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Our opinion: Afghanistan

Last week’s USA TODAY/Gallup Poll, taken after a U.S. soldier allegedly killed 16 Afghanis, suggests that 50 percent of those polled favor speeding up a withdrawal of all U.S. troops from Afghanistan before the 2014 target pullout date. Only 24 percent of the 1,006 adults polled said they favor sticking to the planned withdrawal at the end of 2014. An astounding 21 percent of those polled favored staying in a war that has already lasted 10 years for as long as it takes.

A majority of those polled agreed that the U.S. decision to go into Afghanistan after 9/11 was the right decision at the time — by 59 percent to 35 percent, those polled said it was right. However, following the recent attack on citizens of Afghanistan by a sergeant in the U.S. Army and the recent burning of Korans that triggered violent attacks on U.S. forces by angered Afghan citizens played into the earlier than planned pullout when pollsters asked respondents why they favored more immediate pullback.

Half of those polled said they are concerned that by keeping troops in that troubled country until the planned pullout will cause more terrorist attacks. However, nearly 60 percent of those persons responding to the poll said they were worried that pulling troops out too quickly will make Afghanistan a safe haven for terrorists plotting attack against the U.S. It seems as though those polled were torn between early pullout and staying until 2014, but both questions arrive at virtually the same conclusion — stay or leave our enemies will attack U.S.

Well, it’s a certainty that keeping our troops in that quagmire will mean that more of our troops will be slaughtered. Pulling them out early will certainly empower the Taliban and other radicals feeding off of recent mistakes by U.S. Armed Forces in that nation.

Let’s try to learn the costly mistakes our old adversary, the former Soviet Union: they lost thousands of men in a war that cost their nation hundreds of billions of rubles and were ultimately driven off by this same primitive society managed to convince that world power that pulling out would be the most prudent decision. The Soviets pulled out with their tail between their legs after the women of Russia began protestations in Red Square.

How many more soldiers are going to have to die or snap and kill more innocent Afghanis before our leaders realize that this is not a war that we will win — not now or in the next two years. Pull out now. Save lives and billions of taxpayer dollars.

—Keith Hansen

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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