The New York Times reported recently that President Obama's three-page apology letter to President Karzai contained these sentences: "I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident. I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies." This will only serve as further evidence to our enemies in Afghanistan of America's weakness and lack of resolve in what is likely to be a very long and global war. American impatience, fatigue and a desire not to offend, does not bode well for an American victory or for Afghan liberation. No one worried about offending our enemies during World War II. That's why the forces for good won.
Can Afghanistan be stabilized so as not to pose a threat to America and American interests? Probably not, if the surge forces pull out on schedule and America continues to fight under restrictive and self-imposed rules of war while the enemy does not.
So what's the point? Are we to stay only until after the election so President Obama won't be asked, "Who lost Afghanistan?" If our troops are coming out anyway and if the administration can't define victory, or commit the resources necessary to achieve it, waiting longer only ensures more casualties. As with Vietnam, that is a waste of blood and treasure. Ask the ghosts of the more than 58,000 fallen whose names appear on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, or the ghosts of the politicians who are responsible for putting them in their graves.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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