On air: Does Afghanistan need a surge?

One KALW listener I spoke to yesterday described this as a city that lives in a bubble, and that is out of touch with what the rest of the America feels. Another agreed, and said ‘thank God!’. Certainly there are many things on which most people here agree – Bush, palin, Obama, the Iraq war, gay marriage to name five – but Afghanistan is not one of them…

San Francisco’s hero Barack Obama wants to pull troops out of Iraq and put more into Afghanistan. And while he was critical of the Iraq surge when it was first implemented by George Bush, he’s since acknowledged its impact.

So does Afghanistan need a sharp increase in US troops? Just read today’s news for evidence that the country is far from the stable democracy President Bush says he wants to help create. If you were against the Iraq war, are you for this one?

And do you accept that if left alone, Afghanistan role as a home to Islamist terrorism would begin again?

Or do you believe that this war is unwinnable and a new non-violent approach is needed? The British commander there certainly says war in Afghanistan can’t be won. And you’ve already discussed these comments here on the WHYS blog.


At least 27 killed in bus in Kandahar

A suicide attack kills two soldiers and five children

Charity workers murdered in Kabul

117 Responses to “On air: Does Afghanistan need a surge?”

  1. 1 Jessica in NYC
    October 20, 2008 at 14:26

    We should have had more troops in Afghanistan and not Iraq all long.

    I am dismayed by the war on terror and have no idea where we should put our military resources with the economic crisis we face at home. So, for now I will listen and read attentively with an open mind to what the “experts” say to say before I form an opinion.

    October 20, 2008 at 14:30

    I have to concur with Jessica in NYC comments about More troops in Afghanistan! That was a war-the world, should be fighting for…..


  3. 3 Shaun in Halifax
    October 20, 2008 at 14:46

    Afghanistan doesn’t need a surge. What it needs is the rest of NATO forces to get off their collective limp-wrist, sissy behinds, fulfill their treaty agreements and actually take on a share of the fighting.

    But why would they want to do that when they can let the Canadians and British do all the fighting? The collective incompetence of EU leaders has effectively neutered the alliance and left the real dirty work for the traditional Commonwealth forces. Reminds me of a classified ad I once saw: “For sale, one WWII-era french rifle. Never fired, only dropped once.”

    Frankly, it makes me ill to see my countrymen getting shot and blown half to hell while the French, Norwegians, and the rest are content to sit safe and sound in Kandahar whimpering while there’s work to be done. You should change the colors of the EU flag to yellow with yellow.

  4. 4 Neil McGowan
    October 20, 2008 at 14:50

    Afghanistan needs a surge OUTWARDS of all British troops, immediately.

    If the yanks want to have wars, then let them send their own kids to be slaughtered, and pick up the tab for the first time in their damn lives.

  5. 5 Shaun in Halifax
    October 20, 2008 at 14:56

    Yeah, but there’s a difference. Mr. Karzai, a democratically elected leader, ASKED for help. I don’t think Mr. Hussein did.

  6. 6 Lubna
    October 20, 2008 at 15:36

    Hi my Precious Ros and a very warm welcome to you and also to your audiance in SF… “Does Afghanistan need a surge ?!”… Well, I guess that question is based on the claim that the surge in Iraq has worked out right ?! Well, unfortunately the truth is something else… The awakening or Al Sahwa counsils founded by the Sunni tribes leaders is the most important cause of the what so called improvement in the security situation on the ground all over Iraq, plus the decision of Sayed Muqtada Al Sadr in September 2007 to freeze all the military activities of Al Mehdi army, plus imposing extremely tight security measures on the ground on daily bases by the Iraqi military and police forces including blocking almost 85% of the main streets, roads and bridges and having hundreds of military check points along the remaining 15% opened main streets, bridges and roads in Baghdad… But anyway, thank you Mr Bush for your surge, yeah whatever !!! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  7. October 20, 2008 at 15:39

    War on terrorisme will never end. There will always be extremes in the world and we can’t fight it, unless we should re-instate the colony thought again and put all these countries under one command. But then again, the war on terrorisme will never be won by either party’s.

    In my eyes the Alliance and Americans made a mess and to clean it up will take years if not decades. But then again I agree that what we started we should finish by any means, no and I don’t mean to nuke the place down. But in a certain way we didn’t have come up with a real solution yet. Military action doens’t help and the talking seems to be only air. But we should clean up the mess we made, out of guilt.

    What would the world be like if Bush didn’t retaliated, we will never know. And I don’t think either Obama or McCain can solve these issue in there term, for them as well, its cleaning up the mess Bush made, on national level (US) and on internationel level (world).

    So I am not for and not against, but something has to be done that will justify all causes in a way that will count with the most little amount of casualties.

  8. 8 1430a
    October 20, 2008 at 15:42

    hello everyone,
    Well as we have already discussed in the previous blogs,’Modern wars are unwinable’.I was quite shocked at the fact that Obama plans to redirect the troops from Iraq to Afghanistan.The financial crisis means that spending more money on wars is not acceptable.Who knows if the troops get in to Afghanistan,they might just create another ‘IRAQ’?They might have to spend another 5 years trying to do end the so-called war.So there is no point in surging the troops in to Afghanistan because the end result will be the same.
    Thank you

  9. October 20, 2008 at 15:43

    I am totally against the all kinds of war, cause I believe war never solved any problem. I also do agree with war is unwinnable in Afghanistan. In my opinion, increasing US troops only cannot solve the problem. Because we saw more violence, more conflict than ever after day-by-day in last couple of years. So really at this time necessary of a new non-violent approach to solve this problem in Afghanistan.

  10. 10 Roy, Washington DC
    October 20, 2008 at 16:03

    The war on terror is like the war on drugs — unwinnable. There will always be people bent on creating unrest, and we will always be fighting them. And, like the war on drugs, nobody really knows how best to fight it. Terrorism is a problem that needs to be dealt with, sure, but there are pros and cons to every solution.

  11. 11 Pangolin-California
    October 20, 2008 at 16:09

    Fifteen Saudi’s, a few Egyptians and other arabs attack the US using Saudi money. The US, with the same alacrity that they use in their financial affairs attacks Afghanistan and Iraq. Then we declare the Iraqi’s and Afghans who resist invasion by US forces “terrorists.”

    The source of the problem isn’t in Iraq or Afghanistan.

    Expecting the same people who ran the financial markets into the ground to make clear choices in a war isn’t exactly a sane response. Why run towards a fire with a bucket of gasoline?

  12. October 20, 2008 at 16:14

    Afghanistan has always been a difficult territory for any military power trying to have a grip of it. Winning the war against terrorism in Afghanistan means winning the heart and mind of the Afghan population. Without the support of the locals, the terrorists won’t find hiding grounds in the face of the impressive number of troops and the equipments they have for precise surveillance.

    If the Afghan population can’t see its livelihood get better and better many of it, especially those living in impoverished areas, will side with any insurgent group. This means international forces will have to stay in Afghanistan as ;long as possible as leaving it will mean the regrouping of the the terrorist networks to continue their challenge to the West and to the governments allied with it. As such the situation in Afghanistan will remain a vicious circle, unless there are radical changes in attitudes from all sides that can help all to live in shared peace.

  13. 13 Shaun in Halifax
    October 20, 2008 at 16:20

    @ Pangolin

    Really? I didn’t realize that Paulson, Bernanke, Greenspan et al were Generals in the US Armed Forces. Or that they had any say whatsoever in US foreign policy.

  14. 14 Sasankh
    October 20, 2008 at 16:21

    If troops are called back.It is certain that Afganistan will again be the base of Islamic terrorist.
    This point of success has been achieved with alot of sacrifige.
    I think it will be wise to increase troops in Afganistan.

    If we take the troops out we will prevent the war today but have to face the GREAT WAR tomorrow.

  15. October 20, 2008 at 16:21

    I have to agree with Shuan.

    It is about time that NATO did it’s part – even Germany.

  16. 16 Shaun in Halifax
    October 20, 2008 at 16:26

    @ Will

    Thanks. Good writing on the online novel dealie too.

  17. 17 Syed Hasan Turab
    October 20, 2008 at 16:27

    More troops mean more casulties. Restore real Democracy in Afghanistan as removal of Karzai kind of puppet Govt will bring peace in the region.
    Reinstate Talban status as political party & restore Democracy. Create jobs & remove Opemiom cultivation under kind supervision of USA & NATO.
    Insted of enhancing militry budget spend some money by way of building Schools & Collages.
    Faceing Marshallism is not a big deal for Afghans, no doubt they are uneducated but altleast we are educated enough to understand our problem & solution.

  18. 18 John in Salem
    October 20, 2008 at 16:36

    What? – we’re going to overwhelm them with sheer numbers and force them to form a stable society when we can’t even make them stop growing poppies?

  19. 19 Shaun in Halifax
    October 20, 2008 at 16:37

    @ Syed Hasan Turab

    Restore real Democracy in Afghanistan as removal of Karzai kind of puppet Govt will bring peace in the region.

    So Karzai was appointed by the US? There was no election? The majority of people didn’t vote for him? The photos of the lines of people waiting for hours for their first real vote were doctored? Was Karzai the only name on the ballot?

    Please explain to me how Karzai is an appointed puppet government. Who’s pulling the strings?

  20. 20 Jessica in NYC
    October 20, 2008 at 16:40

    @ Roy, Washington DC

    “The war on terror is like the war on drugs — unwinnable.”

    So… this leaves us exactly were we are?

    @ Pangolin-California

    “Expecting the same people who ran the financial markets into the ground to make clear choices in a war isn’t exactly a sane response. Why run towards a fire with a bucket of gasoline?”

    If you mean the our government leaders are the same people who ran our financial markets into the ground for allowing them to go unregulated, I’d have to agree. However, not for idiotically reasons, but because this administration has shown contempt for any dissent in ideas or facts.

  21. 21 Bert
    October 20, 2008 at 16:45

    I doubt the surge of US troops had much to do with improvements on the ground in Iraq. What’s more likely is that the medieval feuding factions of Shittes and Sunnis finally figured out that they had a common enemy in their country, and it wasn’t the US. For some inexplicable reason, the outgoing administration couldn’t predict that things would be so difficult after Saddam Hussein was removed. The culture of deceipt and distrust that pervades, and has for centuries, had somehow missed their notice.

    Afghans need to similarly come to this epiphany on their own. Troop surges don’t do it. They just make the country feel more occupied.

    The war in Afghanistan is not unwinnable. It was won when the Taliban government was removed. What is improbable is that an outside power can rebuild a nation. Nation building has to come from within. Especially so when you’re dealing with medieval cultures.

    It’s high time the western powers leave Afghanistan. Afghans have to decide on their own whether they want to recede back to a Taliban regime. Even if they do, as long as they keep to themselves this time, we can stay away.

  22. 22 Roy, Washington DC
    October 20, 2008 at 16:51

    @ Jessica

    We can make progress, but we’re never going to “win” it.

    (This of course doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.)

  23. 23 Brett
    October 20, 2008 at 16:54

    John –
    What? – we’re going to overwhelm them with sheer numbers and force them to form a stable society when we can’t even make them stop growing poppies?

    LOL, that seems to be the plan.
    We can just bomb them into submission, burn all of their fields and land, and claim it all in the name of Democracy. Ask Bush, it’ll work 😉

  24. 24 Julie P
    October 20, 2008 at 16:57

    Afghanistan needs support from all of the allies involved in the NATO in order to help Afghanistan achieve its goal of stability. Not one, two, or even three countries can reach them by themselves.

  25. 25 Jay Pedro
    October 20, 2008 at 17:28

    Jay-Bloomington Indiana

    Afghanistan should be the focus on this War on Terror. Iraq has become the issue some how yet we knew that Afghanistan was harboring terrorist groups. We should surge out of Iraq and place more focus on stablizing Afghanistan. I have said it time and time again that a War on Terror is like a War on Idealism, you cannot defeat it with force unless the rest of the world is ready to show the believers of this Ideal that what they are doing is wrong. WWII was a war on idealism and it didn’t become winable until the Germans started conquering land, unless Al Queda and the remnants of the Taliban start conquering and forcing others to believe in their ideas than we cannot win this war. Humanitarian acts are the only way to show that we still believe that they are people and should have the right to practice any ideas they feel without force. Forcing someone to believe in American Ideals is the wrong way to win a war on idealism. Terrorism is in the eye of the beholder, to Al Queda they are Holy Warriors to the rest of the world they are terrorists. You cannot make someone open their hearts with force only good acts. Blowing up citizens houses only forces people to hate.

  26. 26 Bert
    October 20, 2008 at 17:37

    “If we take the troops out we will prevent the war today but have to face the GREAT WAR tomorrow.”

    Unfortunately, it is this philosophy that has put the US in the mess it is in. My argument is that it’s not possible for the US to become the police force of the world, nor can the US government keep demanding that US troops sacrifice themselves for such a cause. Americans won’t allow it.

    A lot depends on how one defines “winning” a war. Winning means removal of the immediate threat. Do we now believe that winning a war means conquering a nation? Does it mean imposing our will for all time? I don’t think so.

    The Taliban regime that supported the attack on US soil was removed successfully. Afghans now have the opportunity to rebuild without that unpopular regime. It seems obvious that the longer we stay there, the less likely this becomes, because we are perceived increasingly as occupiers, rather than liberators.

    The liberator role has a short half-life. Time to move on. We can’t, nor should we want, to conquer the world? Right?

  27. 27 Hiam
    October 20, 2008 at 17:40

    Colin Powell endorsed Obama for one reason, because he is black like him not because he is qualified. Colin Powell proved to be a hypocrite like the one he is endorsing. Obama is against the war and he is happy to have Colin Powell even though he is the one who worked on Iraq war and convinced the UN regarding the war case. Obama is not a fresh or a different politician, he is dishonest, sleazy politician. He will do or say anything to get elected. He does not love America, he only loves himself or he would not be running for the President of the USA, because he is not qualified to be even a senator.

  28. 28 Jay Pedro
    October 20, 2008 at 17:41

    @ Bert

    I agree. Can you arrest a murder before he commits a murder just based on a hunch?

  29. October 20, 2008 at 17:46

    Shaun – yours, too. Know a literary agent, I need one.

    But back to topic. The 30,000 additional American troops with an additional 10,000 NATO troops need to co-ordinate with Pakistan so that the Taleban are pushed over the Pakistan boarder where they can be annihilated.

    OR, you can carry on the negotiations that happened in Europe where the Saudi’s are trying to broker a deal. Part of that negotiation should be the handing over of OBL remains (then he can be buried where ever) – that could be a good start to the year?

  30. 30 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 17:46

    Hi Ros,
    I lived in SF for 35 years. It is a great place this time of year. I hope you are having some fun.

    As for the question.

    I believe that a surge would help. I believe that we should have been in Afghanistan and had more troops there to begin with. I do agree with Abdelilah Boukili “Winning the war against terrorism in Afghanistan means winning the heart and mind of the Afghan population.” We need to start there first. We need to make sure they are not being used as human shields and that they are given as much protection from being killed.

  31. October 20, 2008 at 17:56

    Afghanistan has never needed a “surge” or the troops that are there. If after 9/11 the stragist wold have sent ing intelligence agents folowed by small strike forces, there wold be no Osama bin Ladden today. alQaeda would be about 1/8 of the power and size it is today. And the US repect and co-operation leve across the Middle East would be at historical highs instead if historical lows.

    Pull out all of the troops. Get operatives in position to identify extremeist training camps and their leaders, follow up with required small operations. Never mention anything to the media other then saying, “if we identify people and resources being used to train extremeist, we will act to remove the threat.”

  32. 32 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 17:58

    It is impossible for a SWORD to show you it’s soft side. Saying that how can a military force promise that they are there to do good things for the people. Diplomacy and humanitarian aide is the only way to win the hearts of the people.

  33. 33 Janosik
    October 20, 2008 at 18:04

    Janosik – Chicago, IL

    Putin would be ecstatic if the US were to pull a surge in Afganistan. Now he could return the favor to the US by backing Osama bin Laden against the US troops, just as we backed Osama to do the Russian troops in decades ago. Afganistan was Russia’s Vietnam. Does anyone here have a sense of history? You are just switching the locales of quagmires. Wake up and read a history book!

  34. 34 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:07

    I am just worried about where all these troops are going to come from, we have about 200,000 troops in Iraq alone. Our standing military is only 1.4 million. Will a draft be inacted.

  35. 35 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:09

    Will the love fest for Obama end quickly when he escalates the war in Afghanistan? He’s not anti war, he said he will escalate it, yet so many people think Obama is antiwar. He explicitly has stated multiple times that Iraq was the wrong war, and Afghtanistan is the right war.

    How long will the Obama honeymoon last before you start USA bashing again?

  36. 36 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:10

    @ Janosik

    But at the time Putin wasn’t in charge and the U.S. and Russia weren’t allies. Should Britain fight America becuase of the Revolutionary war. I mean come on you are being absurd.

  37. 37 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:11

    Thank you Steve.

  38. October 20, 2008 at 18:12

    I am opposed to all war or the expansion of it.
    War is nothing more than human sacrifice engineered byt the super rich to create a industrial expense to transfer wealth from the common person to them. It is sacrifice to a god of greed and violence.

    Keep up the good work.

  39. 39 Pangolin-California
    October 20, 2008 at 18:15

    Re: The Karzai “election”. As usual those who vote control nothing; it’s the people who count the votes who control everything. A lesson not lost on the Bush cabal.

    Earlier I was referring to the actual governments of the US and NATO countries that haven’t been able to understand or control the financial collapse. The presidents, prime ministers and legislatures seem unable to discern a reality beyond their consensual template even when it’s kicking them in the head. How they are expected to manage the subtleties of tribal politics in the Hindu Kush is a mystery.

    As to the “more troops will fix it” mentality. I believe the Soviets tried that also.

  40. 40 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:17

    @ Dean

    Well what if the only way to stop genocide is war. Remember Hitler. Violence is part of human nature. Stop being such a naive baby.

  41. October 20, 2008 at 18:17

    There is a clear goal in Afghanistan: defeating the Taliban and tracking down Osama bin Laden, followed by nation-building complete with basic infrastructure, schools, democratic institutions, etc.

    This goal was completely abandoned by the Bush/Blair administrations, who decided it would be more financially rewarding to prosecute an unrelated war in Iraq instead of finishing the job in Afghanistan.

    The first thing we must do is get the heck out of Iraq. Some of those troops may be transferred to Afghanistan. Hopefully other NATO allies will contribute forces as well.

    The final question is, can the Taliban be defeated without invading Pakistan? Given that the Pakistani government has grown increasingly hostile and has made little or no effort to reign in its own militants over the past eight years despite the billions of dollars in aid we have given them, the possibility of a NATO occupation of Waziristan is looking more and more likely, perhaps inevitable.

  42. 42 Chuck
    October 20, 2008 at 18:17

    The war in Iraq and Afghanistan has bankrupted the USA much in the same way that the USSR’s war in Afghanistan bankrupted that country.

    Polls indicate that 80% of the American people don’t support troops in the Middle Easst, want troops brought home, but politicians from the Democratic and Republican parties in America are ignoring their constituents.

    The only surge of troops involving Afghanistan should be a surge back to their home countries. Let the Arab world police itself.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  43. October 20, 2008 at 18:18

    I have my doubts and I very much doubt if it will work.

  44. 44 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:18

    Isn’t Afghanistan the epitome of a failed state? So yes, “winning” is hard to define. It seems like an absolutely hopeless nation. I presume winning would just mean the inability of Afghanistanis to harm themselves or their neighbors. I wouldn’t expect any Nobel Prize winners or great inventions to come from Afghanistan anytime soon. An example of what can go wrong with too much religion.

  45. 45 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:22

    The real question should be, why is afghanistan so backwards and such the perfect example of a failed state?

  46. October 20, 2008 at 18:26

    All usa troops must return back to the usa. I want all money back. Impeach bush!!!!!!

  47. 47 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:28

    Your guest doesn’t understand what “intent” means. It’s different to accidentally kill someone, rather than pull people off a bus and behead them. Do I need to draw you a picture?

  48. 48 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:29

    I tihnk the guests should stop avoiding the question. Obama, the Messiah, is in favor of expanding the afghanistan war. Yet these a knee jerk, anti any war people, so what do they think when their messiah disagrees with them?

  49. 49 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:31

    Thank you Steve. Obama is on the edge of Anti-American. What is so wrong with being a Patriot. We used to take pride in being the world power, now after the cold war we are considered a “Dirty” people. Obama=4 years of being ashamed of being an American.

  50. 50 Chuck
    October 20, 2008 at 18:33

    When I listen to warhawks discuss Afghanistan and Iraq, they completely dehumanize those involved. Civilians killed on the ground are not referred to as dead women and children but rather “collateral damage.” American military personnel killed in battle are not referred to as dead soldiers but rather a “loss of assets on the ground.” Our current American leaders, politicians and military, are so far removed from reality that they must use euphemisms to refer to those killed in this war. It is unconscienceable.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  51. 51 Jessica in NYC
    October 20, 2008 at 18:33

    @ Lidia, speaker

    You give Troy a break. How are you make such a horrible assumption. “More” is subjective and one should not make this a completions of pain. The pain a mother feels after losing a child cannot be quantified nor does it diminish a soldier’s pain from knowing he/she kill an innocent life. A life is an expensive price to pay and we all suffer for it.

    @ Troy

    Thank you for your service and for reminding people if the human effects of taking lives.

  52. 52 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:35

    @ jay

    I don’t know why you would think he’s antiamerican. Obama is doing the right thing, by wanted to increase US troop levels in Afghanistan. Can we win? I doubt it, I think Afghanistan is just too failed of a state to have any hope. Just perhaps they can be made to not harm themselves or others.

  53. 53 John LaGrua/New York
    October 20, 2008 at 18:36

    The US presence is a major negative in the region. A surge is absurd and will only solidfy resistance and strengthen the Taliban.Afganistsan is a grave yard for foreign armies British ,Russians now Americans.Obama is dead wrong in apeing McCain .We cannot win ,never should have been there .A democracy in the country is pure nonsence. If Bin ladin is our target ,there are more artful ways to eliminate him by using a well financed local tribal group who can operate in the country unobtrusively .We have failed in Iraq and time we recognized that Afganistan is an impossible terrain and culture Time to leave.

  54. 54 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:38

    Afghans and Iraqis refuse to govern themselves. They would rather kill each other over 1000 year old conflicts, is it so wrong to stop a child playing with fire even if they think it is right.

  55. 55 Tom D Ford
    October 20, 2008 at 18:39

    The people of Afghanistan have their own version of “democracy”, their Loya Jurga(SP?) that is older than the the US, why does Bush want to impose some American style on them?

    How about talking about the pipeline?

    Talk about how Hamid Karzai was an employee of Unocal, which requested permission to build a pipeline across Afghanistan in 1996 but was refused by the Taliban.

    Talk about the elephant in the room, Global Oil Corporations which want that pipeline built and are using the US military to get enough control to make it possible.

    Since when has any Cheap-Labor Conservative Republican ever cared about anyone’s human rights, let alone in Afghanistan? If they didn’t need the pipeline the US would not be in Afghanistan!

  56. 56 Rick in CA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:40

    I find your on air guest to be unepathetic and judgemental. Especially her visceral comment that the Soldier that mistakenly kills a civilian feels less than another.

    Unless you have actually killed someone, and realize the abject horror of the mistake you’ve made as only the one that commited it can know, you cannot presume to make the statement she did. Many a soldier have taken their own lives having not been able to deal with the events as such.

    Your guest’s dismissal of the caller’s statement that “noone hurts more than the soldier that killed the innocent” is both callous and insensitive.

    -Rick in California

  57. October 20, 2008 at 18:40

    I think George Bush is a very evil man . He is carrying out a builderberger plot. The plot being liberation of countries and people even if he has to kill them to do it.

  58. 58 Jessica in NYC
    October 20, 2008 at 18:41

    @ Steve

    “[Obama] explicitly has stated multiple times that Iraq was the wrong war, and Afghtanistan is the right war.”

    I do not hold Obama on a pedestal, many of this policies do not make me happy. However, that doesn’t negate that for me he is the better choice for president. As far as Afghanistan is concerned, I was not against going to war there after Bin Laden’s 9/11. Iraq was ALWAYS a mistake it took our attention and resources away from finding Osama Bin Laden. I do not what the solution is, 7 [—] years have passed, it’s not the same ‘battle’ anymore.

    Like I said earlier, I will listen and read attentively with an open mind to what the “experts” say to say before I form an opinion.

  59. 59 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:42

    @ Rick

    keep in mind these people are the ones that think no war is justified, and would have offered hugs to Hitler. Some people don’t learn the lessons from history, so take what they say not too seriously, becuase nobody that matters cares for their opinions.

  60. 60 Chuck
    October 20, 2008 at 18:42

    Instead of focusing on Afghanistan, Obama needs to concentrate on the real villain: Saudi Arabia. Those who flew planes into American buildings on 911 were Saudi Arabian. The money funding the Taliban in Afghanistan and Iraq has been sourced to Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden is a Saudi Arabian citizen. Saudi Arabia calls itself a kingdom, but it is a dictatorship — and it is one of the last nation’s in the world with a legalized system of slavery. Saudi Arabian banking assets should be seized, the royal family of Saudi Arabia imprisoned, and the Saudi people freed from the yoke of slavery. Saudi Arabia is America’s real enemy.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  61. 61 Roy, Washington DC
    October 20, 2008 at 18:43

    Question for the Afghan guests on the show —

    Given that the USA is trying so hard to spread democracy in Afghanistan, is democracy what Afghans really want? Or, is there another form of government (perhaps one based on Islam) that Afghans would be more open to?

  62. 62 Maccus Germanis
    October 20, 2008 at 18:45

    It is important to have force to support allies and keep peace, but could lead to the unwitting cooperation in the enemies propoganda of “occupation.” The surge in Iraq was preceded by mass rejection of the ruthless tactics of violent jihad. Residents, most notably, of Anbar demonstrated trust that increased numbers of American troops would lead to their greater security. I don’t know that violent jihad is as widely repudiated within Afghanistan, or that trust between American forces and indigenous forces is well enough developed, for a surge to work as well as it has in Iraq. I look forward to being proved wrong, as I’d noted similar concerns before the Iraq surge.

  63. 63 tikkooo
    October 20, 2008 at 18:45

    Make no mistake or be mislead by the fact that things are calmer in Iraq because of the US military surge. Things are much better than use to be in the era subsequent to the illegal occupation of Iraq, because, first, the Iraqi people got fed up with hellish situation and secondly al-Qaida became more hate than the Americans.
    Afghans are totally different people than the civilized Iraqis. The Taliban’s are utterly barbarians who have no consideration for humans and their rights.
    I honestly can’t figure out how anybody can fix the situation in Afghanistan while the Taliban’s are around. I think they need brain washing so that they can behave like humans. As long as they stay like that there is no hope of improvement—surge or no surge.
    The other most important thing is the Western governments behaviour and their bias and double standard against Islamic nations. Which is core of all terror against Western nation.

  64. 64 Jay Pedro-Bloomington Indiana, USA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:46


    Sorry that is Naive….MONEY TALKS.

  65. 65 Don
    October 20, 2008 at 18:47

    To Lidia –

    Thank God and the soldiers like Troy for the freedoms we have in our country. It’s because of the sacrifices that the armed forces continue to serve our nation, that allows you to share your opinions without any fear of you losing your life for your views.

    To Rose –

    News Flash: “President Obama” has yet to be elected President!

  66. 66 Elisa
    October 20, 2008 at 18:49

    Even though the Lydia in the Studio assumes that military intervention is unnecessary, that is not true and a little naive. Diplomacy of course is the key to obtain Afghan support and to create a common enemy (the insugents) which would result in outnumbered insurgents and their sympathizers. However the insurgents are not in a position to have a conversation and until that mentality can be achieved I believe a military presence can be bring the security needed to Afghans at the moment.

  67. 67 Jessica in NYC
    October 20, 2008 at 18:49

    @ Rick

    I completely agree with you! She was judgmental and callous and I am completely disgusted.

    I know soldiers who are haunted by the lives they have taken. Furthermore, I know a few people who have lead peace movements and have never witness any of them be insensitive of the burden soldiers carry.

  68. 68 Rick in CA
    October 20, 2008 at 18:55


    How is it un-American to want to be in a war for the right reasons? Obama has said that the war in Iraq needs to end. How is that un-Patriotic? Has anyone said “surrender?” No, he is advocating doing just what the current administration has not, and declaring clear objectives and circumstances of victory that yield to the responsible withdrawal of our troops from Iraq. The way you state it, it almost sounds like you advocate occupation without end (I doubt that you do, though).

    Calling obama unpatriotic is like calling McCain a baby-killer. Both charges are stupid and pointless.

    As for Afghanistan, we are missing the mark. If we focussed the same resources on Afghanastan that we have in Iraq, Osama would be would be drinking cavewater right now….probably on a permanent basis. We, as a nation, and as a world power, cannot afford the same mistakes we made in Afghanistan under Reagan. We need to be responsilble. We need to care for things beyond our own borders for not just for our good, but for the good of the world.

    Rick in CA

  69. 69 steve
    October 20, 2008 at 18:55


    Vancouver is in British Columbia.

  70. 70 Chuck
    October 20, 2008 at 18:55

    Roy raises a great question.

    India is the world’s largest democracy — not the USA or UK. The influence of Democracy in India has not expanded into Pakistan, Afghanistan, or any of its other Islamic neighbors. If democracy isn’t going to spread to Afghanistan from India nearby, then America has no chance of bringing democracy to the country.

    Portland, Oregon USA

  71. October 20, 2008 at 18:56

    You cannot underestimate the problem of corruption. All the troops in the world, all the reconstruction efforts, won’t make a difference. If there isno application of the rule of law, then all is lost.

  72. 72 Tom D Ford
    October 20, 2008 at 18:56

    Some people here have assumed that the Surge in Iraq was a success, that is not the truth, the additional troops arrived at the end of the ethnic cleansing of the neighborhoods when the most of the genocidal killing had already been done!

    It was a peace achieved through genocide.

    Is that what you want in Afghanistan?

  73. October 20, 2008 at 18:58

    I agree with Lydia. Although there is much hurt to go around; the troops do not hurt more.

  74. 74 Jessica in NYC
    October 20, 2008 at 19:02

    @ Tom D Ford

    “Talk about the elephant in the room, Global Oil Corporations which want that pipeline built and are using the US military to get enough control to make it possible. Since when has any Cheap-Labor Conservative Republican ever cared about anyone’s human rights, let alone in Afghanistan? If they didn’t need the pipeline the US would not be in Afghanistan!

    That is my concern and why I hesitate supporting the troop surge in Afghanistan.

  75. 75 Harry Latto
    October 20, 2008 at 19:14

    One of the guests said that there is no difference between civilians killed unintentionally as “collateral damage” in a U.S. airstrike aimed at a Talaban military target, and the action of the Talaban in cutting the throats of civilians on a bus, inasmuch as the loved ones of the departed feel the same. What an outrageous and obviously wrong remark. Of course there is a world of difference and it is condescending of her to assume that the surviving loved ones do not understand it. The Allies, in their preinvasion bombing of Normandy, killed 15,000 innocent French civilians. The Nazis also massacred thousands during their retreat in France. Does this guest really believe that these actions are morally the same?

  76. 76 James
    October 20, 2008 at 19:19

    Ros the surge in Afghan i doubt will work.You see, in Afghan there is dire poverty no stakes like oil reserves there.In Iraq oil is a distraction to insurgents who might target the illegal oil money.But in Afghan those terrorists just want to kill and jihad the west influence.But lets hope it works but can only work if the ratio of troops to taleban is 4:1.Gooday

  77. 77 Jacqueline
    October 20, 2008 at 19:19

    Unfortunately, many Americans think that you cannot be “tough on terror” unless you use military force. I DO believe that if Obama becomes president, he will negotiate with countries that we see as “enemies” in order to diffuse conflict and hopefully, we will not have to use military force. We should be sending troops and American peace workers to rebuild infrastructure in these countries that desperately need it. I believe John McCain would shoot first and ask questions later, just like Bush has done.

  78. 78 bouhammer
    October 20, 2008 at 19:20

    You have no idea what you are talking about, just as Lydia didn’t Sitting at home or worse in a radio studio in San Francisco is not the place to judge the main and horrors of war. Fly into Afghanistan and spend a few months or a year and then you will be warranted to have an opinion. . I am one of those troops, I have walked that road. I know the pain felt by looking kids in the the face when their parents are killed, especially when they are murdered by Taliban forces.

    As our Great General Douglas MacArthur once said, “The Soldier above all others prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest scars of war.”

    Show Guest,
    Troy Steward

  79. 79 Amer A
    October 20, 2008 at 19:20

    I am listening to WHYS and one thing people have not talked about is occupation of a country and government. A surge will do nothing because the people in Afghanistan see the Western forces as occupiers. Regardless of the fact that they intend to take out a tyrant such as Bin Laden, or restructure a country and benefit the Afghani people, they will not be able to accomplish any of their goals. You can never, ever, ever, ever, ever, expect to do good things in Afghanistan if occupation is the formula for meeting those objections

  80. 80 Brandon
    October 20, 2008 at 19:21

    It is unbelievable the way people think of the US Military!

    If the US decided one day to NOT support foreign issues when speaking about military action, the world would hate us for that as well….it’s ridiculous how we(US Military) are perceived in the world.

    We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t !

  81. October 20, 2008 at 19:21

    Some Americans and their geography, eh?


    Vancouver, Washington State.

    Nice place – I have been there.

  82. 82 Ken, New York
    October 20, 2008 at 19:22

    Military troops are not trained to find hiding criminals, they are only trained to kill. Osama BinLaden is a criminal. Pull out all troops and send in the best criminal investigators we have. Scotland Yard, FBI, M5.

  83. 83 Jay Pedro
    October 20, 2008 at 19:22

    The fact that people are listening to World Have Your Say in Afghanistan and they can speak their minds is a sign of serious progress.

  84. 84 Ryan, Portland Oregon
    October 20, 2008 at 19:23

    While I don’t think the gentleman was suggesting, as Lydia in your studio was saying, that the service-person feels the most disturbance of anyone involved when civilians are killed; I think he was suggesting that the U.S. service-person is the most compassionate of any force from any country. While I believe that U.S. Troops are compassionate, to suggest that U.S. Troops are somehow more righteous and sympathetic reflects a common attitude in the U.S. that Americans are somehow superior to the rest of the world. This attitude allows the American people to passively endorse atrocities perpetrated on their behalf

  85. 85 Ben, San Fransisco
    October 20, 2008 at 19:28

    I think it’s naive to imagine if Obama is elected, Afghanistan’s experience of being occupied by the US would be transformed. US politics have been characterized by some political scientists as “friendly fascism”; a large segment felt emotionally familiar with GW Bush and supported policies objectionable by most of the rest of the world. Another US segment imagines Obama as a nice, moral good guy, but I don’t believe his policy or the afghani experience of the policies will be different from the current reality. (It isn’t as though it Obama would personally be the person knocking down doors and dropping bombs – it will still be the US military.) The two administrations will have more in common than most voters imagine, even if we relate very differently to the two political brands.

  86. 86 Jean
    October 20, 2008 at 19:28

    Afganistan is not a unified country, it is tribal with leaders everywhere. Foreigners can not simply walk into the country and unify it and America is naiive to think so.

    Second point: What right does the United States have to unilaterally go into countries and tell them what to do?

    I repeat what I wrote before: If foreign soldiers were walking around my city with tanks and guns I would throw everything I could find at them to defeat them. And I am a 66 year old woman living in San Francisco. That’s what we will find in any country we invade.

  87. 87 Denise
    October 20, 2008 at 19:30

    If people know the history of the United States, it has destroyed directly or indirectly more democracies than not. Now it is trying to take away democracy from it own people by shredding our constitution. It is arrogant to think we can save the world by destroying it.

  88. 88 Jude, Vancouver
    October 20, 2008 at 19:30

    I am saddened by the incredible arrogance of your guest towards the american military. We need dissent to ensure human rights are not violated. Accusing soldiers of not having feelings and sinking into cruel insults is, however, not dissent. It is to the left what Dick Cheney is to the right. Let us acknowledge the realities of the situation be they successes or failures, and let us try what worked in Iraq in the hope that it works in Afghanistan.

  89. 89 Alan
    October 20, 2008 at 19:32

    We shouldn’t be there in a military form. We should be helping them grow their country with kindness, assistance and understanding. Help the locals prosper and let them deal with insurgents. If they are not strong enough, then it’s the natural culling of the species!

  90. 90 GB
    October 20, 2008 at 19:32

    To Troy,
    I’m sorry you had to bear that comment about our people in country and civilian casualties. There are some of us that know the heartbreak.

  91. 91 Merlin
    October 20, 2008 at 19:33

    the americans are never going to leave afghanistan, the real reasons are more to do with the fact that there is a massive oil pipeline running through the country thus securing an easy energy source and consolidating us hegemony throughout the region with it’s close proximity to pakistan. to quote larry everest “from the beginning all of it was part of an overall plan to expand and fortify U.S. power—to create an unchallenged and unchallengeable global imperialist empire.”

  92. 92 Rick in CA
    October 20, 2008 at 19:49


    You wrote, “Second point: What right does the United States have to unilaterally go into countries and tell them what to do?”

    Applying this to Iraq: you get the point; we pretty much had none. Afghanistan, however, was in fact Osama bin Laden’s “home field,” and several hundred lives lost in downtown Manhattan pretty much gave the US “moral imperative” to go in an hunt Al Quaeda down. Missing the mark since then is also totally on us, as is the horrible condition of that campaign–no fault of it’s own, but rather that of a de-focussed administration. Hopefully that changes on Nov. 4th.

    In my previous post I said we (the US) has to be responsible in our actions on the international front. that includes putting our money where our mouth is and actually supporting Democracies, rather than having allies of convenience (Moushariff), that trample all over their own people. That makes us look like Hypocrites.

    Also, we should understand that not all countries are ready for Democracy. America has it because the people took up arms and demanded it.

    History has always shown you can’t give people freedom, they have to want it enough to fight (and die) for it themselves.

    -Rick in CA

  93. 93 Tom D Ford
    October 20, 2008 at 19:50

    As to who feels worst after killing, even the Nazis who did the actual personal killing of Jews in the thirties and WW2 kept having what was then called “nervous breakdowns”.

    The fact is that killing damages the one who does the killing. No one gets away undamaged.

  94. 94 Dinka Alpayo Aliap, kampala
    October 20, 2008 at 20:09

    No. I donnot think that we should uses word surge but should uses the word war instead because terrorists are no longer hiding these days and that is why they are in HELMAN ,WAZEERISTAN and other provinces to show you that they are ready for everythings,therefore WEST should avoid been destroy to the ground by the problems of 21 rst century, by avoiding that you should leave they war to its players because you might find yourselves been at WAR with Russia,China,Cuba etc when your troops were been broken down already by terrorists, talking to your enemy is not a defeat but is also a one of victory tactics.Terrorists/Talibans have no permanent enemy neither do they have permanent colleague therefore should be left to exist on their own states.

  95. 95 bouhammer
    October 20, 2008 at 20:35

    Thank you but that is ok. I am glad that I live in and fight for a country that allows people to have those freedoms that allow them to say whatever they want. Even if it it is the most crazy and idiotic thing I have ever heard. I wonder how someone can be so insensitive towards the organization (military) that affords them those freedoms. Notice that she started to change her tune one it was someone besides me saying anything (the people from Canada and Alabama that emailed in comments).

    The bottom line is this, unless you have walked the ground, looked into the eyes, smelled the death and also witnessed the great progress that has happened there, then you really have nothing valid to base an opinion on. That doesn’t mean someone shouldn’t have an opinion, it just means that you don’t warrant trying to voice it as fact.

    Also, for those that listened to the show, the titles and names are President Bush, Senator Obama, and Senator McCain. That was a great slap in the face to refer to Obama as President already. But then again go ahead and get cocky about him winning, it will make the defeat of Obama that much better on Nov 5th when Senator John McCain wins.

  96. 96 Kelsie in Houston
    October 20, 2008 at 20:51

    The bottom line is this, unless you have walked the ground, looked into the eyes, smelled the death and also witnessed the great progress that has happened there, then you really have nothing valid to base an opinion on.

    I disagree.

    I do agree that accusations should be substantiated, not merely a barrage of mudslinging. However, people who have no field experience (starting with many politicans) in the present conflict shouldn’t be excluded from critiquing it. We’ll be skirting the line of fascism very closely if the only people considered qualified enough to offer reasonable constructive criticism of the military are the military themselves. Research and a balanced understanding are just as legitimate a foundation for one’s opinion as field experience.

    Again, I’m not justifying mudslinging or indiscriminate rhetorical attacks on the military, but we need to be realistic in that just as military service does not automatically confer on one an arcane understanding of leadership or strategy, a lack of military service does not imply a lack of patriotism or basis on which to form legitimate opinions. That’s my $.02.

  97. 97 Dan
    October 20, 2008 at 21:02

    I have a very simple question that no one seems able to answer.
    The Feds are prosecuting 5 Muslim men who were planning an unprovoked attack on the soldier in Ft. Dix NJ.
    The 5 men maintain that they were defending Islam. Obviously Islam is a very weak religion as Muslims keep saying to justify their terrorism that they must defend it with sadistic acts. If Islam is so weak does it deserve to exist?
    Why is Islam so weak?

  98. 98 Syed Hasan Turab
    October 20, 2008 at 23:33

    Shaun in Halifax,
    Infact Karzai is puppet on chain & USA is holding him by way of militry actions, if USA & NATO forces left Afghanistan he may not survive even one day, any way his Govt is in a office & Opomeam fields thats it.
    No doubt Democratic forces need time to establish, more then Democratic forces he is paying attention to Drugs fields, if we compair Talban time this drug business was zero, therefore in general public Talaban are still popular because of drug abuse problem.
    If we suceed to provide choices drug supporter Karzai will loose against Anti drugs Talaban, beside that so many issues need to settle down upto public satisfaction.
    Dont consider one sided propangada authentic.

  99. October 21, 2008 at 00:02

    It’s election time!
    Grin and bear it.


  100. 100 L. Walker
    October 21, 2008 at 01:37

    if they don’t want us there, we should leave. let them deal with their own problems. beef up US border security and use the extra money and troops to fix our own ailing nation.

    the US should cease to try to be a parent to other nations.

  101. October 21, 2008 at 02:34

    I posted earlier on this, but someone must have yanked my thoughts.

    We need more than a surge. Certainly a surge to beef up security on nation building efforts to have a massive civil action effort. Building roads, schools, building good markets, safe wells, great agricultureal efforts to get the poverty and economic opportunities for the nation to get going and build a functional and good society.

    We also need to get a couple million boots on the ground to secure the boarder and form cordon forces and attack forces. We need to form a ground army and serious attack forces from our state and federal prisons. We pay $40,000 a year to feed these people and cater to them. They deserve an opportunity to contribute something as they pay their debt to society.

    We can also use all illegal immigrents as a resource also. Like tell them to leave and if they don’t they get drafted and thrown into the vacant prisons and sent through a quick boot camp motivated by good food and comfortable conditions. If they do not want to get drafted and serve, get sent to jump school and be soldiers…..they are free to go back where they came from.

    This would be a lot more fair than drafting the high school football team and sending them into the meat grinder as they did in our day.

    I certainly had no interest in being a soldier when I was in my early 20s either, but when you are in the infantry, and the only guys on the other side being serious hunters and killer…..you tend to stick with your side and fight for your life.

    There is no way to win a war by having a light hand on the enemy, they get encouraged to fight and kill and enlongate the war and tire the good guys out.

    Best to kill a lot of them and get the message over to the bad guys that allah does not like them. Also the lesson might get learned that it if you attack the United States they might just attack and do things that no one is expecting.

    Time to get the war over and done with rather than making it last for 30 to 40 years.

    We have got to kill enough of them to the point where they cry uncle and their mothers get tired of losing sons.

    We have to do this before we lose our economic strength. You do this by using our liabilites as assets. Then we are generous to the winners with the bootie taken from the oil rich and opium rich enemy.


  102. 102 brat
    October 21, 2008 at 05:53

    First, it is NOT just Americans in Afghanistan. There are at least 30 countries’ troops on the ground, just as there are many NGO’s working on the humanitarian side. However, in order for the NGO’s and aid agencies from all the countries to rebuild, and do service type stuff for the Afghanis, there has to be troops to ensure the Taleban doesnt kill the workers. The Taleban is invested in the reconstruction NOT going on, because then they would lose control. Brouhammer is right. Only after you have walked tghe walk as a soldier in a war can you state facts. If you have not been TO war as a soldier, you can voice your opinions (if you live in America for example) but you do NOT know the facts.

    As for the troops being Iraq? May I remind you, Saddam ignored MANY UN resolutions, and in the US Congress and the Senate voted to approve troops going in. It is not, nor was it ever, BUSH’s war. Educate yourselves, please!

    As for the Afghanis not wanting any of us there (again, more than American troops are there). Earlier this year the CBC and Environics – I think it was – did a poll with the Afghani people. Overwhelmingly they supported having troops in their country.. THEY “get it” as to why we are there. Also Kharzai invited the troops in.

    Until and unless you lots have been TO war, there is no room for armchair generals.

    Also as Bouhammer also stated: the soldier above all, prays for peace. However, to hear some of you glibly say we will not support any wars because war is evil is absurd. Should we just have offered the terrorists a cup of tea (the ones that survived that is) after 9/11? Should we just offer a peace pipe to the Islamist militants who are on the record, many times over, as saying their goal is to kill all infidels? Infidels includes you and me by the way.

    To use simple cliches (like no more wars, or we are there for oil – an assinine assertion by the way…)is to show ignorance of the nuances, complexities in trying to solve the world’s problems.

    I respectfully suggest that you a) educate yourselves by reading ALL the points of view with an open mind and b) actually talk to the Iraqis and Afghanis and ask them what they want. You might be surprised to hear that they want the same things in LIFE as you do. To raise their children, and care for their families. How do I know this? I have bothered to inform myself. I have talked to Afghanis and Iraqis, and to troops involved in both Iraq and Afghanistan. I would take their opinions – based on their having lived, breathed, sweated, bled the issues – over any armchair “expert” any day.

    That’s just the broad strokes. To take each of your comments one by one would take more time and space than is available here. Open your minds.

  103. 103 Pangolin-California
    October 21, 2008 at 06:27

    I have to object to the repeated statements that imply that the freedoms that US citizens enjoy are somehow a gift from the military. They are most explicitly not that. The US Constitution enumerates the rights of the people of the United States and the US armed forces swear:

    I, [name], do solemnly swear, (or affirm,) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.

    The US Constitution clearly states that the people are sovereign and the military shall be subject to the control of the people’s representatives in the form of the President as Commander in Chief and the Congress holding the power to declare war and control the purse.

    No GI anywhere gave me freedom. It’s MINE by right. Any implication otherwise is a scurrilous treason.

  104. 104 Pangolin-California
    October 21, 2008 at 06:42

    The pretense that the Afghan occupation is anything but theater for the US electorate withers under close scrutiny. Bush needed a war to distract the people while his crony’s looted. It had to be ongoing so that they could drop the terrorism card whenever they had political trouble at home.

    The soldiers from 30 countries facade is just that. Some countries send delegations from a handful to a few hundred that rarely leave their bases without US babysitters. Which is why said US troops complain bitterly when they catch rounds while “coalition forces” sit in bunkers and collect medals.

    If you were US military sent to Afghanistan my apologies; you got suckered. The Taliban were never a threat to the US and the 9-11-2001 attack succeeded only due to the deliberate incompetence of the Bush cabal. Maybe we can get you a nice pension if we can get John McCain to quit voting against them.

  105. October 21, 2008 at 06:42


    Until and unless you lots have been TO war, there is no room for armchair generals.

    What was your military career? If you don’t or didn’t have one, your argument is mute.

    Not moot – just mute.

  106. 106 Ashraf frugh
    October 21, 2008 at 06:44

    In my own country Afghanistan all the people think that USA is just playing a game of cat and mouse in their country. People think that the USA does not want an end to the war against the of Al-Qaeda and terrorists groups and want to stay long and longer in Afghanistan in order to have more control on Iran and Russia and to earn billions of dollars from cultivation and trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan to outside world. People think that the USA from one side in the name of war against terror has brought thousand of its soldiers to Afghanistan and it is not important for them if their own soldiers and NATO forcers and thousand of other innocent Afghans are killed in conflicts and suicide bombings and on the other side it gives millions of aids to Pakistan and has closed its eyes to what goes on, on the other side of the border in Pakistan with terrorists camps, Islamic madras and Osama living happily and freely with his friends and wives. People think that the war against terror has already been won (or at least can be easily won) in Afghanistan and Iraq and just a change in policy is needed.
    People think that the USA has never honestly tried to help and bring some positive changes to their daily life and to their economic situation. They think the USA does not give a penny of its money without any purpose and they think that …
    I do not want to believe what people are thinking because what people are thinking is not always true and I do want to believe what they are thinking because they cannot always be falls.

    Whether these thought are right or wrong, a change in every area is needed. Some years ago we voted for our first free democratic elected president and we all afghan people were hoping for change, for a better life and to have some bread in our tables but nothing happened. In fact, things went worse for the past years and now we have all realized that without a change in White House and its policy makers no change will come to our country (Afghanistan) and our bad and catastrophic days.

    I am sure if the afghan people had the right to vote in US presidential election, then 99 percent of them are democrats. The rest one percent are people who would like the conflict goes on and on, so they can benefit from the drugs cultivation, worse and corrupted government, war lords and those who have some connection with USA enemies and know a continuation of war is something that bring the USA down to its knees.
    But important is the Obama is the sours of a new hope to a better future and CHANGE.
    We believe and trust him and we are sure that the only man who can bring change to our country is BO.
    There were many candidates for the presidency and MPs (inside and outside our country all over the world) who have made many good and pleasant promises, but once they have gained the power, they have broken all their promises and it has been like that for decades, but we all know and believe he is EXCEPTIONAL.
    He is the one who can bring changes and never break his promises.

    We hope we are not wrong.

    I (we all) think that a change in the policy is needed, not a surge.

  107. 107 Bob in Queensland
    October 21, 2008 at 06:46

    @ brat

    Also Kharzai invited the troops in.

    The invasion started in October 2001. Karzai’s role wasn’t legitimised with an election until 2004.

    This is not to say the invasion was wrong. It was entirely necessary and had wide popular support from countries around the world (unlike Iraq). What was wrong was not finishing the job that had been started and losing all sense of momentum.

    But if you’re going to post “the facts”, discussion of Karzai’s “invitation” is pretty dicey ground.

  108. 108 Jack Hughes
    October 21, 2008 at 08:26

    Certainly there are many things on which most people here agree – Bush, palin, Obama, the Iraq war, gay marriage to name five…

    Are you beebers going to step outside your comfort zone any time soon ?

  109. October 21, 2008 at 14:30

    @ jack, sorry I’ll bet most do not agree on the Bush,Palin, Obama, Iraq, gay marriage things to name five.

    @Brat, Agree mostly with your statements. Most who have served as real infantry types sort of see the world as you do rather than the types like Pangolin, who seems like the typical non military sort who thinks itself to be smart, but only proves the opposite when it talks.

    The food chain out there really is filled with dangerous predators, more so than you could create in a make believe scenario.


  110. 110 K.Anaga
    October 21, 2008 at 14:39

    My comments are from srilanka.I dont have the opportunity of listining to your programme.
    I have been sending various comments. I don’t have a feed back. nevertheless………….
    Where ever America poked its nose it was a failure. far the simple reason they have never been sincere.They were only keen on creating chaos so that country will never develop and be a threat to to their nation,economically,financially.and militarily.
    But it seems to boomarang and today. America is in a poor shape mostly because of their so called foreign policy-bully.
    It is high time they look back,pause and march forward in sincerity.
    Arrogance must stop and learn to differenciate beween Good and the Bad and The Ugly.
    Before talking the GUN learn to Talk to your rivals and learn to respect their NEEDS & VIEWS.
    I am inclined to believe that all what we say is like ‘Pouring Water on Ducks Back’

  111. 111 Kelsie in Houston
    October 21, 2008 at 14:45

    @Pangolin re: your 6.27am:
    Yes, yes, yes. Thank you.

  112. 112 Bob in Queensland
    October 21, 2008 at 14:46

    @ troop & brat

    Many years ago I lived next door to a married couple. The woman was a midwife in a large hospital in the UK.

    While we lived next door, the midwife became pregnant. You’d have thought she would have been knowledgeable and prepared for her pregnancy. However, in reality, she spend nine months in a state of terror. Every twinge, every kick by the baby, every lack of kicking from the baby became a reason to worry. Basically, because she spent her working life dealing with all the things that can go wrong during a pregancy she saw problems and complications where there were none.

    I fear the same thing has happened to you two. You believe your military experience has shown you the “real world” but, in reality, it has given you a warped perception of both the dangers in the world and how to deal with them. You see only the bad and acknowledge only military force as a way to deal with them.

    Before you ask, no, I’m not military or ex military but I have spent a lot of time in war zones, quite possibly more than you. However, I was in one of those white land rovers with the initials “TV” stuck on the side, usually in messy gaffer tape. If that puts me on a different side to you, so be it.

  113. 113 Kelsie in Houston
    October 21, 2008 at 14:47

    Until and unless you lots have been TO war, there is no room for armchair generals.

    Wrong. Mr Bush himself has nil combat experience, and is evidently regarded by your lot as sufficiently capable as commander-in-chief.

    I refuse to bow down and worship the military. Like any institution in the United States–or the world at large–the U.S. military is not above criticism and/or reproach when it merits such. I derive my right to that from the First Amendment, not the military.

  114. 114 GB
    October 21, 2008 at 15:33

    To bouhammer, (1 hate that @ thing) I hear you loud and clear as I am 55 and have walked a bit in your gear. People just don’t get it but you can’t blame them. It is tough to take tough, you did good . Madeline has told me that this is the place to air the facts that the “surge” was not all about troop increase but had more to do with covert intelligence, locals and so on. Apparently the guests didn’t want to discuss those aspects of the improvement? I heard you try to bring them up but it fell on deaf ears. Like I said, there are people out there that aren’t rabid dogs in either yard that have understanding of where you have been. Job well done. Carry on.

  115. October 21, 2008 at 20:43

    Dear Ros, As you can see this was originally sent at 4.26pm today. Could it please be posted ASAP again. Thank you.

    Matthew October 21, 2008 at 4:26 pm
    Listen to Lubna in Baghdad, and those in Kabul who have entered the blog and debate. I suggest we all take serious note and take heed of what is being said by them! They’re living the daily reality!
    There’s no substitute for someone on the ground as it were, who’s speaking from first hand experience and is relaying information to those who have eyes to see and those who have ears and wish to listen.
    So many of us like to live our lives vicariously through others. But if you’re not there or not party to information directly from individuals who have experienced the daily existence of living in places past and present, like Baghdad, Kabul, Tehran, Damascus, Riyadh, Beirut, Jerusalem, Kurdistan, Pyongyang, Phnom Penh, Hanoi, Saigon, Belgrade, Pristina, Sarajevo, Darfur, Mogadishu, Tripoli, Johannesburg, Managua, Caracas, Bogota, Lima, La Paz etc, etc including the US election, you hope to be able to rely on what is formulated for your consumption in the main news network’s eyes.
    Lubna is living the reality like millions of others in their native cities, which are the supposed trouble spots of the world, the Axis of Evil nations, the anti-American leaders and governments that we learn about through our news media. I have had firsthand experience myself of living amongst others than those from my native country. The experience is very different than the one that is conveyed via most ‘Free and democratic media’ we are subject to in Europe and America in the main. We are mostly armchair commentators and passive viewers to a considerable extent, unless we have the ability and try to seek out alternative media away from the mainstream.
    Whether you have left or right wing values or are caught up somewhere in the middle. I urge all of you firstly to listen to those who are living in the countries concerned with regard to this question about the value of deploying the surge into Afghanistan. The second and best option in my view is to seek out and study journalists and reporters not associated with the mainstream, that not everyone will have heard of. I offer up 3 alternatives, who ask straight questions and gain access where others won’t dare go, and indeed in at least one case literally put his life on the line after being kidnapped and held hostage. Luckily after 3 months as a hostage of the Taliban, he was released when a TV channel stepped in and paid and put a stop to his incarceration, and the very real threat of execution at the hands of his captors.
    Website information for the following is:
    http://www.seanlangan.co.uk, http://www.johnpilger.com and http://www.gregpalast.com

  116. October 21, 2008 at 20:43

    What does “surge” mean? Increasing so-called “collateral damage”? The “human bubble” has been bursting ever since. Why are other humans in other countries being so trashed by those “communicating with God on a daily basis”? Just does’nt make any sense anymore. Poverty struck Afghan mothers are showing their babies suffering from severe malnutrition with hanging skins from their bottoms and shrunken bodies because they are mal nutritioned and they are very short on money and food. Billions are spent on the war effort while that on tne economy is scant. And Bin Laden is nowhere on the horizon! Little wonder that NATO and British Commanders in-country are calling for a serious review of the whole strategy in Afghanistan. Makes a mountain of sense finally.

  117. 117 bisbadge
    October 22, 2008 at 01:58

    After listening to the show and reading these comments….I say bring all our troops home and send the “pansies” over there if they think they can solve all the problems. They make my butt crave buttermilk….UGH They have NO idea what life is like for the people of Astan or Iraq. Shame on them!!!!

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