November 9, 2012

Husain Haqqani’s notion that the United States is not making enough of an effort to contain Islamist extremism and that it should not be planning a major withdrawal from Afghanistan is flawed [“The price of abandoning Afghanistan,” op-ed, Nov. 2]. Ultimately, U.S. military might will not be the reason that Islamic extremism is contained. Islam must be transformed by Muslims themselves. There must be an Islamic enlightenment, like that which occurred in both Christianity and Judaism, so that the religion cannot be used as a basis for extremist ideologies that range from basic human rights denial to terrorism. Such an enlightenment could take decades and possibly centuries.

Furthermore, to understand why the United States must withdraw from Afghanistan, Mr. Haqqani needed only to turn back seven pages from his op-ed to Page A8 and be confronted with the “Faces of the Fallen,” pictures of 45 brave U.S. soldiers who died from Feb. 25 to April 22 in Afghanistan.  The United States has been at war for more than 10 years, with more than 2,137 deaths during Operation Enduring Freedom. It is time for the soldiers to come home.

Seth Riebman, Silver Spring