Reporter's Note: On Pennsylvania Avenue, President Obama has asked Americans to help him run the country by sending him ideas. Frankly I’m close enough to bicycle over, but I continue posting a letter a day to the White House.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/04/24/petraeus/art.kabul.cnn.jpg caption="Troops from the United States fly over Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. "]
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I grew up in a military family, the son of an enlisted man. My late father spent more than twenty years in the Air Force and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant. In other words, he was one of the guys who actually got things done while the officers played golf. (Ha! My father-in-law, a former Navy officer, will let me hear about that crack.) To put it simply, it is in my DNA to mistrust Generals.
That said, I have spent so many hours studying military and political matters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I must say I am convinced General David Petraeus is spot on when he says those two countries represent a greater challenge than Iraq.
You have already shown your commitment to stabilizing Afghanistan and dealing with the Taliban there. These are the people who gave Al Qaeda the base they needed to launch the 9-11 attacks. These are the people who, in the name of faith, want their citizens…especially women…to live as if the world is still revolving through the 15th century. And these are the people gaining power in that region, while the Afghans and Pakistanis who favor democracy, human rights, and peaceful international relations find themselves under siege.
If the Taliban continues to push in Pakistan, they could bring to life a modern nightmare: An extremist, unstable government prone to keeping the company of terrorists, in possession of nuclear weapons. And all the foreign affairs experts have told me stopping the Taliban’s march, as General Petraeus says, will certainly take more than guns: It will take food, education, roads, bridges, and likely years of support from an array of encouraging nations including ours. But faltering in our commitment the help these countries, they tell me, could set back the entire world. And I believe them.
Sorry for such a bummer on a Saturday, but thought it should be said. Call if you can.
Find more of the Foreman Letters here.
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