Walk away from Afghanistan trap | Dec. 4, letter
U.S. surge in Afghanistan is vital
Some who oppose our actions in Afghanistan do so purely for selfish reasons. Oh, they claim to abhor the bloodshed and the monetary cost when their purpose is purely political. They are liberal peaceniks the likes of which belong in the Vietnam era, not today when we are fighting an evil no modern nation can tolerate.
Afghanistan is and will continue to be a dangerous place for American and allied troops, but to simply leave the state to the Taliban and al-Qaida would certainly lead to more deadly attacks on civilians around the world and here at home. Giving these factions a whole country in which to recruit and train suicidal monsters sworn to destroy America and kill all non-Muslims is simply not an option.
The plan to reinforce coalition troops while helping free Afghans build a defense force capable of sustaining local order is probably the first thing President Barack Obama has done right. Let's hope it works.
As to those who belittle our warriors with their antiwar agenda, let me remind them that each soldier is a volunteer. Their talents combine to form the best insurance policy we have for a free future. No soldier wants war, but if it comes he must be the best. Please, you can attack foreign policy all you want but leave the soldier out of the political equation.
Dennis Roper, Clearwater
Obama's Afghanistan war plan born amid intense debate | Dec. 6, story
Continuing old mistakes
Where is the "change we can believe in?" President Barack Obama's decision to expand the war in Afghanistan is a tragic continuation of the same mistakes that we have been making in the region since 9/11.
The so-called "intense debate" at the White House revolved around how many more troops we should send to Afghanistan, not whether we should be making war in that country at all.
The reality is that al-Qaida is no longer to be found in Afghanistan. And our war in Afghanistan only serves to strengthen the resurgent Taliban by turning them into a popular resistance force against the foreign invaders. The real security risk in the area is making enemies of the Afghan people — as we have already done in Iraq, and as we are on our way to doing in Pakistan — by our unwanted presence, by our immoral bombing of civilians from unmanned drones, and by our support of corrupt and cruel warlords who prey on their own people.
Meanwhile, the cost of these worse-than-useless foreign military adventures is driving our domestic economy down the drain, and pushing our soldiers and their families way past the breaking point.
We do face serious security threats in the United States, but Afghanistan is not one of them. Depression-level unemployment, epidemic foreclosures and a collapsing middle class are real security threats. Global warming is a real security threat, as is a broken health care system. Our leaders should spend their time and our tax dollars effectively addressing these real problems, instead of bombing poor people in Afghanistan for no good purpose. That would be "change we can believe in."
Andrew Rock, Tampa
A coherent strategy for Afghanistan | Dec. 3, editorial
A formula for defeat
You've got to be kidding. Coherent? It's a retreat before the fighting even starts.
I can see the Taliban and al-Qaida groups licking their lips. "Hey, guys, we won. All we have to do is sit back and wait until July 2011. And make sure you let everyone know that if they cooperate with the Americans we will kill them in August 2011."
American politicians think in terms of election cycles. Do you think 2011 was just pulled out of a hat? No, it was to give President Barack Obama and his stooges (like the St. Petersburg Times) plenty of time for the 2012 election to show what a "great job" they're doing.
In the meantime, the terrorists who think in terms of eternity will just wait us out.
Tom Bennis, Sun City Center
Those isolationist feelings are back Dec. 4, story
Meddling is the problem
The article suggests that 49 percent of Americans want isolationism. Is it isolationism they want or is it our country's meddling in the world they don't want?
Why are we always the only ones who constantly identify some wrong and then insist on fixing it? Where is the rest of the world and why are we always having to bully them into supporting our views? If the world needs our help, great, we should help. But the bill for this should be shared, not always dumped on us. If troops are needed, fine, let all the world send them, not just us.
Why are we constantly supporting and sending aid to countries that hate us and always side against us? If they want our help, fine, we should help, but only if they want it and appreciate it.
I, for one, am sick and tired of sending my countrymen and tax dollars help those who hate us and want to sabotage and kill us.
I don't think that is isolationism.
Gary Keats, Clearwater
Isolation is no answer | Dec. 5, editorial
Level the playing field
Globalization is a reality we must embrace. Isolation is no longer an option. The world has shrunk due to advances in areas such as communications, travel, shipping and the art of war. Our two oceans were once referred to as "a great moat" which surrounded and protected us, but this is no longer viable.
If we are to be a player in this new global environment, as your editorial suggests, then changes in our trade agreements and dealings with foreign companies must be enacted to the point that we are operating on an even playing field. We must not tolerate the loopholes and offshore profit shifting that corporations engage in to get out of paying their fair share of taxes. The contentious issue of outsourcing jobs from our labor pools to countries that offer low-cost labor has to be resolved.
The North American Free Trade Agreement, for example, currently makes it impossible to place a tax or tariff on outsourced work. Given that kind of protection, the American workers are, in my opinion, confident and capable of dealing with international competition and trade.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole