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Editorial: Keep bringing the troops home

Published 9:53am Friday, February 15, 2013

Bringing home slightly more than half of the American soldiers now deployed in Afghanistan this year is a worthy goal. We hope President Barack Obama sticks to the plan, which he announced Tuesday in the State of the Union address. The move comes far later and far slower than many would have wished, but late is far, far better than never.

When Obama was first elected, many had the impression that he would quickly end American involvement in unfocused, non-productive overseas wars. That turned out to not be the case, but the administration has at least whittled down the size of our commitments and now promises to further do so.

Despite the bravery and dedication of those serving there, most Americans are far from clear on why we continue to fight in Afghanistan. History suggests that whenever outside forces leave, the country reverts to its basic nature. So it’s not clear that a lingering United States presence has any more value than pulling home all the troops now.

No doubt, the president has much information about our national security situation that he does not want to share with his constituents. Perhaps some of those secrets provide a compelling reason to keep risking American lives. We’ll give the president the benefit of the doubt on that — as long as he makes good on his most recent promise, and then keeps the drawdown process moving.