |
  47. Jay in Texas

    Maybe McCain is right about that but what he is not telling you is that he and all the warmongers who got us into this illegal and unwinnable war were given plenty of warning that winning a war in that country (or Iraq) was impossible. The real question should be why did he and others ignore these clear warnings, manipulate intelligence, and take our country into these undeclared wars anyway? Hint: Big Oil and oil pipelines in Afghanistan.
    Brownwood, Texas

    February 27, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  48. James in TN

    We have focused all our attention on Iraq. Instead of going after Al Queda in Afganistan, we went to Iraq to fight a dam oil war so Bush and Chaney could make themselves and their friends billions of dollarrs. There's still no proof Saddam had anything to do with 9/11, isn't that why we're at war or did I miss something?

    February 27, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  49. Jake, Oregon

    I didn't support Sen McCain, but I believe in this case he is right.
    We are there I think for reasons of vanity. We are the mighty US, and no one can whip our butts.
    Our own financial gurus of Wall Street did a pretty good job of it. Listen to all the laughter....thats the sound of Wall Streeters dancing in the streets all the way to the bailed out banks.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  50. Don Calloway

    At the moment we are because of poor decisions made by the last administration.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  51. Kiran Mandava

    Yes. What's in Afghanistan is not US war. It's a war on Islamic Terrorism so instead of going alone US should involve the neighboring super powers like Russia and India to fight it out. Pakistan is not an ally but an enemy to US and all peace loving nations of the world.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  52. Dennis

    If WE try learning from history, I believe that the Russians have already proved that war in Afghanistan is a sure fire road to losing, with nothing but military force, as a tactic.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:25 pm |
  53. Ralph Nelson

    Afghanistain is not a win or lose war. This is a guy who believed we could win the Vietnam War. This is a guy who does not understand economics and does not understand the problem in Vietnam was 5% of the people owned 90% of the wealth. How could you win? The Vietnamese wanted "change". No, after watching McCain in the campaign I understand why he finished last in class at the Naval Academy. Stop trying to make wars into football games. Ralph, Yakima, Wa.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  54. Michael - Boston

    Of course he's right, Afghanistan is where empires go to die.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:28 pm |
  55. Ed

    I think we are losing the war. We don't seem to have a very clear objective not even a reason that I can see for staying in Afganistan. It seems to me that we should bring our troops home. If we are attacked again the let the bombs rain down on all the people of that country. I'm tired of not understanding what we are trying to accomplish in Iraq or Afganistan. What is the threat to the US?

    February 27, 2009 at 4:36 pm |
  56. Debbie, Florida

    Gosh, Jack. You’re going to make me agree with John McCain? Okay, deep breath. Yes, we’re losing the war in Afghanistan but, put me in the top two-thirds who believe we can win it.

    Why? Because we don’t have a choice. The Taliban and Al Quaeda are making serious progress toward their goal. They want Pakistan. It has a nuke.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  57. Stan - San Francisco

    Our military strategy in Afghanistan brings to mind the Red Coats against the Minute Men. How quickly we forget...

    February 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm |
  58. David, Tampa, Fl

    What war in Afghanistan? Didn't Bush declare victory there about the same time as he did for the Iraqi conflict. This is about the same as Vietnam, no front, an enemy hidden within the population that is supported by a significant portion of that population (males only), and intimidation of the rest by the bullyboyz. So we are losing and another 17,000 troops will do nothing to change the outcome. Don't believe me, just ask the folks in Pakistan that just got Islamic law shoved down their throats.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:38 pm |
  59. Erico Miami Beach

    We (USA) should deliver to Afghanistan the same 'package' that Truman ordered delivered to Japan some years back. We have the power to eliminate the threat of terrorism in that part of the world swiftly and quickly, without the loss of any more coalition and or US troops. Then, and only after a couple of nuke heads to the suspected areas are delivered, our troops should go in to take control.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  60. Sam from NY/DC

    Of course he's right. Now that he is no longer running for president, he can finally say what he truly feels, not what's politically advantageous. We have been losing in Afghanistan for a very long time. I think we have been losing since March 2003...

    February 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  61. chuck Tulsa

    The question should be, “Who has ever WON a war in Afghanistan”? For centuries occupying forces have tried and not one has succeeded.
    The last one to try, the Russians, bankrupted their country in the process.
    We need to leave the country. Quit wasting our kids blood and our countries treasure.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  62. Rajendra M, Parikh

    Dear Sir,
    It is not the military solution in Afghanistan, Then Why is big fuss
    of sending more troops there. We Americans have to learn new
    lesson from history. British, Russians have learned their lessons
    and it is NOT wise idea that we have to hit our head against the
    wall and learn the lesson. Afghanistan is NOT Iraq or Iran or
    eastern Europe. I hope Mr. Obama learns lesson from someone
    else mistake and instead of expanding war try to use diplomacy.
    Pakistan-Afghanistan border is no man's land for centuries, and
    it will remain so.
    Thank you.
    Raj Parikh

    February 27, 2009 at 4:41 pm |
  63. jim Toronto

    Why is it always about 'winning' or 'losing'? Afghanistan is not a football game, or baseball or basketball game. Where there is a final score, an overtime fieldgoal or homerun to win it.
    Afghanistan is a 'conflict', a struggle of humanity. Two ideologies, one a brutal middle ages regime. The other is about freedom and equality. We can't possibly win! Or stamp out archaic thinking. Hate is taught at an early age. We can contain it & we can hopefully manage it, but we cannot win nor can we lose in Afghanistan.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  64. Jan Illinois

    It is my opinion that our soldiers NEVER lose. Our soldiers were sent to these hell holes based on lies. These people will never change, Get out while you still can, leave those people to take care of their own selves and mind our own damned business for a change. War belongs to men. Men of greed and no conscience, and George Bush was one of those. make no mistake our soldiers are their taking care of one another as brothers should. It's time to admit that it was all a lie and get out. With all the lies Bush has told who knows, what the truth is about Bin laden or anything else that has went on. Anybody care to guess at how much money G.B has hidden away. Thought so.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  65. james sloan

    Dear Jack, In reality we are just beginning the war in Afganistan. The last Administration went through the motions but did not put forth a serious effort. Cheney and his cronies were too busy lining thier pockets in Iraq. I pray we are successful and I have confidence in our military. We will prevail but it will be hard. JIm Sloan Bangkok

    February 27, 2009 at 4:48 pm |
  66. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Yes, but it's only because we diverted our attention to Iraq (which McCain was for).

    February 27, 2009 at 4:50 pm |
  67. Denis Duffy

    You can not win a war against tribes. Afghanistan may be a country, but it is a nation of tribes. We lost the war as soon as the first boot hit the ground. Case closed.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  68. Mike in St. Pete Beach, Florida

    We already lost it. The whole point of going in was to get Osama.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:51 pm |
  69. Betty, San Diego, Ca.

    Nuts! We have not yet begun to fight. We have been waging a holding action in Afghanistan, while refereeing a civil war in Iraq. Once the full might of the dogs of war are unleashed on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the sooner the conflict will end.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  70. Jason

    What is our defense budget? what is the combined defense budget of al Qaeda and Taliban? Someone should be fired since this is the upset of the century.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  71. Alan-Buxton, Maine

    There is no such thing as winning in Afghanistan. I have no idea why we are there or what we intend to achieve but I do know that we need to stop aggravating the Muslims by invading their countries.

    February 27, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  72. Janet, Yosemite Gateway, California

    Excuse me, Jack, but (Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran) McCain is responsible for letting Sarah Palin out of her cage. I question his judgement.

    IMO, McCain has zero credibility and his opinion on Afghanistan is irrelevant.

    Have a nice weekend.

    Yosemite Gateway, California

    February 27, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  73. Ann K.

    I don't really care what John McCain thinks about it. (Didn't he just lose an election?)

    February 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  74. Art Roberts

    I am afraid we are, and need to learn from the Russians. There is no way to win there.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm |
  75. Roberto from Florida

    I don't think we're winning nor do I think we're losing. To me it looks like a stalemate. The only way we will break this stalemate is Pakistan, Afghanistan and other allied countries putting more troops in there to fight the Taliban. I honestly don't think diplomacy will work with terrorists, but it will work with the tribes who haven't been influenced by the insurgents.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:13 pm |
  76. Lewis Whittington

    I only hope that President Obama exposes what drives the war in Afghanistan- the poppy trade.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm |
  77. Susan, Sequim WA

    Jack, if we had cared what John McCain has to say about anything, we would have elected him president. His choice of VP showed his sad lack of judgement. Why should we care about what he has to say now?

    February 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Dee Lewis

    Has Mr. McCain been right about anything lately? His pick as a running mate should have taught him something about his thought process. Sometimes wars are better left to fight another day than to get sucked into playing police of a people who must work out their own issues.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  79. David

    There is no greater authority on our military effort today than Senator McCain. We are obviously not winning in the Middle East and President Obama's decision to increase the troop strength in Afghanistan may well be his first (and only) wise decision. I just hope and pray we don't leave the Iraquis high and dry as troops are withdrawn.


    February 27, 2009 at 5:17 pm |
  80. Mark from Naperville

    Amazing, just amazing. I cannot recall once while Bush was in office that McCain ever said this. He supported just about every Iraq initiative shoveled down our throat that the Bush team asked, with no mention of the neighoring war. We will win the war in Afghanistan when we show REAL interest in participating. Our troops have fought hard. They have played baseball without bats, basketball without a ball...if we support them we can win. Obama realizes this and has stated this numerous times. All McCain was ever interested in was Iraq, and he wonders why we are losing in Afghanistan.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  81. Jim Rukavina

    Yes, McCain is right, but no one can win a war in Afghanistan. Ask the Russians, they were there 10 years and pulled out with their tail between their legs, just as we did in Vietnam. Those people don't fight conventional wars like we do, they fight guerrilla wars that we are not trained or equipped for. When will we ever learn?

    February 27, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  82. Fi-Fi from Portland Oregon

    Isn't John McCain that disagreed w/ candidate Obama that we need to go into Afghanistan? We have been losing since we took our personnel and military resources off this war to start the war in Iraq. President Obama is correct to shift the resources back to Afghanistan to torpedo Bin laden. They are the ones responsible for 9/11.

    Jack, you're giving too much credit to McCain. Everyone knows we haven't handled this war in a responsible manner.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  83. Martin Dennis

    The war in Afghanistan was one of Bush's biggest blunders. The war was lost as soon as Osama bin Laden escaped from Tora Bora in 2001.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:19 pm |
  84. John Russell

    Jack, All through his campaign, McCain said he knew where
    binLaden was and he knew how to get him. Perhaps now he
    can share this information and help win the war.. Was he
    lying or is he waiting for another campaign. John in Grandview, Mo

    February 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  85. Tia, Washington

    You'd have to be fighting in Afganistan in order to win. We've focused so much of our attention on Iraq, that it seems like we are just doing Missions in Afganistan. We have failed at finding Osama, so I suppose in that sense we're losing, but again, we don't seem to be really trying either.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  86. Chris

    Yes, we're losing. The Taliban are still terrorizing the population, safe in knowing that Pakistan doesn't have the will to force them out of their haven in Pakistan's northwest territories, our allies in Europe haven't got the will to help... It's just us.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  87. Khalid Sajjad

    As an American-Afghan I don’t think that we can win a war in Afghanistan through military means alone. Look and see what history says about Afghanistan when it comes to wars. We need to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people and that's when we will start seeing success. What have the Afghan people seen since our presence there….only more violence. We need to provide security to the people, NOT to the corrupt politicians. We need to act like a big brother get Afghanistan through this hardship.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  88. Mary Ann Walker

    He's right-however, what do you expect from such a half-hearted effort the past 7 years? Bush-Cheney and Co took our eye off the prize and diverted us to Iraq for their own personal selfish, greedy reasons. The plan President Barack has unveiled regarding the troop draw down from Iraq puts some meat on his brillant campaign statement that we need to be "as careful coming out of Iraq as we were careless going in." Mary Ann Walker, Valley Center, CA

    February 27, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  89. crayfish

    Yes, he is right! Bush has only been gone one month. And, almost everything Bush touched is loosing in some way. We will be cursing the name Bush for a long time. Bush has been loosing in Afganistan for a long time. Damn him!

    February 27, 2009 at 5:26 pm |
  90. Said Duane

    i think it is not still clear to say who is wining or but losing, but im certain that the war in Afganistan can not be won by only military means and if the president thinks so then, he is on the wrong track. we have to get a solution for the tribal region in Pakistan. I'm Said in Chicago.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  91. SoSaysSam

    No Jack, were not losing, were just beginning to fight! This was the war that needed fighting all along, but it has to be carrot and stick style of winning. Build them schools, roads, hospitals, and smack those taliban with the stick... hard.

    Remember, these are people who kill women for wearing lipstick... And there ain't enough room on the planet for them and us. I'm sure they feel that way too, so we better get to it.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  92. Pat in AZ

    John McCain is absolutely right about Afghanistan, both about losing and about doing more than military assault. Should I believe some life-long politician or old-man commentator instead?

    February 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  93. Mark in DC

    Yes we are losing the war in Afghanistan. And soon we may be opening a new front in Pakistan should the extremist factions in the government and military feel threatened or empowered to take action to overthrow the moderate leadership. An unstable and nuclear armed Pakistan is much more of an issue to the safety and security of the region and the U.S. The situation in Afghanistan is now a byproduct of a larger problem brewing across the border and may never be won until Pakistan is a willing partner, free of the sympathy for the Taliban and other extremist groups within its borders.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  94. Randall

    McCain is as right as he was about the economy and Sarah Palin. We the people, need to be reminded by the GOP as to why we elected Obama and not McCain and he does and excellent job every time he opens his trap. When the republicans turned to Iraq after first invading Afghanistan they failed to capture Bin Laden and the Taliban was able to regroup. but then again McCain said he knew how to get Bin Laden during the election, does McCain get anything right except the way he leans ?

    February 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  95. Mac from Savannah, Georgia

    With no goalposts in Afghanistan, like Vietnam, it is a perpetual war that cannot be "won."

    In Vietnam, Nixon's had a "secret plan to win" - just pack up and leave. We should repeat this in Afghanistan.

    No one cares 30 years later about barefoot people with funny hats in Vietnam. Neither will they 30 years from now about the same barefoot types in funny hats in Afghanistan.

    This is the history of wars against a stupid ideology.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  96. Karl from SF, CA

    Afghanistan is right up there with Viet Nam, Israel and Palestine in the “no win” wars column. Our objective was to get Bin Laden, who knew where to hide so would be at the most disadvantaged. We either acknowledge that will never happen and fight terrorism in other ways and let him just die on dialysis, or we tell Pakistan to get out of the way and go in with enough force to take him out with another “Shock and Awe” number. An ongoing war is ridiculous.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  97. Mari Fernandez, Salt Lake City, Utah

    Jack, we should have "thrown" everything we have after 9/11 to capture Bin Laden! Bush should have checked his ego, and gone after Bin Laden with the full force of our military. Now EIGHT years after 9/11, Bin Laden is still free, and we are stuck in Afghanistan, and Iraq is a disaster!

    February 27, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  98. Pacific Northwest

    The little war that wouldn't couldn't and shouldn't. As with so many things that george failed to do, this also is a disaster. It is a stand still war and will get worse if neglected. Winning is not the objective, rather correcting the problems caused by the insurgents needs to be accomplished .

    February 27, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  99. Sparky in Colorado

    What a dumb question! What war? Remember the good old Bush administration put a gag order on any Afghan coverage, same as Iraq! I say we put you, Cafferty, and that bearded dude Blitzer on a special assignment trip to Afghanistan to tell us what is really going on. No matter, President Obama is handling Afghanistan and all other matters extremely efficiently. Grade: A .

    February 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  100. Jenn Fresno Ca

    Who cares what John McCain thinks. He is just a hateful person with a big mouth. He needs to take his millions and shove it where the sun doesnt shine. He is not a Maverick, He is pathetic.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  101. Dr Giorgio da Modena Italia

    Look at what happened to the former USSR when they invaded Afghanistan. Many believe they lost the Cold War due to the devastating effects it had. What sort of "Imperial Hubris" makes the United States think they can actually win the war in Afghanistan. This is highly preposterous, with America being in such a weakened economic state. It can hardly take care of it's own people, with lack of health care for millions, and hunger for many. Rioting and looting is what the U.S. should be preparing for next!

    February 27, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  102. Quanzale McMath

    Of course were losing the war in Afghanistan because, all of our restraint focused has reformed to a country call Iraq.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  103. Dawn

    I honestly don't know. Don't get me wrong, I love CNN and everything. But the only time you guys actually talk about Afghanistan is when someone is whining about it. Send a reporter. Show me some footage. Then I can make up my own mind and get back to you. Until then, it just sounds like the Republicans are giving any excuse they can to justify why they want more money devoted to the military. They wont have Iraq after 2010, so they want Afghanistan. Just wait and see. When we're done there, the Republicans will want to turn our attention to Iran or North Korea. The old Hollywood motto comes to mind. If you don't spend it, you loose it.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  104. Christopher Sprinkle

    Yes. We are losing the war in Afghanistan because in war there are no winners. Did we not learn this from previous wars? The question is are the objectives being met. To this I say Yes, we are meeting our operational objectives. This is taking more time and resources that originally planned, but if we can dedicate the resource req'd to get the job done, we will meet our operational objectives in Afghanistan. Because this is not a war against another military force, this "war" wil take a considerable amount of time. This batlle must be won not only by our military forces but by the people of Afghanistan.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  105. Roland, St George, UT

    When was the last time you heard the name Osama Bin Laden mentioned in the same sentence with Afghanistan? I honestly can't remember. And I thought that was why we were there in the first place.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm |
  106. Carolyn Barron

    Hey Jack, what does McCain know he said that the economy was good, not long ago. See where we are today. Thats what the rich republicans think. Pls don't tax the rich they won't buy stock or go out to eat. Let us middle class pay all the taxes>>

    February 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  107. Bruce

    You can't lose a war, you aren't fighting. Ever since Bush and company went into Iraq, the troops in Afghanistan have been in a holding pattern; somewhat like "redheaded stepchildren".
    Now we are refocusing on Afghanistan and should have it cleaned up in a year and a half.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  108. John in Russell Ky

    Forty years ago, we used our troops to support the corrupt government of
    Premier Thieu in Viet Nam. Now, here we are again ,using our troops to defend the corrupt government of President Karzai In Afganistan. We're sending billions to Pakistan that makes deals with the Taliban. Even if we win, I don't think we will have won

    February 27, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  109. Judy in Ontario Canada

    It's a lost cause. It has been a lawless place for ever and if the Russians could pacify the place, no one can. It's sad for the girls and women who don't enjoy freedom. Education is the answer. Not war.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  110. Purnell Kankakee lL.

    When you give your enemy a seven years head start, you will soon find that you have put yourself in a losing position in the war! Bush lied to the country in so many ways and failed to start with a good plan at every level of running the country and the wars that it reminds me of how we lose in Vietnam, with wasted live, money. And time playing political games for personal gain, how else do you explain Bushes statement about his legacy early in his presidency!

    February 27, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  111. Bruce

    McCain has been wrong on everything and is babbling about an unwinnable war. His historic awareness of Russia's experience is lacking.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:53 pm |
  112. Raymond Duke

    Not yet. But you can bet as soon as we pull out of Iraq or lower the number of soldiers there in 2010, it will go to heck in a hand basket. Iran and the Sunnis will make there move. Afghanstan will be lost now. They can smell the cowardice in the air from Obama and the democrats.

    February 27, 2009 at 5:54 pm |