Payoff? Assessing the Afghan surge
September 20th, 2012
03:00 AM ET

Payoff? Assessing the Afghan surge

By Mike Mount

The surge of U.S. forces into Afghanistan is all but over. Within days, the last several hundred troops will have left the country, according to U.S. military officials, ending an almost three-year operation to quash what was widely viewed as Taliban resurgence.

In December 2009, just over eight years after the war in Afghanistan started, President Barack Obama ordered more than 30,000 additional troops to stabilize the country enough so U.S. and international trainers could focus on developing the Afghan security forces.

While the U.S. spent years pouring troops and resources into the war in Iraq, the Taliban used that time to rebuild and start re-taking their traditional stronghold in southern Afghanistan.

Ahead of his decision to move these additional troops into Afghanistan, Obama spent several months reviewing numerous options from his advisers on how he should proceed with the "Afghan surge, as it came to be known. It would be one of his administration’s biggest gambles.

"Any time you send our brave men and women into battle, you know that not everyone will come home safely, and that necessarily weighs heavily on you. The decision did help us blunt the Taliban's momentum, and is allowing us to transition to Afghan lead," the president said last month while talking to the online community Reddit.

The war, which had been eclipsed by the United States' other war in Iraq, was front and center on America's scope as U.S. troop and civilian deaths started to rise.

Limits on joint patrols may undercut transition in Afghanistan

There was seemingly no forward movement on advancement of Afghan forces to reach a level where they could take control of the security in the country – a key element in allowing Afghanistan to thrive as a self-governed nation and keep it from returning to a terrorist haven.

Almost three years after the president decided to go ahead with the surge, the remaining units of those almost 33,000 troops will have left the country, bringing the U.S. troops level down to about 68,000 from a surge peak of about 100,000, according to Pentagon statistics. But did the Obama administration's gamble to wrest control back in Kandahar and Helmand provinces pay off?

The goal was to reverse the momentum of the Taliban and provide enough time for the international forces to train Afghan security forces to a level where they can start providing the self-sufficient security the country will need when the U.S. and other forces leave at the end of 2014.

Earlier this month, the deputy commander of international forces in Afghanistan said the NATO-led forces were progressing, but were also seeing an insurgent campaign that was attempting to, "divide the coalition from our Afghan partners."

What Lt. Gen. James L. Terry was saying, without saying it, is that that the fighting continues.

A clear example of how the insurgency is able to strike at will in most parts of the country is last week's brazen assault on a coalition base in southern Afghanistan that killed two U.S. troops and destroyed six coalition fighter jets, and a suicide attack in Kabul on Tuesday by an insurgent group that killed 12 people.

Last month, the senior combat leader in Afghanistan, Gen. John Allen, said insurgent violence in the south was down 3% over 2011 levels, but admitted it was not "statistically significant."

However, while the violence levels may not have changed much, Allen said the significant change was where the violence was now.

"We have pushed hard on the insurgency to push them out of the population centers, much of which was cleared last year, and we've continued to push them into an increasingly smaller series of areas, districts, where we have, in many respects, contained them," Allen said.

As the surge troops leave, some outside of the military ranks think it has failed to bring enough security to the country in order for governance to take root and prosper.

"We have not seen as much success as we had hoped for," says Mark Jacobson, a senior fellow at the Washington, D.C. analyst organization, German Marshall Fund, and a former NATO adviser to Gen. David Petraeus while he was the top commander in Afghanistan.

"Did the surge provide the necessary impetus in terms of security and the support of government and other activities so the Taliban and the insurgency would be brought to the table? I don't think that has happened as quickly as people had originally hoped," Jacobson said.

But like Allen, Jacobson does see some success in the struggle to reduce the violence with the surge troops.

Violence rages as surge troops depart Afghanistan

"There are certainly signs the insurgency is not the monolithic structure it was back in 2009 when people said they were at the gates of Kabul," he said.

While the surge does not seem to have beaten back violence levels to a point that is satisfying most, it does appear that one of the main goals, building up the Afghan security forces to a level where they can secure Afghanistan on their own, is widely accepted as having succeeded.

"It (the surge) gave the time and space required for the Afghan national security forces to develop in terms of their capabilities. This is not the same Afghan army that was there in 2009," according to Jacobson.

"Not every unit is equivalent. The ANA forces are doing increasingly better, the police forces are, of course, lagging behind with the exception of the special units. But it's a heck of a lot better," Jacobson said.

Last April, Marine Gen. John A. Toolan, commander of allied forces in southern Afghanistan, said he had seen improvement in Afghan security forces, but there was going to be a need for additional improvement over the next two years before NATO forces left.

According to Toolan, the United States will have to focus on improving roles in intelligence, combat medicine, special operations, artillery and criminal investigation in the Afghan police forces.

"As the conventional forces leave, special operations forces will continue to be required because their (Afghan military) special operations capabilities are going to take a little bit more time to nurture and mature," according to Toolan.

Overall, Jacobson gives a good rating for the surge in terms of meeting its goals, not necessarily on the battlefield, but on the political gridiron.

The medical legacy of a decade at war

"There are going to be a lot of questions historians will argue over for the next 50 years about this war, including whether the surge accomplished what it set out to do. It did," Jacobson said.

"It was also politically successful because it helped drive the international political commitment that was necessary to get the allies to support a transition," Jacobson said, referring to the 2010 NATO agreement in Lisbon, Portugal, where allies agreed on a way forward for Afghanistan to stand on its own.

He explained how the Lisbon agreement paved the way to the strategic partnership agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan, which put Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a position to understand the U.S. would be in Afghanistan for the long term.

With Karzai at ease that the U.S. and its allies would not be walking away from Afghanistan, he was willing to work with the U.S. and dropping his hostile attitude toward the alliance.

"You can't under estimate political resolve and the importance of helping Afghanistan get things done," according to Jacobson.

But while the verdict may still be out on how well the surge worked, Obama still believes sending in more than 30,000 troops was the right thing to do, while publicly pointing out it did achieve at least some of the overall goals.

But as he told participants in the online chat last month, the decision to send those additional troops still weighs on him.
"Knowing of the heroes that have fallen is something you never forget,” he said.

The impact of insider attacks in Afghanistan

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Gen. John Allen • Taliban
soundoff (85 Responses)
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  14. ronbro51

    The great test will be when we pull out. I for one already know what the outcome will be. Business as usual in that country as it has been for thousands of years. We wasted time, money, and of course precious lives. Our egos tend to tell us we succeeded but that is not the case. It was a political war more than anything else and they usually have the same outcome.

    September 25, 2012 at 10:05 am | Reply
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    • James

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      September 20, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Reply
  17. krm1007 ©™

    The sacrifices of the following muslim fighters in making this world safe are unmatched and muslim country deserves a seat at the table of the permanent members of The UN Security Council. Support Pakistan for the permanent member of the UN Security Council my friends.

    Osama Bin Laden
    Atiyah Abd Al-Rahman
    Abu Ayyub Al-Masri
    Mustafa Al-Yazid
    Abu Qaswarah
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    Saif al-Adel
    Abd al-Aziz al-Jamal
    Abu Zubaydah
    Abu Jafar al-Jaziri
    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi aka Abu Ahmad
    Abu Zubair al-Haili
    Tawfiq Attash Khallad
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    Abu Hazim aka Khalid Al Bin Ali Al-Hajj
    Abu Mohammed al-Masri aka Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah
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    Saad bin Laden
    Mahammed bin Laden
    Hamza bin Laden
    Saif bin Laden
    Yeslam Bin Ladin
    Saif Alwahid
    Khalid al-Zawahiri
    Thamr Mohammad Sharifi
    Najwa Ghanem
    Abdallah Al-Halabi
    Abdul Rahim Riyadh
    Abu Salah al-Yemeni
    Hamza al-Qatari
    Sheik Mohammed Al Hasan Al-Moayad
    Mohammed Mohsen Yahya Zayed
    Mamoun Darkazanli
    Abu Yasir al-Jaziri
    Abdallah Muhammed Rajab Abd al-Rahman
    Munib Zahiragic
    Enaam Arnaout
    Haroun Abed
    Osailly Darwish
    Allie Darwish
    Ibrahim Bah
    Samih Ossaily
    Aziz Nassour
    Ibrahim Bah
    Youssef Mustafa Nada
    Ali Ghaleb Himmat
    Ahmed Idriss Nasreddin
    Yousuf Abdullah Al-Qaradawi
    Mariam Al-Sheikh A. Bin Aziz Al-Mubarak
    Huta Bin Laden
    Iman Bin Laden
    Ahmed Huber
    Hassan el-Banna

    September 20, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply

      We will never see eye to eye. I feel the USA should come home imediately!!! When 90% of a country can't read or write its no use. The plight of women in muslim countries will never end as long as men have backward thinking and no education. I went to a party with christian women and Muslim women not to long ago. Isn't it funny that in your way of thinking we would all have been thrown in jail for being in the same room together! It didn't matter who was covered and who was not! We celebrated the new life that was coming and how that child will be happy and safe!!!

      September 20, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Reply
    • bambam

      I'm sure that more than a few folks here believe that your name belongs on that list too. Don't be shy, let everyone know your name and address so someone can insure this little oversight is corrected.

      September 24, 2012 at 8:39 am | Reply
  18. disgruntled veteran

    It is truly great to see people who have never been to the country, people who have never served, and people who only read what the see in the media, call our sacrifice in Afghanistan a failure. The real issues behind this war are simple. Our first issue, news coverage of war. We saw it begin to take route in Vietnam, move to conflicts in South America, then to the Gulf War, and now Afghanistan and Iraq. The media is spun, both left leaning and right but bottom line is that the American mother and father do not want to see their son or daughter fighting, bleeding, and giving their lives on the 9 oclock news. War is war, people get hurt, people die, service members and civilians. In the perfect world we'd use cork guns and say "no i shot you, youre dead!" like when we were children playing cowboys and indians and that is how the conflict would be solved. But from this veterans first hand knowledge, the harsh realities of the real world, and the real world of war and combat are much different. Now these harsh realites bring me to my second point and the second problem we face in afghanistan. The American people are weak. Our leaders and representatives are weak. They would rather vote themselves a pay raise and the common American is to ignorant to realize they are getting screwed by the left and right wing politicians they elect into office because they see a neat campaign ad before researching and thus propagating the cycle of our corrupt government. If you want to win a war, then wage a ######## war. Winning the hearts and minds is a great thing, however when dealing with a people who only care about them and theirs (and in their shoes i cant say i wouldnt do the same), the local nation in Afghanistan will change allegance daily on the basis of who can give him more, Coalition forces vs insurgent forces. If we truly want to wipe out terrorism then we must use the same tactics they have used agasint us. The American public refuse to do this for some sense of morals that they do not realize. In war there are no morals, there is no right and wrong, there is only the quick and the dead, the survivors. I will not bend to the will of a man who sleeps under the blanket of freedom and protection that I provide, and then question the manor in which I have done so and provided.

    The flames I will recieve for posting this are proof, I can guarentee that I will be called a monster, heartless, borderline insane. But this is reality, America has become weak. We are no longer a superpower. Our government and it's corruption has turned this great nation into a super-appeaser. This brings tears to my eyes. May God truly bless America, give her a miracle, and return her to her former glory of days past.

    – Disgruntled Veteran
    Route Clearance Package 10
    Paktika Provence, Afghanistan
    OEF 10-11

    September 20, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
    • Bob Fates from Chicago

      Are we done with the pitty-party little boy?

      September 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
    • Sammy Z

      As one of those "Surge" soldiers that just returned from the hotly contested South Eastern region of Afghanistan I can tell you that you will never find anyone who served there say their service was a failure. What we will say is that "Victory" in the definition that Americans like to use, will never, ever happen. The country is a mess from the flood of support Pakistan gives the insurgents, the apathy of the local populace for any sort of change, the rampant corruption at all levels of government and the incompetence of ALL Afghan security forces we've trained.

      The Afghans do not want Democracy. Hell, they don't even care about running water or electricity.

      The US Military is very good at attacking everyday problems that come up but there's not a single Commander I've spoken to that has any real idea for a solution there. We should just leave.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Reply
    • Disgruntled Veteran

      Well Bob fates from Chicago, let me ask you a few questions. Have you served in the armed forces? Have you ever deployed, leaving your wife, children, and family behind, in order to serve and protect your country? Have you seen first hand what is happening with the country of Afghanistan? Or experienced a tour in Iraq? If not then you will never understand the true issues we face daily while we are deployed putting our lives on the line so that you can meep your freedom of speach and then post on a blog and I quote "Are we done with the pitty-party little boy?". Make no mistake, I am not throwing a pitty party, I am addressing issues wrong with this once great country and problems we face in Afghanistan and around the middle east.

      One more question, our nations resolve durring world war 2 after the attacks on pearl harbor awoke a sleeping giant, and once those wheels started turning they did not stop. At that point in time America had the right idea, total war, victory at all costs and no option for failure. America no longer has that resolve and after watching enough cnn of foxnews broadcasts the average American believes themselves to be the expert on Afghanistan or Iraq. There is no moral silver bullet to win this war. This war is a continuation of not just the crusades, but the battle between East and West started by Alexander the Great. The insurgencey has the right idea, total victory and with failure being unthinkable. If only America had the resolve and the strength to do what needs to be done, this conflict would have been over within 3 years.

      As a side note, personal attacks, in a public web blog, not so professional Bob fates from Chicago. Unless you have experienced it and im sure there are many on here that have, you will never understand. To all my brothers in arms, F.I.D.O. and God bless

      September 21, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
  19. In The Shadow of Taj Mahal



    LEADERS: L.K. Advani/ Ashok Singhal/ Bala Saheb Devaras/ Bal Thackeray/ A.B. Vajpayee/ Savarkar/ Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”/ Balraj Madhok/ The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth/ Rama Gopalan/ Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad/ Dharmalinga Nadar/ Cho Ramaswamy

    September 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
    • Owen1710

      Why dont we take 'em out before they cause us harm. It is just a matter of time. Let be proactive just once.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  20. Reposted With Intent To Educate

    Let's look at the big picture. It continues to be our conviction that the American invasion of Afghanistan brought to the forefront the irrelevance of India as a nation. With a population of over 1.2 billion people there was no value that this nation could bring to the table. Their soldiers (ragtag) 1.2 million continue hiding in the trenches scared from Talibans. A few teenage Talibans invaded the country and held it hostage for days on end showing how useless India is. It was embarrasing for the world to observe this humiliation of a nation that was being touted as a regional power.

    The biggest mistake Americans have made in Afghanistan is taking India's advice. It has been a debacle. They misled and misguided us for their own selfish interests. We were taken for a ride. The damage that has caused American psyche will be felt in generations to come.

    September 20, 2012 at 11:55 am | Reply
    • Casey

      Hmmm....interesting thoughts...true and humorous re: India. Scary wrt US.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      You must be a Pakistani, by mentioning India a lot. Wake up you are all same. The biggest enemy of Afghanistan is Pakistan, now it is your turn, Pakistan is burning on the flame which they started in Afghanistan, it is getting worse.

      September 26, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Reply
  21. Tommy T

    This question really can’t be fielded by most of the general public. Most Westerners still think war is fought on a linear battlefield, with black and white objectives and concepts. The current NATO mission in Afghanistan has transitioned to a stability operation in which we are pretty much rebuilding the country from the ground up. NATO troops and government officials are tasked with having to train these Afghanis on how to run a country and military all the while; these people are turning on us and their own people due to political games and negative international influencers. Not that I’m doubting anyone’s intelligence, but to I hardly think most people have sat down and really analyzed what’s going on in Afghanistan with all of the facts. I think we just need to trust the process.

    September 20, 2012 at 10:17 am | Reply
  22. Slappy_McGiggles

    As soon as we pull out, Afghanistan will go right back to the Taliban.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:29 am | Reply
  23. jim111506

    Time to leave. We should continue the cleansing remotely, with drones.

    September 20, 2012 at 9:26 am | Reply
  24. rad666

    "Has the Afghan surge been a success?" -– American troops still there?

    September 20, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
  25. BigAl

    don't really care, LETS GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE ALREADY!

    September 20, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply
    • StanCalif


      September 20, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply
  26. Lou

    We've successes and failures in Iraq & Afghanistan. We rid the world of some very bad people and have stay in it entirely too long. Lost way to many Americans for what will be in some instances, a lost cause. Time to get out now and have Iraq start repaying the bill.

    September 20, 2012 at 8:16 am | Reply
    • Mandy

      And now we find out that, at the same time that the 31 Americans killed in Afghanistan were geitntg a huge amount of press attention, 8 Afghan civilians were killed in a U.S. bombing of a civilian home and got almost no attention at all.

      November 11, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  27. SidAirfoil

    It's time for the Afghanistan war to end regardless of how it ends. However, it was a just war against the people who committed 9/11 and the people who helped them do it. That we handled the war badly and set unachievable goals is a lesson we need to learn for the future. We can still make a reasonably graceful exit, and we should. The neo-cons will worry, not entirely incorrectly, that with us gone Afghanistan will again become a haven from which terrorists can attack us. Naturally, we should keep a close eye on Afghanistan and be ready to deal with it again if necessary. But war is all about momentum, and the momentum disappeared from this war a long time ago. It's time to pull out, regroup, and prepare a better plan to deal with them in the future if we need to.


    September 20, 2012 at 8:05 am | Reply
    • agathokles

      Agree. And how is having the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan pose any more danger to the USA than the currently hostile regions of Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and now Libya? If al Queda training camps spring up in the future, we can bomb them with drones or cruise missiles. In fact, we might be better off if al Queda and its ilk have a place where they can hang out a shingle. Easier to track them down if they have a listed address.

      September 20, 2012 at 8:10 am | Reply
      • Arvind

        it was going after pernament base rhitgs and will keep a force of 40.000 there. I think there also going to build bases in India to keep an eye on Pakistan so the Taliban doesn't overthrow their military and get their nukes. I've heard this from my friends in the military.

        November 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Alex

      Afghanistan never started the 9/11, they were Arabs and Pakistani. Talibans were created and supported by Pakistan from the very first day, and they still get support from them. Your first mistake, you attacked a wrong country, read the history nobody wins in Afghanistan.

      September 26, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  28. tavernvoice

    I really have to read CNN coverage more often. It makes all the worlds worries, just go away. And make me feel that all is right with the world. The surge is not working. Afghanistan is a failure. And it's getting worse. But if you don't want to believe that. Then do nothing more than just ready the nice stories about how things aren't that bad. God bless the troops.

    September 20, 2012 at 7:58 am | Reply
  29. GEdwards

    By almost every account, the surge was a success.

    But what has been done since (how it's been handled, the stagnation of foreign policy, the protests, the Blue on Green murders, etc) has been a miserable failure.

    Candidate Obama, 2008: "I will end this war in Iraq responsibly, and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts."

    September 20, 2012 at 7:57 am | Reply
    • agathokles

      According to your quote, Obama never promised victory in Afghanistan. He promised to get out. And we will, in a few years.

      September 20, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
      • GEdwards

        It's not my quote, it's Obama's.

        I'm always amazed at the lengths people will go to not hold the President accountable. He will finish the fight - so if his intended meaning was that eventually he'll just give up, then he really has been wasting taxpayer money and letting Americans die for no reason.

        IMO that's far worse than trying and failing (which is his standard practice, like fixing the economy and unemployment).

        September 20, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • agathokles

        GEdwards: You want to hold Obama accountable for our inability to 'win' in Afghanistan. OK. But I think he took a reasonable gamble. The gamble was that the surge would make a difference. It didn't. So now it's time to pull out. Even his Republican adversaries agreed, for the most part, with the surge - though many objected to a timeline. It hasn't worked. It's time to exit. If the gamble had not been taken, you'd probably be faulting him for being a quitter a few years earlier. So what do you want us to do now? More surge???

        September 20, 2012 at 8:42 am |
      • GEdwards

        Nope, afathokles. Never wrote that. I want us out yesterday.

        September 20, 2012 at 9:02 am |
    • Sammy Z


      Iraq was Bush's mess, Afghanistan has now become Obama's.

      September 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  30. fiftyfive55

    Throughout the years we have pumped trillions in foreign aid to the entire mideast and all we get out of it is 4.00 a gallon gasoline,WE'RE GETTING HOSED,not only by the mideast but by our government also,shame shame shame

    September 20, 2012 at 7:18 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      The best way to end this mess:
      Secretely remove every American person from Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. Leave all of our hardware behind. When these people attack our bases and find no one there, SURPRISE! No one to kill! Take our hardware and use it to kill each other and have a great time! No spare parts will ever be delivered. When all this equipment becomes useless, go ask China for help!

      September 20, 2012 at 8:19 am | Reply
  31. dick gosinya

    Ask the American and NATO soldier's families.

    September 20, 2012 at 7:16 am | Reply
    • fiftyfive55

      I'd ask 'em why they volunteered for this lunacy

      September 20, 2012 at 7:19 am | Reply
      • StanCalif

        Here is the problem! We now have an all volunteer military, no more draft. If we still had the draft, things would be much different. If rich kids were being drafted today, this would have ended long ago.

        September 20, 2012 at 8:24 am |
      • Bill

        We volunteer for several reasons. One is a sense of Patriotism to our country, but I'm not going to wave the flag and say that's the only reason. Most of it is because we were mounting tires at Sam's Club, making $7.60 an hour or were 28 years old, working in a factory and got laid off because some guy that sat on his ass all day but was protected by the Union got to keep his job, or perhaps we knew that the military will help us pay for college and get us out of working two jobs to provide for our families. There are several reasons why people volunteer for this "lunacy" as you call it.

        September 20, 2012 at 8:36 am |
      • fiftyfive55

        @Bill-you kind of confuse me here,1st you complain about the wage you earned mounting tires and then you bash unions,what do you think,that without any unions ,you'll earn more money ?not.
        That old guy you complain about,he put in his time and earned a little easier job in his older years,or are you one who would just toss old people out because their old ?He put in his time and earned that spot,while you have to start at the bottom every time you change jobs.Your anger should be directed at the people who forced you to compete with Chinese and Indian slave and child laborers for sub par wages.

        September 20, 2012 at 9:27 am |
      • fiftyfive55

        @Bill-you kind of confuse me here,1st you complain about the wage you earned mounting tires and then you bash unions,what do you think,that without any unions ,you'll earn more money ?not.
        That old guy you complain about,he put in his time and earned a little easier job in his older years,or are you one who would just toss old people out because their old ?He put in his time and earned that spot,while you have to start at the bottom every time you change jobs.Your anger should be directed at the people who forced you to compete with Chinese and Indian slave and child laborers for sub par wages. period.

        September 20, 2012 at 9:28 am |
      • American Vet

        I served in Afghanistan in 2006/2007. Most did not volunteer to deploy to Afghanistan; they had volunteered to protect our country against all threats foreign and domestic. A concept that seems lost on many these days. I think there should be a two year national service program(draft) to teach service before self to our youth. Doesn't have to be military it could be Homeland security or National park service...perhaps graduating from a service program should be a qualifier for national office.

        September 20, 2012 at 9:37 am |
  32. babooph

    Just as successful as all those Nam surges...

    September 20, 2012 at 6:57 am | Reply
  33. curt

    Legalize Marijuana or when my parents die.. I'm moving to Jamaica.

    September 20, 2012 at 6:47 am | Reply
  34. StanCalif

    Where is Karzai today? Suddenly very quiet! The Afghans WE train and equip to take over establishing peace and security have chosen to turn their weapons on NATO forces (primarilary US forces). What does Karzai do, what kind of leadership does he provide? Big question! Karzai lives the "good life" and protects his relatives' heroin trade. He doesn't seem to care what all his newly trained and equipped people actually do! Where is his outrage about his own people killing the people desperately trying to end this mess? Where is his "leadership" of his own people? Missing!

    September 20, 2012 at 6:39 am | Reply
    • JCK

      When the last phase of the troop drawdown begins Karzai and the Afghan elite will board a plane and fly to some European country and live the good life on the millions of dollars stolen from the money that America has invested in this war. The Taliban will resume control. 10 years of war, billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives wasted for absolutely nothing.

      September 20, 2012 at 7:40 am | Reply
      • StanCalif

        I agree! All a big waste, not only the money but also the lives lost! What a waste! All we have fought for has produced nothing. Iraqi oil goes to China, Afghanistan's big copper field goes to China. Just how many Chinese troops have died to get these resources? NONE!

        September 20, 2012 at 8:00 am |
      • agathokles

        I absolutely agree. We could have pulled out long ago. How is having a hostile gov't (the Taliban) in Afghanistan any more of a danger to the USA than the existence of lawless, hostile regions of Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, and now Libya? If future intelligence suggests the presence of al Queda camps in any of these places, we can just bomb 'em with drones. Save a lot of American dollars and American lives.

        September 20, 2012 at 8:03 am |
      • peter

        What's that? Oh, yeah... Those who don't learn history's lessons will repeat its mistakes. As I recall, toward the end of 19th c. the Brits fought with the Afgans for a while. Not much to show for it. Went home. In our time, really not soo long ago, the ex-USSR spent about a decade fighting the Afgans. Tried really hard and showed for it just the same as the Brits. Destruction and death. Beyond that, zilch. The American genius POTUS ignored these lessons. "Naw, this time is different". Sure. US spent as well about a decade fighting the Afgans. Results? About the same as before. Any questions, class?

        September 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
  35. fiftyfive55

    Nothing we have ever done in the mideast has been a success,even a fool knows when he has failed , why cant our leaders admit that ?

    September 20, 2012 at 6:28 am | Reply
    • StanCalif

      I agree! When we finally accepted defeat in Vietnam and got out, the country began to prosper. Today the US has trade relations and the people there live in peace. Afghanistan is even worse! We should get out now, all we seem to be doing is equiping Afghans to kill us! Where is Karzai? He seems to have no influence with his own people! We should get out now and leave this country to their own devices. Karzai has not been any kind of "leader" but WE can boast that he was "democratically" elected!!! What a farce!

      September 20, 2012 at 6:59 am | Reply

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