(PHOTO CREDIT: TAUSEEF MUSTAFA/AFP/Getty Images)
FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The U.S. war in Afghanistan by some counts is now the longest war in American history.
It's been 104 months since October 2001 and the start of a hugely popular mission in the aftermath of 9/11.
That's longer than World War II. And that's longer than Vietnam - it was 103 months from the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution to the withdrawal of the last U.S. troops there.
It's worth noting some insist that Vietnam is still the longer war; that American servicemen were taking casualties there as early as 1961 - long before the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.
At first, Afghanistan seemed like a cake walk. Within months, the U.S. had driven the Taliban from the capital city of Kabul. And Kandahar, the headquarters of the terrorist group, was in U.S. sights. In fact, on the one-year anniversary - then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said: "The Taliban are gone. The Al Qaeda are gone."
But instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan we invaded Iraq and now nine years later the Taliban seem more dangerous than ever. President Obama recently ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the war in Afghanistan.
Of course, sadly, that means the deaths of U.S. service members continue... recently passing the 1,000 mark. Yesterday was the deadliest day for coalition forces in Afghanistan this year.
But warfare has changed a lot, and the military death toll in Afghanistan is nowhere near the 58,000 U.S. troops lost in Vietnam or the 400,000 who lost their lives in World War II.
Here’s my question to you: Technically the war in Afghanistan is now America's longest. Has it been worth it?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
John in Cushing, Oklahoma writes:
Jack, We could be at war in Afghanistan for 100 years and the results will be the same: no military victory without the dedication and full cooperation of the Afghan government and its so-called Army. The place is a bottomless pit for American lives and money. I spent 17 months in Vietnam with the Army's 5th Special Forces and I can tell you that winning hearts and minds is a very difficult thing to accomplish. We need to bring our troops home. The Taliban will never give up.
Worth it? Depends on your time frame. Was it worth it to oust the Taliban who harbored bin Laden? Yes. Is it worth it now? Afghanistan is governed by corrupt men who will pass on the government to more corrupt men. No one has ever subdued Afghanistan, and to think we will change the tide of history this time around is naive. We are in a thankless situation and need to gracefully tip our hats, and leave.
Joe in Minnesota writes:
Jack, Many brave soldiers went to Afghanistan in order to take the fight to the enemy. They did this because al Qaeda attacked us. It's plain and simple. If we don't defend ourselves against what happened on 9/11, then when do we defend ourselves? My answer is Yes!
Phil in Washington writes:
Worth it? One American death negates being "worth it". Why, exactly are we still there? To chase the Taliban and al Qaeda around the mountains? To poison the poppy fields? Obviously we haven't learned a lesson from the Russians. Get the hell out. Bring our brave troops home!
It's still too early to judge. I think there is still hope that some form of democracy will come to exist in Afghanistan.
Michael in New Mexico writes:
If you had a vested interest in opium and oil it would be worth it. But, if you believed it was about fighting terrorists, no it is not worth it. If you thought it was about democracy and women's rights, pass whatever you are smoking.
Are any wars worth it?
Unless we solve the underlying issues such as turning a blind eye while Israel practices its apartheid policies towards the Palestinians, keep ruthless and corrupt leaders in the Muslim world on our pay-roll, we are most keep on fighting the war.
Russians tried and lost after 10 years. Now, America has been there over 8 years with no results. We supported and supplied the Taliban when Russia was there. Now, we are fighting the same people and losing American lives for what?
The only industries America seems to have left are war and the fear which drives it, so we can't leave without claiming victory even if there is no victory to be had. I guess it is only fitting that the American empire goes there to die like previous empires have. It is unfortunate that the death of the American empire comes from greed and a political system which is bought and paid for.
I believe only a nuclear threat would have justified Iraq and Afganistan invasions and occupation. No nuclear threats = time to go home. As a conservative republican I believe we need(ed) a policy of active intercept and containment.
Worth it? Depends on your time frame. Was it worth it to oust the Taliban who harbored Bin Laden? Yes. Is it worth it now? Afganistan is governed by corrupt men who will pass on the government to more corrupt men. No one has ever subdued Afghanistan, and to think we will change the tide of history this time around is naive. We are in a thankless situation and need to gracefully tip our hats, and leave.
Hell no its NOT worth it Jack.Ever since President Obama ordered a pullout date i think that seals the deal there is NO WAY in hell they are going to defeat the Taliban and their foreign fighter friends in that time frame.The Taliban has plenty of time and as long as they can continue killing American and NATO troops they will just wait it out.So NO IT IS NOT WORTH IT!
Worth it? One American death negates being "worth it". Why, exactly are we still there? To chase the Taliban and Al Qaeda around the mountains? To poison the poppy fields? Obviously we haven't learned a lesson from the Russians. Get the hell out. Bring our brave troops home!
Jack we could be at war in Afghanistan for 100 years and the results will be the same ..... no military victory without the dedication and full cooperation of the Afghan government and its so called Army. The place is a bottomless pit for American lives and money. I spent 17 months in Viet Nam with the Army's 5th Special Forces and I can tell you that winning hearts and minds is a very difficult thing to accomplish. We need to bring our troops home. The Taliban will never give up ....
No war is worth the price. When will people grow up?
we are so busy saving the world we cannot save ourselves if our lives depended on it
As a Vietnam veteran, 68~69, these wars mean less and less to me and my country. These are ego driven games, brought on by men too cowardly to fight when they were young and their country asked them to go war, but now, when they are too old to phyisally too old to fight they can send the young. We have to ask ourselves is it worth it? What do we expect to gain? Its a drain on our young, our treasury and our standing in the world. No matter what happens while we are there, once we leave it will be the same as it was before we invaded. Pull the troops and use the drones. At least we won't lose any more American lifes.
The problem is that we call it a "war". A war has a clear beginning middle and end. It's also known as a "campaign" I don't know when we began getting wars, operations and battles all to mean the same thing.
Chess ends when the king gets check mate.
No it is not, but not for the reason you may think. We can no longer think of this in terms of a typical "war" of the past. No matter what we do in terms of a traditional battle, the Taliban and Al Queda will walk right back in the moment we leave.
We are not fighting a state. We are fighting a mindset. This is not a "war" as we use to grasp the concept. It is something vastly different, and it calls for different tactics. We still need to determine what tactics are needed, but I do know as long as we continue to think in the old terms of "war", we will always come up the loser. All our enemies need to do is walk away, even cooperate, then go raight back to what they were doing when we leave.
Im sure the liberals will bow their head and walk away in shame.
The country will revert to it's roots once we leave.....regardless of how long we stay.
I believe that President Obama had honorable intentions when he bolstered our troop strength in Afghanistan.He was re-deploying our troops where they should have stayed to begin with before our attentions were diverted to the worthless War in Iraq where we weren't being threatend!!!
In the meantime the Taliban became re-entrenched in Afghanistan.Much of the problem lies in Pakistan which has pockets of the Taliban using that country as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan.
President Obama must appeal to the United Nations to install a force of International special Forces to route out the Taliban and an International peacekeepting force to keep the peace and occupy Afghanistan and oversee free elections.
As a Viet-Nam Veteran speaking on behalf of all veterans the United States can no longer be the policemen of the world. this is why we have the United Nations and NATO. Secondly, we can't afford it!!!
A complete waste of valuable resources.
It is worth it in the sense that Afgahanistan is were we should of been all along. We wasted alot of time and people in Iraq because of weapons of mass destruction that just were not there. Yes, Sadam was very bad but the weapons were just not there less the waste of time. We could of got Bin Ladin without the waste of time in Iraq. After we got Bin Laden we could of went to Iraq to finish Sadam and his sons. Again it is woth it because that is where the scum came from that took down the trade towers.
The Afghanistan war was necessary so yes it was worth it. It was a seriously mismanaged war in that our focus was almost immediately re-directed towards to the utter non-sense in Iraq. Had we put our energies and attention here fully, things might have turned out differently. However, the fact of the matter is that we were attacked by people who were being sheltered in Afghanistan and not going after them wasn't an option.
Yes it's worth it. I remind everybody that THEY attacked us, and their numbers are getting lower a lot quicker than ours are. That is if Islam is truely peaceful and it's "only a few radicals". and If it's not, then we need to escilate it.
Considering the goal was ridding the country of Al Qaeda and Taliban, the long campaign has been a failure. The region of the world consists of the two strongest unifying factors of mankind...religion and tribe, no matter what illusion of peace is brought to the region it will not last. We are told by revisionist history that Alexander is the last to conquer the region, but all he did was kill those that stood against him and married a Bactiran princess to pacify others, the Brits lost, the Russians lost, now the US is repeating the idiocy. Those that disregard history are doomed to repeat it. In plan English that maybe our government will understand, get out before we lose more soldiers than we lost in the 9/11 attacks. Not to include the trillions wasted in the effort.
Actually Jim since we want to get technical and start Vietnam from the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, Vietnam wasn't a war. It was a police action.
O ya the war"s been worth every buck to the fat cats that stopped the draft so they could keep wars going on forever and killing our boys,,all for big boys
There is only a limited military objective for America in Afghanistan: keeping El quida from forming up again as a solid org. Any other objective, keeping a friendly govt. in power, is beyond any military's capacity. It's time to get out responsibly but letting it be known that we'll hang around in sufficient numbers to hit El quida if they regroup in Afghan. or Pakistan–with those countries tacit consent of course, i.e. aid or bribes.
Making it a war instead of a punishment may have been a mistake, but once we had boots on the ground we made a commitment to the Afghan people. So, yes, keeping our commitments is worth the price. Now, can we learn to think before committing?
When Rumsfeld said the Taliban and Al Qaida were gone, had we cleaned up and got out, it would have been worth it. Even without getting Bin Laden though it would have been easier to do it then than now. Unfortunately, by that time President Dub-ya and Vice President Halliburton had finished concocting their smoke screen of lies to invade Iraq and Afghanistan was left unfinished. Now we have this unending mess that has since morphed into a unwinnable conflict that Liz Halliburton repeatedly claims was not her daddy’s fault. It has not been worth it, to answer your question.
Of course the Vietnam War started in 1961. At first there were just a few thousand American "advisors" to the South Vietnam Army. Shortly thereafter there were about 24,000. Just before the Gulf of Tonkin incident there were 86,000 fighting the Viet Cong in the South and conducting special missions in Laos. Then all hell broke out with F-105s and F-4s in Operation Rolling Thunder against the North and an expanded bombing of the Ho Chi MInh Trail in Laos. It was the heaviest bombing campaign ever conducted in any war. We lost. Comparisons must be made with Afghanista – When will we ever learn?
We have no choice-the last administration unthinkably took its eye off the ball and never finished the job-like any other problem you ignore, it only becomes worse. This administration must stay the course, no matter how difficult, or we will just open ourselves up to an even great er threat down the road
A retired Special Forces officer
It is pretty clear that the Obama agenda is the same as Bush's was. Keep growing government, spending lots and lots of tax payer dollars and keep that military industrial complex well funded! I think Halliburton and gang are still making money hand over fist from these wars that Obama promised to end. I see no difference between Bush and Obama.
I must have missed the show, can someone tell me again why we are in Afghanistan?
The war in Afghanistan (and in Iraq for that matter) have definitely NOT been worth the lives and the cost of the effort. Are either of the countries better off? Is the USA better off because of our efforts? We just don't seem to learn that war is not the answer, and that war should ONLY be entered when it is the final option available, AND, there is an imminent threat to the security of the country. If anything, our continue large-scale presence in these two countries has only MOTIVATED terrorists to fight back at us. A few surgical strikes might have been OK, but not a war this long.
Pull out – leave Afghanistan. They will continue to kill each other
as they have for the past 5000 years. Nothing will change. Go Islam!
I really don't think it is worth our troops lives, because it comes down to a religious war and we are not going to change them and we should not be trying to force our beliefs on them. In all these years, if we have helped the women and schools great, but they have to do it themselves, we have taught them, they need to do it or not.
No war is ever worth even one American dead. It's claimed that it's in our interest that we're fighting in Afghanistan. Yes, it was in our interest to go after those reponsible for 9/11 but hasn't that been done yet? President Bush claimed "Mission Accomplished" and I believed him. Did he lie then too? The American people are deserving of having a better life too. Why is it that our politicians are only representing and concerned about those millionaire shareholders of wealthy greedy corporations? Why don't they, our wealthiest Americans, want to pay their rightful share of the wars they get us into?
Absolutly the war in Afghanistan is worth it because the enemy which Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban lie in Afghanistan/Pakistan border, its a big war to deal with but this is the war that President Obama inherited from George W Bush!
Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)
Not worth one life. If we were to list Afghanistan on eBay; what price would it fetch? Not much probably. If we win, what do we win? Why do we continue to attempt to impose our will on other sovereign nations? If someone invaded America there would be more than a Taliban resistance. What Russia experienced should have been a lesson learned; but it was not.
If the war is fought correctly, with out a doubt it is not only worth it, but necessary. The Taliban cannot be allowed to exist and Al Quaeda cannot be allowed to have a home in Afghanistan. Was stopping Hitler worth the cost? At the time, I am sure many liberals and pacifists said no, but in hindsight, I don't think any one, other than a nazi, would argue that stopping Nazi Germany was necessary. The only difference here is that the current war has more serious short term consequences on American soil.
Yes, to the shadow foreign government bankrolling our congress and white house and keeping them on a short leash.
No it has not been worth it, because when we vacate Afghanistan, the government that we leave behind will quickly be overthrown and the country will be the way it was before we started this occupation. This will also be the same for Iraq, the government will be overthrown within a short time after the troops are removed. I think history will show that all the troops that gave their lives will be for nothing. President Bush started this mess and President Obama will not be able to finish it, even if our troops star 208 months.
Well Jack, first of all no war is worthy regardless of the time, yet we have them & just about any war has it's spin & rhetoric, but the Afghanistan War has been far too lengthy for basically two reasons. First, Mr Bush's only concern was to seek vengeance for his father & Afghanistan was his excuse to do that. Second, with Iraq being the primary focus for Bush, the strategies for Afghanistan were lacking, and so were the resources, and now America is paying for that financially & with more U.S. lives than perhaps would have been if we had focused where we should have been focused. We need complete our task there without regard for time & resources, and then as a nation we should put Mr Bush on trial for lying to America & abusing the power of the Oval Office for his own selfish agendas!
how can any student of history not learn their lessons from this region? the british, the soviets,and now the u.s. have had their butts kicked by this country! there is no winning in this area. let them kill each other off, and just protect the borders, if the afghanis aren't willing to find some kind of peaceful solution to their endless tribal conflicts...
I believe that in Fall 2001 we should have told the Taliban that we were setting up a large operations area to capture the perpetrators of 9/11, and we would recommend that they not interfere with us. Had they then interfered we would have had a much better justification for overthrowing the Afghan government. As it is now we look to the Afghan population like the powerful foreigner who occupied the country because it sheltered people we didn't like and will someday go back home and leave behind a giant power vacuum. The Taliban are local, and like the Vietnamese and Iranians after Khomeni, they have influence because they fought the "foreigners", and they are strategically positioned to reacquire power when we leave. The USA is in a bad situation, and we have been there before. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Of course its worth it.
The Iraq War and Afghan War are the same war, just in different countries. Both were preemptive, both costs precious American lives, neither had WMDs, both are largely nation building efforts costing us hundreds of billions while our debt balloons to incomprehensible magnitudes, neither country's government was a direct threat to us but both were filled with terrorists.
The only difference is that when Bush was in charge, the Iraq war was supposedly cause for national outrage according to the Democrats. When Obama escalates the same war in a different country, the left turns a blind eye.
It just goes to show that the entire feined outrage that monopolized the media from 2003-2007 was completely partisan and disengenious.
It has not been worth it, because what we have put into the effort – 1,000 lives now, countless billions of dollars, and almost 9 years of trying, have yielded few tangible results. Maybe Rumsfeld did consider that, one year in, the Taliban and Al Quaeda were "gone", but that is far from the case now. Since militants can just scoot back over that Pakistani border to disappear whenever they feel like it, with little recourse from us other than drone strikes (which make us seem even more inhuman when they take out civilians) we'll never fully root them out. The effort has to be picked up by the Afghans themselves, and it does not look like that will happen. Jimmy in NC has it correct, their culture will revert back to what they know and are comfortable with once we're gone. Our efforts will not result in a permanent, good result.
Its embarassing to see our troops fighting for everyone except those who really need them ....US! They need to protect THIS country. Bring them home and put them where we need them....on the southern border! Isnt that their real job? To protect OUR country?
War is not worth a plugged nickle. With that said, I ask you a question: Is New York City or anytown USA worth keeping safe from an extremist enemy bent on destroying it? Islamic radicals have placed down the challenge, they will never negotiate, never surrender, they will continue fighting and killing until they win. There is a clue in that statement, someone wants to win and it appears it isn't us. I think that may answer my question.
Seems like a very high price to pay in American Lives and American Taxpayers money to babysit Oil and Gas pipelines traveling thru Afghanistan and the CIA's interest in the enormous Opium-Heroin business in Afghanistan.
So what is the alternative to US troop deployment there? The Taliban rebuilds and the country becomes a base for terrorist again? I think there all savages, but what can we do?
No, it has NOT been worth it. We cannot afford to be the world's policeman anymore. We need to get our own house in order. We should be withdrawing from Afghanistan, not increasing our forces there. Let NATO and other countries take over. It's not our battle.
Is Afghanistan worth it? You tell me Jack.. what have we gained so far? From what I can see, nothing.
No. The people do not appreciate what we're doing for them. Why are we there? It's time to stop this philosophy of liberating the world especially for people who don't want us there. The cost of the longest war is financial as well. Just once why can't we spend war budgets on our own people?
We had no choice but to enter Afghanistan, and since we are already there, might as well get the job done. But the real question is: Can we do it?
Anyone with half a brain has to realize we are funding all the warring factions in Afghanistan – the corrupt government, the warlords, the contractors, the Taliban. We are feeding all the beasts. The only way the conflict ends is if we get out. We have nothing to gain in Afghanistan, and it is bankrupting us, like it did the Soviet Union.
Worth it? Hell, no. We went in there to get Bin Laden. We didn't get him. That should have been the end of it.
Heck Yea. Don't people remember that we were attacked? I know a few people do, like Giuliani.
Repeatedly screaming NO!!!!! doesn't quite cover it. How many dead, wounded, and maimed for the sake of a fallacy. Oil there oil here and a country whose economy is going down in flames for the sake of more oil.
Yes, we have prevented the nuts from overthrowing the Pakistan Government and seize the nuclear weapons which the Pakistan now have. It's worth it.
NO, it is NOT worth it!!!!
At least, not to most Americans. It IS worth it to those who are getting rich on the war, like the defense contractors who we hear about on a regular basis.
I hear people on a daily basis griping about the budget deficit, the bad economy, the fact that this country is either bankrupt or nearly so. If we got out of Afghanistan and Iraq, maybe we could balance the budget! And fund the health care reforms, some decent schools, and maybe even pay CHINA what we owe them before they call in the notes!
If Bush hadn't gone off to "liberate" the oil in Iraq the war may have been over by now. It has to be seen to the end with Bin Ladin either dead or captured otherwise the lives lost for have been for nothing.
The C.I.A gave the Taliban money and arms, were do you think the Taliban got the capability to take down a Russian helicopter? In Vietnam we lost over 65000 U.S soldiers What a immoral ,mistake that was. Here my question to you ,Is it form of terrorism when our unman airplans kill the wife and all his children are we becoming the terrorist ?
I believe the only reason we are in both "wars"is because there are not jobs back here in the states for military personnel should they return–hell, there are not jobs for millions who have lost work. So rather than bringing the troops home and increase the economic turmoil, both Bush and Obama keep them over there in a "war" that we will never win.
I don't know if it's worth it, but given that the U.S. fueled Afghanistan's war with the former Soviet Union and helped to give rise to the very insurgent/rebel culture we are fighting now, we owe it to them. We made the Taliban. It's up to us to unmake it.
The terrorists are dirty scum. they chose to engage in acts against the american people and therefore they forfeited their rights to be people and their human rights. the lose of american life is always said but it was necessary because their sacrifice has protected this country from a horrible evil that is the lowest form of life. Terrorists should be captured, stripped of their rights as humans and killed for their intensions of crimes against humanity.
If we had focused on those who attacked us, the Afghanistan war would be over. Already we are seeing much more progress under the current administration.
Originally the CIA had a better approach and if we had followed their ideas, it would be over with a lower deficit than we have now.
The question of "was it worth it?" is ridiculous. We were attacked, had we done nothing, we would be openning the door for consequence free terrorism. Was it worth it that we struck back at Japan after they attacked us? The situation is diffent, but war is all the same, people killing people.
Killeen, Tx-–currently Iraq
3,000 citizens were killed on 9/11 and 1,000 have been killed in Afghanistan. So we've allowed another third of the disaster to happen again. Like they say, an eye for an eye and everyone goes blind. Bring our troops home.
The war in Afghanistan IS NOT WORTH THE LIVES AND COST.
Ask all those in the past that tried to change the culture of that land and not one will claim it was the best thing to do. The idea was to go in and kill or capture the people responsible for 9/11 not rule the nation. Check with the USSR and see how impossible that becomes. By the way, haven't the people we were seeking more on to new territory.
no, the cost in american lives and money is being wasted. They will keep fighting until they bleed us to death financially and in human lives. Leave now .
Excluding WWl and WWll has any war been worth it? I think not.
Peace in the Middle East will NEVER become a reality due to millennia old religious quarrels...knowing that, an American war in that region is completely WORTHLESS...so, why the hell is Washington STILL spending hundreds of billions of dollars for these wars...our government is destroying our Great Nation.
Afghanistan is so obscure to the American way of life.
I spent a year in Vietnam and saw for myself the ravages of war. The history of mankind IS war.We make the bombs, planes, guns and caskets. 1000 deaths is peanuts.. just look at deaths in the USA from tobacco. I quit butts 41 years ago and booze 25. I have survived all three at age near 68!
Our Brave Men and Women in the military have been asked to do a job in these countries that was suppose to be related to keeping America safe.
9 years later is PLAINLY clear the Reason we are there is to attack the part of the world that is not using the western banking system.
Bring our troops home now!
Close 100 of the 150 overseas bases we maintain in the name of freedom that only benefit the Banks and their Congressional Minnons.
Spend the billions here in America housing and training here and help our economy.
STOP the WARS Bring the MONEY home NOW!
The photo that accompies this story reveals the difficulty of accepting the "war." A fully armed soldier is conducting a military operation (whatever it may be) while a young, nicely dressed young man is liesurely strolling down the street. Hard to see where the "war" is going on.
Is it worth it? That depends Jack...
How much has it cost so far? Does anyone know the current pricetag? Does that include the medical costs of our wounded?
How should I know ? I have lost no one close and nothing but a few tax dollars. It's a mess that SOMEONE needs to clean up...and we need to keep Al Qaeda on the run. What bothers me is that we are spending lives and treasure hunting bad guys in Afghanistan while Corporate meatheads and Wall Street dingbats do the kind of damage to our country that Al Qaeda can only dream about doing.
No, but bigger issue is: Why aren't South Koreans, Iraquis, Afghanis, Japanese, etc, etc, etc, dying for their own countries instead of us dying for them? While we're at it, why are we footing the bills for Israeli incursions into Palestine or paying $600K to Palau to take 6 Uighars? I've been out of work for two years...where's my $100k?
It depends on who you ask. If you were to ask the war machine (Hallaburten, General Dynamics, Etc) the ones making all the money they would say sure. But what about all the deaths of all our young men and our financial well being. We are hated over in the Middle East more now than ever. We have not solved a thing. The only thing we have done is make the rich richer in this country.
Having returned from Afghanistan in December of '09, I would have to say "no". The initial stages of the war seemed as if it was worth it. However, the new "winning the hearts and minds of the Afghan people" reason for staying entreched in this war is not worth the loss of precious American and NATO forces lives. I spoke with many Afgan civilians while on my tour, and they also told me we are wasting our time, money, and lives on a losing battle.
As opposed to Iraq, entering Afghanistan was not a war of choice, but more of necessity. Has the "mission" been successful? Not yet. Hopefully it will. Could it have been managed better? Ask the former "War" Presdient.
I believe that the war is Afghanistan is unfortunately worth fighting. I am heartened to see that it is not being done with the hubris of Iraq, but with a humility about the collateral damage it causes.
Jack – I'm a Vietnam era U.S. Army infantry veteran and don't think for a minute that either commitment (Iraq or Afghanistan) would have found the political support needed to pursue the courses we've been on for almost 10 years. I also traveled overland through Afghanistan in 1977 - an experience that has left me feeling we don't have a clue what we are doing there - on any level, however good the intentions.
Tucson, AZ – The people we are fighting in Afghanistan are either directly or indirectly responsible for five distinct acts of war against the people of the United States, and the killing of between three and four thousand of our people in those acts. Had we finished in Afghanistan in 2003 instead of going into Iraq, this would have been over years ago. If we do not finish in Afghanistan this time, the enemy will be back, again, and there will be more attacks on the US and its citizens both abroad and at home. The fact that this is both difficult and expensive, and that it has cost another thousand American lives so far, is no excuse for not finishing the job properly this time, restoring the status quo ante to Afghanistan, faciitating the emergence of a free and prosperous Iraq, then pulling most US troops out of the region when done. We cut and ran from Lebanon in 1984, and this is the price we pay now to rectify that mistake.
We Lost that war the minute BUSH learned to pronounce the word Iraq.
I do not think the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq are "winnable"!
You can fight an army with tanks and guns, you can not fight an ideology in that manner. You need to change the hearts and minds of
No war for non deserving people is worth it. Afganiston will never graduate from tribal status for the next 100 years.
CNN's crawl line tells us that 16 Afghan schoolgirls have been poisoned. Sounds like not much has changed there. So the real question is: Has WHAT been worth it?
There is no military solution to the "so called war" in Afghanistan, therefore, the U.S. should have removed all troops when the new administration took office. The U.S. can't wage an ant-terrorism campaign by invading a country whose people see us as infidels.
From New York...
Jack the best way to describe winning in Afghanistan is like having a clean shave in the morning and thinking the hairs wouldn’t grow back. We should know that this is a religious war. We cannot achieve a total victory unless we thinking of taking over their government and creating a new religion for them and a new way of life for them also. That will never happen. Help me tell our president to stop chasing shadows and bring our troops back.
No war is worth the human cost! I wish more people complained about the enormous investment we make in all these wars. Let's use that money on the home front for real jobs.
No, The War in Afghanistanhas not been worth it. It has cost money, resources and lives. We have not even accomplished the main goal which was to capture and arrest those responsible for 9-11. We need to leave NOW.
Afghanistan was a necessary war. However, we did not finish it when
we had chance to do it.
It is still a necessary war but I do not know if we can ever win it.
This question should be asked of those who started the Iraq war.
They are responsible for this dangerous situation our Nation is
You must be kidding.
Nothing about this war makes even the slightest bit of sense. We originally went there, it was my understanding, to find Usama Bin Laden. Now here we are in the midst of a nation building project in a country where we are not welcome. Since our arrival, drug exports have also been reported to be at record levels.
Obama was elected to stop this madness. Instead, he expanded the war there with no clear objective or strategy. This is something he had better change and soon, or he can forget about getting another vote from me.
No, it is definitely not worth it. Unfortunately, this war has been mishandled from the beginning. We should have gone in, done the job, and got the heck out. But no, we have to play nice. It's not fair to our troops to tie their hands in war. The Taliban does not play nice, nor will they ever. Now that a pullout date has been announced, they will bide their time and once we are out of there, they will pick up where they left off. And unfortunately, that war will be brought back to our home turf. Remember 9-11? They don't care where they have to go to attack us nor do they care about innocent casualties. Our government needs to wake up. War is war. Either finish it now or hand America to them on a silver platter.
No this is not a war that is not worth while. Now we know why the national debt is so high. I as an Afghan think this is enough bloodshed in my country.
Your kidding, not even close. The whole idea for the war was getting those who caused '911'. Has that been done? NO! It could be said the terrorists are even stronger. So, until Bin Lauden etc. are either on trial or dead, then they are winning.
Whether it was worth it or not depends on what you are referring to. For America definitely not. For the military/industrial complex well worth it. Remember president Eidenhower's warning of the military/industrial complex? We shouldn't have any problem understanding what he was talking about now. These wars are about making money because anyone with an IQ in the positive range knows you cannot fight terrorism with a conventional army.
Before you ask such a stupid question answer this. How many lives have benn saved in America by the fact that Al-Qeida may have been hampered in operational terroist activities in U.S.? Any thoughts that you have about knowing anything about the results of doing nothing prove your dilusional state of mind.
..hmmm 58,000 U.S. troops lost in Vietnam, 400,000 in World War II.
thousands in IRAQ and Afghanistan is it worth it you ask?... Don't ask me, ask the ones that have given their lives or the loved ones they left behind.
No, not worth the American lives. Not worth the American expense.
I believe that the war is Afghanistan is unfortunately worth fighting. I am heartened to see that it is not being done with the hubris our invasion of Iraq, but with more humility about the collateral damage war causes.
Jack, I do not consider this to be a war, but rather a venture into foolhardiness. When you fight a war, you go in with every available resource and every bit of manpower needed to get the job done in the shortest amount of time. In WWII, I signed up on 8 December 1941 and was called to active duty on 29 January 1942. I served in the U.S. Army and the USAF until I retired in April 1963. In WWII, we had 16 million men and women in all branches of the service. We knew what our job was and how to do it. The civilians at home gave us the 110% support in our munitions factories and our plants that turned out aircraft, ships, tanks and materiel. This bunch in the Pentagon are dreamers. They no nothing of history or they would realize that Afganistan has never been taken by anyone, not even the Afgans themselves. This escapade is not worth one ounce of American blood.
Jesse in Texas
Bush prolonged the war in Afghanistan by adapting policies not based on governance but politics. This include his invasion of Iraq and continuous support for Pakistan. If they were to serve American interest and defeat Taliban they should have not attack a sovereign Iraq.
No Jack we are not winning anything. This is similar to a game of "Whack a Mole". We smack one down and two more come back. We are fighting an ideology which is a war against ideals not a war against right or wrong. Just as you Jack believe what you want these people believe what they want and there is nothing on this earth that is going to change that. Not bullets. not money and not all the brave men or women in the world. You can not fight a warped mind set no mater how hard you try.
Bring our soldiers home now !! leave that pile of dirt to that corrupt worthless Karzai.
"War has no winners. A history of war only evokes pictures of mass destruction, plunder, uprooting of houses, buildings and entire civilisations. There is something sinister and eerie shrouding war and no amount of righteous rationalisation can ever justify the cause for starting a war." People die on both sides of any war.How can you call the dead winners? One lost life is one too many!
Bush prolonged the war in Afghanistan by adapting policies not based on governance but politics. This include his invasion of Iraq and continuous support for Pakistan. If they were to serve American interest and defeat Taliban they should have not attack a sovereign Iraq.
Sam from Texas
It would have been worth it had Bush not gone after both Afghansitan and Iraq, because of his stupidity the rewards so far have been few and far between. Now that Obama has the us back on track hopefully the rewards will be quickly forthcoming.
We will not know if it was truly worth the cost until it is over.
If the Taliban and al Qaeda have no where to hide in Afghanistan and there is a stable, peaceful government in place, then it was probably worth it.
However, if we just pull out with no stability in Afghanistan, then the war was not worth the cost.
Nation building is a very tricky business. It requires the nation being built to want change, which I do not believe most Afghans desire. It also requires a charismatic leader for the citizenry to rally around such as DeGaulle in France after WWII. Unfortunately, when the head of the Northern Alliance was killed just as the Afghanistan war was getting underway, we lost the likely candidate for charismatic leader. I do not believe that Karzai was even the second best choice and has shown to be not the best replacement.
We lost that war when we didn't send in aide and help and give direction to the region when the Russians pulled out. We helped them defeat the Russians and then we left the region to collapse. No wonder they had years of poverty to build a hatered for us. GET OUR FOLKS OUT "NOW"!
I'm sorry, but it will never be worth the cost. I could have told you on the first day of the war what was going to happen and I can tell you now who will run Iraq and Afganistan when the US finally picks up and comes home. The ruler of these countries will be the person with the most guns and the most bullets and with willingness to use them just like it has been since the beginning of time.
As a veteran of a previous war that had killed way more American soldiers in a shorter amount of time, I say yes. War is a necessary evil and if we didn't take our eye off the prize to go attack Iraq which had nothing to do with 9/11, we would be done by now and this question would not even be asked. God Bless America... We really need it.
Democracy and freedom, what a crock. Americans love the military and have to have some place to go play with their guns and rockets. They should stand alone in their imperialistic endeavours.
Of course it's worth it. The Baby Boomer's may not have the stomach for a long war, but their children's generation does. Having served in Iraq as US Marine- seeing good we did there the US can not leave Afghanistan high and dry. To the people that say: if the USSR and UK couldn't do it the USA has no chance. The USA is not those counties. The USA is there to help, not conquer.
We should have stayed in Afghanistan and finished the job rather than jumping over to Iraq. My main concern is the loss of lives this decond time around is going to cost American parents,wives,sisters,brothers,and children. Once agian the American people are paying the cost for Bush and Cheney's greed and folly.
For the people that PLANNED it beforehand and pulled off 9/11 so Americans would agree to go there, they are rolling in the money hand over fist. The Trans-Afghanistan pipelines are rolling along and the oil and natural gas will be flowing dollars to those same people. The same people have made BILLIONS in military contracts supplying weapons to American troops. It's been damn well worth it to THOSE people. It hasn't made a hill of beans to the United States, but for the international elite that had a hand in this from day one, they are well on their way to the Global Government that this plan is moving to. People need to open their eyes and see it for what it's worth. The "War on Terror" has been a fraud from day one. It was started to justify the military incursion into the region just so they could support the oil infrastructure (pipelines) and gain a foothold on the most important geopolitically strategic area in the entire world at this time. The entire operation is based on securing oil and building forward military bases all under the pretense of a "War on Terror" that chases terrorists from nation-to-nation with no end in sight. Essentially, the PERFECT war. To the people that planned it, it's been an overwhelmingly PROFITABLE venture, indeed!!!
There are 13 commens before mine. All of them said NO. I agree. Time has come to leave this country to its own demise. Enough blood has been shed by Americans.
No! It was not worth it then or now. If you consider that this country was at that time out for revenge. Which is never a good reason to do anything. At the start of this war the government said that it would cost 400 million with minimal casualties, that did not happen. We could have done other things that could and have prevented future attacks on this country without going to war. Instead we have become a country that is being torn apart from within because of our lust for blood. Bin laden said that he would destroy this country economically and look what happened. The worst economic depression in the countries history. This happened because we are focued on war and not on the country. We have to be smarter than those who are trying to do us harm. This war is not the way.
The longest U.S. war is the " Drug War". How could a 40 year old war that takes place in this country and abroad everyday be so overlooked Jack?
I do not think Oresident Obama would have STARTED the war in Afghanistan or anywhere in the Middle East. He inherited the mess and the pressure from the military. The consequences of this war, like all wars are heartbreaking and he knows it. He cannot abruptly stop it, all he can do is impose a withdrawal date...the sooner the better. Of course, this war, or any war, is not worth the sacrifices in human lives nor the cost, we all agree. Our country could use the military manpower, training and talents right here on our soil to help and protect all of us. I am sure President Obama is well aware of this.
Jacqueline. San Diego, CA
NOT WORTH IT. Why should a trillion dollar military be in another country halfway around the world, fighting small tribal gangs that we call terrorists? Defend the homeland by being in the homeland. If we leave and Afghanistan falls to the Taliban again, then I really question the people of Afghanistan's will to fight for something as sacred as freedom.
it was not worth it. No declaration of War was made. A war is fought to win. You are supposed to use every available resource and every bit of manpower needed to get the job done in the shortest amount of time. This was not done. More like a police action. If war was declared with Afghanistan, it would have been over in less than 6 months
Well, if we have learned anything from history, no. The Taliban were the residual fighting forces left from the failed invasion of the Russians. Afghanistan will never benefit from Coalition forces being there. The war is entirely to complex for conventional force to effect any change.
The Afghan war may have been worth it and winnable had we gone in there with a real agenda, a real goal, and a real timeline. Instead we took our eye off the ball, and now we are in a lose-lose situation whether we stay or get out. Bush #1 had the right idea – get in, get out, don't occupy (Iraq). Bush #2 should have read the playbook from his dad. Now what do we do and what are we still trying to accomplish?
The Afghan war stopped being worth it the instant we took our eyes off the ball and invaded Iraq. We were very close to killing or capturing bin Laden in 2001, but as Dalton Fury pointed out in his book "Kill bin Laden", Delta Force was not given support to cut off escape routes to Pakistan, or even mine the escape routes from the air. This while radio intercepts indicated bin Laden had been wounded. Yet again, our men and women in uniform were let down by politicians in the Pentagon and White House.
Of course the war hasn't been worth it, Jack
The war in Afghanistan will go down in history as utterly worthless as the War of 1812 or the Mexican War.
Worth it? Depends on whom you ask. I'm sure Dick Cheney and his cronies that held stock in Haliburton think it was worth it. I'm sure all of the huge companies getting rich on oil and military contracts think it was worth it.
But are we safer than we were? Hardly. All this war has done is create a certainty in the minds of certain Muslim faction that the West is just as evil as they imagined and make it much easier to recruit suicide bombers. The entire region is in upheaval. New splinter groups arise every day that hate us for our ideology while a 1000 young people who would have gladly served their country for a worthwhile cause have died needlessly.
Just as with the burgeoning environmental disaster in the gulf we treat a cause that does not exist to aid the wealthy and ignore the catastrophe we should have addressed.
Jack – Absolutely not. We are way past the stone age mentality of having to control all the world's resources, but the clowns in charge(Rockefellers and their private detective agency the CIA) have not gotten the memo. No one supports this imperial control of so many countries or all the killings the corporations require for that control. The citizens of the world demand a change. No more wars – even against Iran!
No its not Jack! The US have lost too many young men and women and the economy is in shambles! What guarantees are there that when the US does pull out that stability will reign? The Taliban and Al Quaeda will come to the fore again once the pull out is official, what do we do then, send the troops in and fight again, with what money??? Its a lost cause!
It would have been, Jack, had Bush and Cheney not been so focused on taking out Saddam, who was our only barrier against Iran, I might add. So not only did they bork up who Iran was focused on, they borked up finishing the job in Afghanistan. We're never going to finish the job there. Instead, our troops will come home knowing that the job they did will be for nothing unless Karzai can step up to the plate and stop Afghanistan from becoming an Iranian proxy state while also stopping the Taliban from destroying all the hard work we've put into that failure of a democracy.
I remember, during the Vietnam war, that many people thought war was good for the economy. It it possible that was some of the thinking behind this one?
I also remember Bush speaking out during an interview during the early days of this current war saying something to the effect that "he tried to kill my daddy". Which makes me believe that this was not purely a defensive act but one also of revenge.
I am all for getting rid of the Osama Bin Laden and company, but I think we are way beyond that now. We need more covert and less overt.
Until we have the good sense to get out the Middle East completely, (and I mean completely, no taking sides in its conflicts and offloading our so-called allies such as Israel), we can't allow Afghanistan to become a terrorist haven and that means it is "worth it."
No, the Bush war (and now Obama war) in Afghanistan and Iraq has not been worth it. We would have saved lives, particularly those of our military, and avoided all the other trials and turmoils associated with this mess had we spent post 911 resources overhauling and reinforcing the security of our borders.
Never have been, Never will be. Period.
I definitely believe that this war is not worth fighting for anymore. We just passed the 1,000 mark in U.S. casualties there and there seems to be no end in sight to this war on terror. We've been hunting down Bin Laden for almost a decade now and still haven't found him. We don't even know if he's still alive or not. The longer this goes the more people will get angry about it not only in the U.S. but overseas as well. Bringing the troops home and protecting our borders is far more important than trying to find all of them in foreign countries and risk losing more and more service men and women.
Unfortunately I have to say that whether or not we think it is worth it is not the question. The real question is once we pull out will we have to go back in 10 15 or 20 years just as we did in Iraq. Unfortunately I have to say, we have to stay till the job is done no matter how long it takes so that we are not back there again
Steve From MA.
The War in Afghanistan is one that will not come with any sense of a traditional victory. Our military is not fighting a standing army but an entire nation of people who are being recruited into the ranks of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters. How can you defeat an enemy that is willing to sacrifice its own soldiers in suicide attacks? As long as these radical factions can keep dipping into the civilian population and get them to cling to some false sense of idealogy in return for their commitment this war is not going to end. The money that has been wasted on this war could have sent millions of grads to college or gone to the nation's infrastructure. We have enough domestic policy issues here at home and spending another 600 billion is not going to help solve them at all. We're fighting for vengenace, we're not initially there to liberate those people or help rebuild their country. We're there to kill all the bad guys. Thats it. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the men and women over seas right now but its not worth their blood and never was or will be. All wars are an abomination and inhibit the growth of the human race as a whole.
Our 100 thousand plus Army chasing Bin Laden around all the caves makes us look so foolish. Come home – he may already be here since the Southern border is still open.
It depends Jack. If you are Bush, yes. If you are anyone else with a little common sense, NO.
Jack: There is no simple Yes or NO answer. This world is very complex & much is based on religion, culture, life style, business & domination. If every country lives by itself & let live the countries alne, then It is a great world. But, this is not a reality.
Sorry Jack, the Iraq war is the longest war in American history. We invaded Iraq in 1991 and have had a military presence ever since. We have been bombing Iraq on a daily basis since 1991. Thats 20 years and counting. The 2003 'invasion' of Iraq was more of a re-invasion. As far as your question- is it worth it? Well, if your a multi billion dollar defense contractor the answer is yes. Just like Vietnam, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are not being fought to be won, they are being fought to be sustained, so those multi-billion dollar defense contractors can make their cash. We are commiting genocide, not fighting wars. The last time I checked those 9-11 hijackers were from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Only if it becomes part of the United States. Otherwise it will revert soon after we leave.
well im all for a war against terrorism. Never the less we have been involved with afganistan long before 2001.(Dont Forget that the Reagan Administration had Donald Rumsfeild, George Bush Sr., and Sen. Charlie Rose active in the pushout of russian forces) I think we will be involved long after the media forgets to mention it on thier message ticker. Seems to me that we as a nation are not really informed on the situation of the wars we are involved in . GOD BLESS AMERICA because we need it 🙁
No, it's not worth any more than Vietnam was. We gained nothing, the people did not want us. Same with Afghanistan. If those folks want change, let them do it. Americans did not agree with the King of England in 1776 and against all odds we won.
No way. The Russians there for 10 years, U.S. there for 8+ years.
We could all be there for another 50 years and nothing would change in that godforsaken pile of dirt. The whole Middle East is just a pile of dirt – occupied by dirtbags. Obama better get us out of there, or he does not get my vote for sure. Of course, we kill over 30,000 people a year here in the good 'ol U.S. of A with guns (mostly murders), so what does 5,000 soldiers killed over the last 8 year in this boondoggle really mean. Over the past 8 years, about 240,000 people have been killed with guns in the U.S. Sounds more like WE are the terrorists. We are terrorizing ourselves for god's sake.
Absolutely not worth it!
Why we did not pay for it. We put the costs on the national debt. If taxpayers had to pay as we go. They would revolt.
Afghanistan is not a nation but a loose collection of war lords and poppy growers. What is in that for the United States ? NOTHING
But corporate/military/congressional gougers love it. So on it goes. The human citizens be damned !.
For those who think this war is not worth it, you should revisit history 22 years ago. We supported the Mujahidin fractions against the Soviet and once the Soviets withdrew, we had a chance to solve the Afghan issue for good. Instead we abandoned a devastated country and its people who fought our war with the Soviets.
It seems that Conservatives start wars in Afghanistan and Liberals don't care. We are failing in the Afghan war because we had a failed policy to begin with. Once we had the Taliban and Al Qaida on the run, we should have turned towards Pakistan and taken out all the Al Qaida and Taliban hideouts there. Instead we gave blank checks to both Musharaf and Karzai.
Bottom Line: The war is worth it, do NOT abandon Afghanistan again, or another 9/11 will be inevitable.
I think it was imperative that we went into Afghanistan in 2001 to try to kill or capture as many al-Qaeda as we could. The heads of Osama bin-Laden and Zawahiri would have been priceless. We went wrong when we took on the Taliban. We gave them a well-deserved whuppin' in the initial days of the war because they were guilty of aiding and abetting al-Qaeda. Then we should have turned around and made a deal with them to go after al-Qaeda, who after all were mostly foreign-born agitators. The Taliban could be on our side right now, won over with gold or territorial promises. With the Taliban on our side, we could have turned Afghanistan, basket case that it was, to our advantage, and made al-Qaeda, at least in that part of that world, an extinct species. As it's going now, with no clear-cut objective, this war of attrition can never be won. Also, I know we Americans don't like to talk about money in cases like this, but we cannot simply afford to carry on this war.
No No No. Since when are the brave men and women of our military
disposable. We do not even know why we are there. WE have no mission. Bring our troops home. We never should have went there.
What are we fighting for?
I have to retreat back to an old saying "something worth having is worth fighting for" and I don't see anything in Afghan worth fighting for unless the plan is to kill everyone there.
Jack, no matter how long we stay in Afghaniston, the Talaban will be
staying longer. In fact, forever. We had our chance during the first month
we attacked. Time to leave "hell enough" alone.
Jack, of course it is not worth it...so sad , so many of our beautiful young men and women been killed and so injured...so silly to say fight them over there so they won't come here...they are already here...bring them home and TAKE CARE OF THEM....I remember WW2 and the the things we gave up for our men and women.....no one has asked us to do anything,such as ration, more taxes...nothing..sad, sad
I dont think we should have gone to Iraq period. It would have been a nice dream to avenge 9/11, capture Bin Laden,and bring him to justice. Free the Afghani people from the Taliban,all those wonderful noble causes, but that isnt going to happen. We need to exit ASAP.
There are no longer clear advantages or results in waging war. Terrorism has changed the rules of engagement, the rules of the Geneva Convention. The term 'Talibanistan' has been used lately in regards to Afghanistan and Pakistan. It's a culture, a fundamental belief that they are oppressed by Western countries, e.g. the United States. Unless the culture is changed, there is no clear objective to this war. With no objective, there's no reason to be there. Bring our troops home, and let Afghanistan and Pakistan deal with their own oppressors, the Taliban and Al-Queda.
It is just a waster of money and time. Corruption, in all levels and scenarios in that and other tribal backwards countries, will never be worth the money or time, from any other country.
First, of all they should totally destroy all the illegal poppy fields, and plant food. As long as the political arena is the same old way of thinking, it will never change.
Again, a TOTAL WASTE OF INTERNATIONAL MONEY, TIME, AND LIVES!
It is a silly war with no clear victory defined. Bring the troops home. Let them kill themselves like they are doing for centuries. Not our business. The 9/11 terrorists come from Saudi Arabia, Germany and they do not train flying 727 in Afganistan.
If we were making progress, it would be worth it. But were not, and it's time to bring the troops home.
We couldn't win politically in Viet Nam as we couldn't gain the support of the people. Same situation in Afganistan. Karzai is in power threatening to join up with the Taliban. Let him do it, its time to pull out. Our objectives are too complex and unattainable. My sympathy is with the Afgan common folk having to live under warlords and the Taliban.
Ash Fork, Az.
The Afghan war is just another example of the faulted Bush-Cheny administration. Soldiers killed, oil pollution; who needs it?
This war would’ve long been over if the US had follow the right policy. Replacing the brutal regime of Taliban with some of biggest criminals of Afghanistan and International Human Law was definitely not right. All it would have took is a little research into the Afghan history (specifically 1992-1996).
Even if today we implement some bold actions by bringing some of these Warlords to the International Court of Justice, we will be seen as liberators once again and we will be able to declare victory in this war.
The war in Afghanistan is absolutely necessary. If not for the bungling manner in which that the Bush adminstration handled the war initially, we might actually be out of there. However, they gooned it so we are still there, and need to remain there until the Taliban and its supporters are destroyed. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.
Yes it has, and it probably have been over years ago if Bush would have kept the focus on the this war instead of starting another pointless one.
we never won in vietnam,never won in korea and we will never,never win in afganistan.ive mentioned this on this subject many times. all we do is kill our americans, expand our national debt. with the money we spend there we could fix our infrastructure, put people back to work, help pay for our health care for our legal citizens. bring the troops home, station them along our borders ports etc and pay them decent wage to protect us.. BRING THE TROOPS HOME!!! YESTERDAY
No, it isn't worth it. If Bush had finished it and stayed away from Iraq, it would have ended a long time ago. We did not need to be in Iraq at all. The only one that made tons of money from it is Halliburton.
The people from Iraq would have been much better off with their President. They had homes and business and could go out on the street without being afraid of being killed, unlike today.
Let's not blame President Obama for this mess.
In a word, NO.
These wars are all the same. It begins with the 'good guys' (almost always the conservatives) fighting the 'bad guys'. And it's very seductive: it seems like a small weight will tip the scale in favor of the good guys and, without the 'small weight' we propose to add, disaster will result. So, we add a 'small weight' but it isn't enough; we add more & more but it's never enough. It's like the police responding to a domestic disturbance: it seems like a simple matter to calm or outline the consequences to the 'perp', but the officer often finds the parties suddenly united against him/her and it's one of the most dangerous calls they must respond to.
It seems like we are losing because the very nature of war has changed. It probably seemed to the Allies in the First World War that they were losing because they weren't gaining any ground. In reality, they were bleeding Germany dry and won in the end.
The main objective is to prevent the Taliban from winning. We win so long as they don't win. It's a weird way to fight a war but that is what is going on here. So long as the Taliban and Al Quaida can't control Af-Pak and launch attacks against the West, the US in particular, we are winning because we are achieving our objective and denying them theirs.
Welcome to 21st Century warfare-where winning seems like losing because all you are fighting for is preventing something. What a world...