01/09/13 — Keeping peace: Delicate decision ahead on troops in Afghanistan

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Keeping peace: Delicate decision ahead on troops in Afghanistan

It seems like a simple decision: Do we or do we not keep troops in Afghanistan for a few more years?

If the war is over, and the Afghans say they are ready for us to leave, shouldn't we leave?

Perhaps that will be the final determination. However, there is more to consider, especially if our ultimate goal is to make sure the next generation does not have to go back to fight the same war against terror all over again.

It is not possible for the United States alone to maintain peace in the Middle East. No matter what the White House might claim, its policies of appeasement and really, at times, kowtowing to Arab leaders, are having no sustainable influence on the way those nations feel about the United States or how they keep their promises.

Put simply, they still see us as aggressors and there are still many, many people who see Americans as infidels to be eliminated. And no amount of fancy talking is going to change that.

The way to maintain order in the Middle East is to first establish relationships with allies you can trust. Those have been far and few between.

The second is to assist in stabilizing the region. That can come through negotiations with the governments, foreign aid and, in the case of a country like Afghanistan, military presence to encourage stability.

Choosing what to do next will be a big decision for this administration and the ones that will follow it.

While protecting our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and not squandering their efforts, are primary goals, there is more to consider as we plan for how to stay out of the region in the future.

It will take foresight.

This decision cannot made by political winds and polling data. It is is too important.

Published in Editorials on January 9, 2013 11:06 AM