July 19th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Is the war in Afghanistan really worth it?


U.S. troops carry a wounded Afghan National Army soldier to a U.S. Army MEDEVAC helicopter in Qandahar, Afghanistan. (PHOTO CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Nearly nine years into the war in Afghanistan... and it seems there are more questions than ever about what exactly the U.S. is doing over there.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Afghanistan to lead the American delegation to the Kabul Conference.

The Afghan government is supposed to talk at this international meeting about how it will tackle a deteriorating security situation and crack down on corruption.

But even as the U.S. has added tens of thousands of troops to Afghanistan - last month was the deadliest since the start of the war for international forces. 103 coalition troops were killed, and militants keep attacking every day.

The Obama administration says it will review its Afghan strategy later this year; but there are growing concerns from all corners about where we're headed.

Democratic Senator John Kerry says it's not clear the administration has a solid strategy; and Republican Senator Richard Lugar is criticizing "a lack of clarity" about U.S. goals in Afghanistan. Even the administration's point man for Afghanistan and Pakistan - Richard Holbrooke - acknowledges things are not working out as planned.

Meanwhile a record number of U.S. soldiers killed themselves last month. The Army says 32 soldiers committed suicide in June - the highest in any month since the Vietnam War. Seven of those soldiers were on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Army officials say they're not sure what's behind the spike in suicides.

The U.S. is approaching insolvency, yet we continue to pour hundreds of billions of dollars into a nine-year-old war, and no one seems to have a real good explanation of why we continue.

Here’s my question to you: Is the war in Afghanistan really worth it?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Afghanistan
July 19th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

How effective is U.S. intel with 1,300 govt. orgs & 2,000 private companies?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

In the nine years since the September 11 terror attacks, the U.S. intelligence community has become so large that it's unmanageable, redundant and inefficient. Not unlike the rest of the federal government.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/07/19/art.top.secret.jpg caption="A 'Top Secret' page from the U.S. congressional report on the 9/11 terror attacks."]
The Washington Post reports on a stunning two-year investigation of a so-called top secret America that's hidden from the public and lacking in real oversight.


  • There are nearly 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies working in 10,000 locations across the country.
  • There are 854,000 people who have top-secret security clearances.
  • There are 33 building complexes for top-secret work that are under construction or have been built just in Washington, DC since 9/11... totaling 17 million square feet of space.
  • Analysts turn out 50,000 intelligence reports every year... you can bet many of them never get read.
  • And, at least 263 organizations have been created or reorganized as a response to 9/11... that of course means hiring lots and lots of people. But don't ask where Osama bin Laden is… nobody knows.

With such a sprawling bureaucracy, it's no wonder they couldn't put together the dots in recent attacks - including the shooting at Fort Hood and the attempted Christmas day airline bombing in Detroit.

The government is pushing back against the Washington Post report. The national intelligence director says they provide oversight and work constantly to reduce inefficiencies and redundancies. What would you expect him to say?

A top Obama official adds that they're looking at inefficiencies "and remember, we have prevented attacks." Who does that sound like?

Here’s my question to you: How effective can U.S. intelligence be with nearly 1,300 government organizations and 2,000 private companies working in 10,000 locations?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Government • United States
July 19th, 2010
01:26 PM ET
July 19th, 2010
01:24 PM ET