03/15/11 — General's view: Let's make sure we get this job done, so we don't have to go back

View Archive

General's view: Let's make sure we get this job done, so we don't have to go back

Any leader worth his or her salt knows, you listen to the people who are doing the work.

It is fine to sit in Washington as a member of Congress and pontificate about what you think should be done in the Middle East -- and when the right time is to start pulling back from Afghanistan.

But when you have a chance to hear an opinion from someone who has been there, done the work and seen firsthand what the needs are, you should shut up and listen.

And now that Gen. David Petraeus has spoken, it is time for Congress to listen.

We don't want to be in Afghanistan forever, no one does. But if we simply pull up our stakes and head for home, we will be back, sooner rather than later.

The general said he and his troops are making progress. He said he feels that there has been a shift in the tide and that there is reason to begin thinking about an exit strategy. But he has cautioned that we cannot simply go back to business as usual.

He has advised those in power that we need to support the fledgling government and to make sure the infrastructure is in place for Afghanistan to make it on its own. He acknowledges the pitfalls and the problems, but suggests that we need to think long-term and with a strategy in mind.

And he is right.

There has been too much invested in this fight to come up with the simple solution that we need to simply get out.

A long-term goal of peace can only be achieved if we use the insight of those who know, not those who suppose and who have politics in their sights.

Published in Editorials on March 15, 2011 10:26 AM