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Letters to the Editor: Withdrawing from Afghanistan is a choice — the right one

Blast walls and a few buildings at the Bagram air base
Blast walls and a few buildings at the Bagram air base in Parwan province north of Kabul, Afghanistan, on July 5 after the American military left.
(Rahmat Gul / Associated Press )

To the editor: Jonah Goldberg’s column “Accepting unconditional defeat in Afghanistan is a choice — and a bad one,” failed to note two unavoidable facts.

First, the mission presented to the U.S. public in 2001 was accomplished more than 10 years ago with the death of Osama bin Laden. Second, President Bush’s nation-building effort was never fully supported by the Afghan people, rendering success impossible.

Goldberg’s labeling the decision to end this misguided and tragic episode as a bad choice is deeply misleading and certainly unfair to President Biden who, like his two White House predecessors, recognized its futility.

Eric Carey, Arlington, Va.

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To the editor: Machiavelli noted that enemies should be dealt with either by annihilation or conciliation.

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We failed at the former for almost two decades along with our NATO allies, although not without trying mightily. We also failed at the latter because our enemy, knowing it would prevail eventually and knowing the terrain and culture far better than we did, refused to yield to our heartfelt entreaties.

Although we fought a well-intentioned battle for a long and trying period, the initial premise that we could graft a Western nation onto a corrupt and ardently Islamic Afghanistan after chasing Al Qaeda out was tragically mistaken.

America must put its hubris aside and fly the stars and stripes only when winds are culturally compliant.

Paul Bloustein, Cincinnati, Ohio


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