‘We Owe the Troops an Exit’

President Obama will give an Oval Office address Tuesday marking the end of combat operations in Iraq. But it’s Afghanistan we need to get out of, and soon, argues New York Times op-ed columnist Bob Herbert. Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government is corrupt, and his firing of an anti-corruption prosecutor only showed how deep the problem is. So many soldiers are seeking help dealing with the horrors of the wars that the military’s mental-health system is overloaded. These two wars will cost $3 trillion as many complain about massive federal debt. Gen. David Petraeus says Obama’s July 2011 deadline to begin pulling troops out of Afghanistan is more of a guideline, a beginning of a process that could go on for who knows how long. “There is no silver lining to this nearly decade-old war in Afghanistan,” Herbert writes. “Poll after poll has shown that it no longer has the support of most Americans. And yet we fight on, feeding troops into the meat grinder year after tragic year—to what end?” As there is no draft, few people have any stake in the war, and are content to ship other people’s kids to fight and die for these wars, Herbert says; we owe it to the troops to bring them home.