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Afghan War Timeline Remains Point of Contention for Many

Editorial page writers from around the country throw in their opinions and reactions to President Obama's Afghanistan strategy unveiled Tuesday night.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    Now more reaction from editorial page editors around the nation.

    And to Jeffrey Brown for that.

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    And joining me are four such opinion-makers: Bruce Dold of The Chicago Tribune, John Diaz of The San Francisco Chronicle, J.R. Labbe of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and Kevin Horrigan of The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch.

    Well, Kevin Horrigan, I will start with you.

    Your editorial today ends: "Presidents are elected to make tough decisions. Unfortunately, we fear this was the wrong one."

    Why the wrong one?

    KEVIN HORRIGAN Well, I think you can break it down into three or four categories.

    Military, it's impossible. And General McChrystal laid that out fairly clearly in August. Even with 80,000 to 100,000 troops, he said it was still a long shot, and he said it was in a hurry. We're only going to send 30,000.

    Secondly, we're not asking for any sacrifice from the American people. It's more war on the — put it on the credit card. And, finally, this government over there is corrupt, and there's really not much we can do about it, unless we're prepared to sort of ease Hamid Karzai aside, as Ambassador Holbrooke seems wants to do, and take over, in which case I ask you, where's the democracy we have brought to Afghanistan?

  • JEFFREY BROWN:

    Well, Bruce Dold, you can — you can help answer that. Your editorial called it — yours was titled, "A Show of Resolve." You said the president made a compelling case.

  • BRUCE DOLD, Chicago Tribune:

    I think he did.

    And I think he has been very consistent on Afghanistan. He said when he was campaigning and he has said in his early days as president that this was — this wasn't a war of choice, that it was a war of necessity, and it's one that we need to prevail on.

    I thought he made a compelling case last night that the troop buildup is necessary to secure Afghanistan, and that a secure Afghanistan is critical to the defense of this country, because you have to keep — you need a secure, stable Afghanistan and Pakistan to keep al-Qaida from having safe havens.

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