The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

September 19, 2012

Our View: Change needed

Gen. John Allen, the commander of all Allied Forces in Afghanistan, has announced a major reduction in allied operations with Afghan military and police forces because of the ongoing attacks by members of those forces against allied troops. That, of course, includes U.S. forces.

This is a huge reversal of U.S. policy to work closely with 350,000 Afghan forces to allow them to retake control of their own country.

It goes even deeper than radical elements of Afghan military and police attacks against our forces doing everything they can to bring stability to that country. The political leadership in Afghanistan is becoming increasingly critical of American efforts as well. The people of Afghanistan have become even more violently opposed to any allied presence in their country. It is time to stop losing American and other allied lives in Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is not yet ready to call a halt to combat operations. He remains committed to continuing combat operations against the Taliban until the announced withdrawal date of forces in 2014.

When, we ask, would we take that approach?

There are political reasons for not saying our efforts have failed in Afghanistan. But politics is not a reason to unnecessarily waste both American lives and treasure.

Give us clear and convincing evidence why another American should be subjected to risking his life in combat in Afghanistan.

Clearly Gen. Allen has made a critical tactical decision in Afghanistan. He must now have the backing of the civilian leaders of our military.

It is time for Americans to understand what our goals are in Afghanistan and how those goals will be pursued.

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