Sunday, February 25, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Securing Afghanistan with a realistic U.S. presence

The only compelling reason for the United States to remain in Afghanistan after NATO ends its combat role there in 2014 is to contain the threat posed by al-Qaida and Taliban-linked extremists. That's why the security arrangement being negotiated between the Obama administration and the Afghan government of President Hamid Karzai should make clear that any remaining U.S. forces will have the latitude to conduct military operations necessary to achieve the mission. Afghan leaders need to decide whether they are more interested in popularity or peace, and Washington should be realistic about the limits of American power.

The outline of a security pact may not come before today, as thousands of Afghan officials and tribal elders begin a five-day meeting to debate whether U.S. forces should remain after NATO ends its combat mission at the end of 2014. The two sides resolved many of the thorniest issues by Wednesday, from continued U.S. support for Afghan security to the U.S. insistence on immunity for American troops. Two major issues remain: the conditions under which American forces may raid Afghan homes, and the request by Karzai's government for Washington to apologize for Afghans who were hurt by NATO's past military mistakes.

The request for an apology is galling given Karzai's history as an unreliable partner and the sacrifice America and its allies have made in 12 years of war. But that pales compared to the larger stakes in prescribing the mission and rules of engagement for any remaining U.S. forces. While the agreement contemplates the United States advising and training Afghan troops, the real security value for America in remaining is in conducting counterterrorism operations. That inevitably requires an aggressive approach. Afghans are still not prepared to lead on intelligence-gathering or counterterror raids. Barring the U.S. special forces from carrying out their capabilities would effectively turn American bases into glorified boot camps.

There is room within this week's assembly to recognize Afghan national pride but also to lay out an effective role for an allied military force. The United States should be clear that without Afghan cooperation, neither side can achieve their common interest in weakening the insurgency. Afghan leaders need to recognize the nature of this war requires taking the fight to the villages. If the Afghans won't and the United States can't, what's the point of staying past 2014 at all?

Afghan leaders can turn these negotiations around by using the assembly to show that the prospects for a strong and functioning central government are real. That would go a long way toward easing concerns in both countries about an open-ended military commitment. We've already done that in Afghanistan for too long, at too high a price.

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Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Editorial: Improve school security plans with gun controls

Gov. Rick Scott and key members of the Florida Legislature offered ambitious proposals Friday that would plug some holes in the stateís safety net, strengthen school security and spend up to a half-billion dollars in response to last weekís massacre ...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Editorial: Six proposals for reasonable gun control

Enough is enough. The mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has renewed conversations about gun control in Washington and Tallahassee. Young people are demanding action, and there are cracks in the National Rifle Associationís solid w...
Published: 02/23/18
Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

Editorial: The time to act on guns is now

The nationís conversation on guns took an encouraging step this week in three essential places ó South Florida, Tallahassee and Washington ó as survivors, victimsí families and elected leaders searched painfully and sincerely for common ground after ...
Published: 02/22/18

Editorial: FDLE probe of state fair fiasco falls short

It should go without saying that Florida law frowns upon public officials who take freebies from vendors and whose agency throws business to their family. But that wasnít enough to move the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to find that the ex-di...
Published: 02/21/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: They value guns, not kids

Editorial: They value guns, not kids

They value guns over kidsSix days after 17 were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High by a teen-ager firing an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, the Florida House refused to even debate a bill banning the sale of assault weapons. The vote, 71 to 36, wasn...
Published: 02/21/18

Editorial: Nursing home rule should be stronger

It shouldnít take months or another tragedy for Florida ó which is hot and full of seniors ó to protect its elderly population from heat stroke in the event of an emergency. Thatís why Gov. Rick Scott had the right idea last year in calling for nursi...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/23/18
Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Editorial: Listen to Marjory Stoneman Douglas students demanding change

Students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are traveling to the state capital today and declaring "never again.íí A prominent Florida Republican fundraiser vows he wonít raise another nickel until his party approves new gun controls. Across F...
Published: 02/19/18

Editorial: No more doubt about Russian meddling in election

The latest indictment by the Justice Department special counsel, Robert Mueller, refutes President Donald Trumpís claims that Russian interference in the 2016 election was a Democratic hoax. The indictment details the lengths Russian conspirators too...
Published: 02/19/18

Another voice: Tips should belong to workers, not their bosses

The Trump administration is under fire for proposing a Labor Department regulation that could result in hotel and restaurant employers dipping into the tips customers leave for their employees, depriving the nationís 14 million hard-working restauran...
Published: 02/18/18
Updated: 02/20/18
Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Editorial: Trumpís rising deficits and misplaced priorities

Itís not popular in Washington or virtually anywhere else these days to express concern about the rising federal deficit. Congressional Republicans who used to be deficit hawks first voted to cut taxes by $1.5 trillion over the next decade, then rais...
Published: 02/17/18