There Is No Clear Definition of Victory in Afghanistan
Bret Stephens's "The Coming Afghan Debacle" (Global View, June 28) is reminiscent of the Vietnam era in that he suggests we should stay because we might appear weak in leaving. I disagree.
There is no clear definition of victory in Afghanistan. Does it mean disarming the Taliban? Defeating al Qaeda? Ensuring that Afghanistan is not a safe haven for terrorists? None of these things are achievable given current troop levels and our waning national resolve. Victory will be something we pull out of a hat and name as such. Given that, why don't we take the death of Osama bin Laden as a logical end point for our military commitments in the region? It's as clear and measurable a definition of victory as anything we're going to achieve.
Should our actions be perceived as weakness on the international stage, I ask which countries would consider themselves to have shown greater commitment in the war on terror, or which nations that sponsor terrorism weren't fearfully impressed at the ability of the U.S. to kill bin Laden.
If we plan to stay on, I challenge my government to do this: Articulate a clear definition of victory in Afghanistan, the method by which you will achieve this victory and a compelling case for why this victory is worth the cost in blood and treasure that will have to be paid in a very personal way by our families. If you can't do that, it's time to come home. That's not weakness; it's common sense.
Benjamin A. Fromuth
Colorado Springs, Colo.