No, it’s time to begin pulling out of Afghanistan and leaving it up to the parties involved, including Pakistan, to sort out things among themselves, however violently.

We cannot control Pakistan sufficiently to close all doors to the Afghan Taliban. It would seem in their interest to cooperate fully with us, as surely the Afghan Talibs would aid their brethren across the border to take over Pakistan and their nukes. Pakistan is more inscrutable than Churchill’s Russia.

And what kind of a peace can we bring to a country whose populace goes berserk when news that a Koran was burned 8,000 miles away reaches them? The berserkers seized guns and killed the nearest Westerners trying to help them, UN workers. I haven’t heard any apologies coming from the Karzai government. Instead, our top general lowers himself to their dirt level and apologizes to the fanatics.

Afghanistan is not the graveyard of empires so much as the graveyard of ideas. The Soviets, brutal as they were, tried to bring some modernizing ideas to the Afghan people, including education for women. That failed. Yes, it would be a shame if the Taliban comes back into power and performs the same terrible deeds as before. And it would be a worse shame if future attacks against our country are hatched again from A-stan. But enough is enough.

Either we win the war and plant the flag, or pack up our tents and leave with a warning…that if harm comes from them to us, we will re-visit them with greater harm. Much greater harm. Really scary stuff they will be compelled to comprehend.

By Hudson Owen, in response to “Why it’s Time to Negotiate With the Taliban,” by Daniel Serwer, The Atlantic, April 7, 201l.