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As a patriot, servicemember and U.S. taxpayer, I have to voice my opinion on our plans for Afghanistan ("In Afghanistan, knowing it’s time to stop," Opinion, George Will, Sept. 2).

I strongly agree with Will’s position that the United States needs to know when it’s time to stop. We have already lost too many lives and invested billions in trying to "solve" centuries-old problems that are rooted in tribal rivalries, culture and politics. Military engagement, regardless of troop levels, even with adequate civilian resources (our tax money), will not solve Afghanistan’s problems.

As a caring human being, I sympathize with and pray for the innocent villager who is subject to the Taliban’s harsh rule, but where in the Constitution does it say we will protect and defend the world? The reason our Founding Fathers’ vision for attainment of "certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" was successful under seemingly insurmountable odds is that the people were willing to sacrifice and fight for their own freedom and country.

The Afghan people must take their destiny in their own hands and fight for a just government that meets their needs and fits with their culture. Certainly, we have an obligation to assist and support that vision, as France did with our fledgling country, but this has to be driven by the Afghan people to succeed.

Regarding our homeland safety and security, if we spent just 10 percent of what we have spent over the past eight years on the Iraq/Afghan wars securing our borders and using surgical strikes on terrorist training camps, would we be safer? It makes you wonder.

Maj. Greg ErtelCamp Arifjan, Kuwait

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