Let's get out of Afghanistan

Nearly a decade after the American invasion of Afghanistan, there are still 250,000 foreign forces there — 100,000 U.S. troops, 50,000 NATO troops and 100,000 Pentagon-paid mercenaries. Unfortunately, in the president's speech Wednesday, he only talked about the U.S. military forces, and his plan is to continue the war until 2014.

Regardless of this massive, long-term presence, the U.S. military will not reform Afghanistan. But it will spend billions of taxpayer dollars — and to what effect? Last year Afghanistan experienced the largest number of civilian casualties since the war began.

As long as U.S. policy is to destroy the Taliban opposition and insurgent forces, many Afghans will resist what they understand to be a foreign invasion.

A better vision would start with a cease-fire, U.S. participation in a broad-based peace process and the disarmament of all militia forces (after we leave).

For us that would means removing all our military forces; for Afghans it would mean an innovative reconciliation process.

Max Obuszewski, Baltimore

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