FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
More than nine years into the war in Afghanistan, there doesn't seem to be a lot that's good to report.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/18/art.terrorists.jpg caption="Osama bin Laden (L) and Ayman al-Zawahiri (R)."]
From every conceivable angle, things are a mess - starting with the country's attempts at democracy. Officials have now postponed announcing the results of last month's parliamentary elections because of widespread suspected fraud. An election panel spokesman said Monday that about 10 percent of votes have been disqualified because of the suspected fraud.
The New York Times reported that the fraud included everything from stuffing the ballot box to citizens being forced to cast their votes at gunpoint to election officials and security forces working in cahoots with corrupt candidates. Lovely.
On the security front, deadly insurgent attacks on U.S. and coalition troops are rising. It’s the deadliest year of the war for foreign troops, which includes Americans and service members from other nations. A recent U.N. report shows 1,200 Afghan civilians died and 2,000 more were wounded in the first six months of this year.
It's no wonder American support for the war in Afghanistan is at an all-time low. The latest CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll shows 37 percent of those surveyed favor the war. Fifty-two percent say the operation has turned into another Vietnam.
Meanwhile, remember Osama bin Laden?
You know, the reason we're in Afghanistan to begin with? A senior NATO official says bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, are hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan. No hiding out in caves for these guys - instead al Qaeda's top leaders are believed to be living in relative comfort, protected by locals and the Pakistani intelligence.
Here’s my question to you: When it comes to Afghanistan, what, exactly, is the point?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
They say the point is to protect us from the terrorists, but the only reason they attack us is because we invaded their homelands. I bet if we left they wouldn't want to attack us as much.
Tim in Texas writes:
The point is to keep al Qaeda boxed in in Pakistan rather than having free rein to have wide-ranging operations in Afghanistan. Actually, if we can get a power-sharing deal between Karzai and the Taliban, we might achieve limited success - success being defined as having limited al Qaeda's ability to design and implement large scale terror attacks. That said, I fully support having a date to begin drawing down or troops.
The point is that if we leave, there will be a power vacuum, just like after we helped Afghanistan repel the Soviets. Back then, we pulled out because we couldn't see "the point" of being there any more. The Taliban eventually ended up filling that power void. If we pull out now without a stable, viable national government in place, who will fill the resulting power void?
I think we have done all that we can in Afghanistan. We need to pull out now. Staying any longer would not accomplish anything, unless we can go into Pakistan after bin Laden, which would only create more problems. What a MESS!
Jack, Radical Islam is at war with us. It is a worldwide conflict. The war will continue until 1) radical Islam wins or 2) radical Islam decides they cannot win the war. And this means the worldwide war. It will be extremely difficult to convince Radical Islam they cannot win if we lose in Afghanistan.
Gordon in New Jersey writes:
Jack, The reason we can't just walk away is that Pakistan has about 90 operational nuclear weapons. Bin Laden is in Pakistan. Ahmadinejad was in Lebanon. The Indians are in Kashmir. Israeli settlers are in the West Bank. Karzai is corrupt. Obama is not a Republican. Saddam is not in Baghdad. And the Russians are not in Kabul. It's that simple.