Is victory a must in Afghanistan?
David Brooks argues that a U.S. victory in Afghanistan is imperative, and that fighting a counterinsurgency with missiles and drones is an illusion held by people who know little about Afghanistan. His fellow conservative luminary George Will holds just such a view. Will says we should leave, Brooks says we should stay. They can't both be right.
Even if the Taliban are "wildly hated" by Afghans, that doesn't mean that we are loved by the Afghans and that they want us to continue to occupy their country. The British and the Russians tried to control Afghanistan by force of arms, and they both failed. How can we help Pakistan if we are bogged down in Afghanistan? Are we creating more terrorists by staying than we would by leaving? Brooks thinks that by leaving Afghanistan the United States would be guilty of a "moral atrocity."
Which is a worse "moral atrocity": the United States killing Afghans, or the Afghans killing Afghans? This whole debate looks and sounds too much like Vietnam all over again.
ANTHONY J. DiSTEFANO
New Village curfew pleases shopper
Good for Alan Kahn for imposing a curfew at Village at Sandhill. In spite of what people may think, shopping centers and malls are private property. The owners have a right to make the rules regarding their businesses, and that includes not allowing the presence of loud, obnoxious, unsupervised loiterers. It is not Mr. Kahn's responsibility to provide entertainment for other people's offspring at his mall. I have certainly avoided the Village at Sandhill and other places because of the offensive dress, behavior and language of the young people who "hang out" there, not shop there.
I am happy to know that starting Thursday I can enjoy going to the Village at Sandhill again.
RACHEL P. CULLUM
S.C. needs new focus to compete globally
I agree with much of what Henry McMaster argued in his 10-point plan for South Carolina prosperity, whereby education, retooling business strategies and staffing commerce positions with experienced leadership are some of the critical steps toward creating sustainable economic development.
For South Carolina to become the most business-friendly state in the nation, however, major changes must be made, so that the Palmetto State can compete on every global stage.
The first change is to increase South Carolina's business news coverage. Our state needs to document economic innovations and trends unfolding inside local companies.
The second change is to turnaround South Carolina's higher education expectations, by heavily promoting students toward the completion of graduate school. Our state has extraordinary graduate schools and professors, but too few S.C. families and students prepare for this level of academic achievement and challenge.
Perhaps if state leadership gave businesses and students more compelling things to read about, and more compelling goals to strive for, South Carolinans would be more motivated to study harder, achieve more and accelerate our state's economic prosperity and business development, as McMaster keenly suggests.
BARON C. HANSON
Sen. Graham is more than a politician
Few men or women involved in politics advance beyond being politicians to the status of statesmen. The difference between politicians and statesmen, according to James Freeman Clarke is, "A politician thinks about the next elections - a statesman thinks about the next generations."
Here are a few senators in recent history who make my list as statesmen: James F Byrnes of South Carolina, Richard Russell of Georgia, Barry Goldwater of Arizona, Howard Baker of Tennessee and Patrick Moynihan of New York. There are certainly others whom readers will view as their deserving candidates.
I add Lindsey Graham, our current senator, to my list. Sen Graham voted for confirmation of Justice Sonia Sotomayor after studying her judicial record and finding her qualified. Much of his constituency was against her confirmation, and the easy thing to do would have been to join Republicans in voting against confirmation, but Sen. Graham did what he thought to be right.
I also value and respect Sen. Graham's willingness to collaborate with his Democratic colleagues. For many, collaboration is a four-letter word for "selling out." Not so. Collaboration is the path to win/win legislation that achieves broad support.
Sen. Graham, keep on risking the ire of voters by putting national objectives ahead of partisan politics. Continue doing your homework for making informed decisions as you did in the Supreme Court nomination. Continue collaborating to get legislation that enhances the well-being of all of our citizens without bankrupting the country.
CORDES G. SEABROOK JR.