Talking Points

Losing in Afghanistan

By Bill O'Reilly

It is Iraq all over again. The war in Afghanistan is now going south, with President Obama calling on Gen. David Petraeus to turn things around, just as President Bush did in Iraq.

On Tuesday, the general was quizzed by members of the Senate, a meaningless exercise because everybody knows he is America's last best hope to win the war in Afghanistan.

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A new poll says that 58 percent of Americans support President Obama's timetable to begin leaving that theater a year from now.

The truth is Americans are tired of the Afghan war, now the longest-running conflict in U.S. history. The reason we are in Afghanistan in the first place is that before 9/11, the Taliban who ran that country allowed Al Qaeda to use it as a training base.

Presidents Clinton and Bush knew that, but did not take action. Then Al Qaeda attacked the USA, and Mr. Bush, using Special Forces and the CIA, removed the Taliban.

The problem is that almost nine years later, the Taliban continues to fight a guerilla campaign, and, incredibly, the USA has not been able to get an effective Afghan government up and running.

The leader of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, is considered by his own people to be corrupt and incompetent, so many Afghans are simply sitting it out, leaving the USA and NATO to fight what is essentially their fight.

We can't win if the Afghan people do not support the cause. The country is simply too big, and right now there are fewer than 100,000 U.S. troops in the theater. So it is up to the Afghan people to oppose the Taliban, and so far that is not happening in any great numbers.

Gen. Petraeus was able to convince various tribes in Iraq to stop fighting each other and turn on Al Qaeda. That's why the surge succeeded in that country.

The same thing could happen in Afghanistan, but the odds are against it because the Taliban leadership is hiding in Pakistan ready to move in when the Americans move out.

So you can see this is a huge mess, and like President Bush, President Obama has not been able to figure it out.

Can Petraeus turn it around? Well he did perform a quasi-miracle in Iraq, and he'd have to do that again.

If the general fails, the Taliban will recreate its brutal regime in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda will emerge from the caves allowing history to very well repeat itself.

And that's "The Memo."

Pinheads & Patriots

Our pal Al Franken is now a senator, which is still very hard to believe. At the hearing for Elena Kagan on Monday, Mr. Franken was apparently dozing off, or maybe he was just pretending to doze off.

After all, Mr. Franken was once an actor, starring in the unforgettable film "Stuart Smalley Saves His Family." Right up there with Casablanca.

Is Sen. Franken a patriot for sleeping during an important hearing? You make the call.

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On the pinhead front, director Oliver Stone is a big far-left guy who doesn't want to confront Iran.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

OLIVER STONE, DIRECTOR: There's no reason for us to go to war in Iran, any more than there was a reason to go in Iraq.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: Even if they want to build a nuclear weapon? Even if they want to build a nuclear weapon?

STONE: I think that has to be discussed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Hasn't the Iranian nuke situation been discussed to death? Somebody tell Mr. Stone, who may be a pinhead.