Frankly, I find myself totally conflicted over Afghanistan. On the one hand I feel that we owe them much, having promised (falsely) that we would after our invasion help them reconstruct their ravaged country and finances — which we then diverted from with the Iraq invasion. On the other hand I see no way to unify an infinitely divided Afghanistan or to win a ‘war’ there. The longer we remain in large military numbers, the more lives — ours and theirs — will be pointlessly taken and vast numbers wounded and their homes and means of self-support (yes, illegal from our perspective) destroyed.

Where should we go, then, from here. My inclination is to tell the Afghans and our fellow Americans that we are planning an orderly withdrawal of our military while trying to restore some of the damage we have done while we are still there and thereafter. Obviously Karzai — our puppet — is hopeless and scarcely loved by his fellow Afghans — and the Taliban is not a problem we can resolve.

More important are our relations with and support for other nations both in the area and elsewhere (particularly Pakistan). With its nuclear weapons (as those also of North Korea and and potentially Iran) we have a massive set of challenges to face and vital problems to solve. Afghanistan is simply a distraction from vastly more important things upon which our attention should be focused. I wish that we had a Republican Party that could and would join in our national mission outlined above rather than attempting to reestablish itself by sabotaging Obama at every turn that it can. Terrorism in a nuclear era is no game. It is the real ‘war’ that faces us all!!!

What do you think?

“A war is just if there is no alternative, and the resort to arms is legitimate if they represent your last hope.” (Livy cited by Machiavelli)

Ed Kent 212-665-8535 (voice mail only) [blind copies]

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