We must stay in Afghanistan. For certain it would look bad for the United States president to apologize as the condition for our continuing presence in his country. But stay we must.
Frankly I don't believe this apology issue will last. Karzai needs us in his country as much as we want to stay. Without American money and backing he would surely be pushed out very quickly.
We must stay in Afghanistan because it will be our national interest to do so.
Remember that Al Qaeda started their jihad in Afghanistan and should we leave they will come back to rebuild training camps and recruit a new generation of jihadists among disaffected young men in the region.
Remember the mess Obama left when he removed our troops from Iraq three years ago. The country is tumbling into chaos, thousands are being murdered by Al Qaeda gangs every week and the remnants of the Iraqi insurgency are moving into Syria to cause more carnage.
But Iraq is a relatively wealthy country with some elements of western culture. Imagine the total chaos that would result should we leave Afghanistan. The country would be penniless and torn apart again by horrific internal chaos.
We must stay to insure that we have at least one sanctuary from which we can watch, track and, when the occasion demands, kill insurgents who inevitably will restart their insurgency against us should we be foolish enough to leave a vacuum in Afghanistan. A small residual American force of 10,000 will be able to operate about three small bases near the Pakistani border.
Drones would be dispatched from these camps to keep an eye on the enemy.
Small teams of special operators would launch from these bases to carry out clandestine "night raids" like the one that killed Usama bin Laden in Pakistan.
Finally, an American intelligence and strike base in Afghanistan will allow us to keep an eye on Iran.
Should military action against Iran's nuclear facilities be necessary an American Afghan base would be the ideal tactical "lily pad" from which to launch and recover American strike forces.
No one dislikes the Afghan leadership more than me. Karzai and his band of extortionists have taken our aid and stashed much of it in Middle Eastern banks. But we should stay in spite of Karzai because American national security would be better for it.
Retired Gen. Dr. Robert Scales currently serves as a FOX News Channel (FNC) military analyst.