First I saw the headline detailing a strike on a military base ("5 U.S. soldiers killed in strike on Baghdad base," June 7) and then on the following page a warning that a decade-long conflict may needed to be extended ("Gates: Afghan job not done"). What a juxtaposition for two foreign policy disasters: Soldiers are still dying in Iraq, and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates thinks it is wise to continue the longest war in U.S. history.

Why do the powerbrokers continue the misguided policies which led to two injudicious invasions? Iraq is worse off than in the days of Saddam Hussein. All empires have failed to tame Afghanistan. Why does the Obama administration ignore the historical record?

It is sadly inevitable that I will read more headlines of U.S. soldiers killed in foreign countries. What possible rationale is there to keep troops in Afghanistan or Iraq? Our government wants to use military force to bring democracy to these countries? No! Our leaders believe victory is at the end of the tunnel? No! The Obama administration does not want to appear weak? Maybe!

Regardless of the rationale, we can't afford these foreign adventures. Bring the troops home now, and use the savings to fund our communities.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore