In 1987 David Halberstam's "The Making of a Quagmire" was published, an account of events in 1961 as the U.S. stumbled into a deadly war in Vietnam. That war lasted for years and cost 58,000 American lives. Now, someone may want to reuse the title. The headline in today's New York Times is simple: "No Firm Plans for a U.S. Exit in Afghanistan." Well, why should there be? We've only been there eight years. The quotes in the piece support the headline. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on CBS: "There isn't a deadline." National Security Advisor General James Jones on CNN: "We're going to be in the region for a long time." I remember George McGovern, campaigning for president in 1972. His speech always included the line, "Come home, America." The voters rejected him, of course, and we didn't come home, but it wasn't a bad idea then and isn't now. The original purpose in invading Afghanistan, as I remember, was to get Osama bin Laden. But that was eight years ago, and we haven't. The reports I read say he doesn't live there, just visits from time to time. Terrorists, anyway, tend to operate in small groups. They can be attacked successfully by small groups--commandos, air strikes, and so on. No need to try to occupy a whole country, especially one with a history of resisting occupiers. Come home America? Sounds like a plan to me.
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