How to get Afghan militias to support the National Army

Tolerating the militias in Afghanistan as proposed in Greg Mills' and Terence McNamee's July 10 Opinion piece, "Finding the 'right stuff' in Afghanistan," serves to undermine the future of that country. It is necessary to understand that the militias are not independent. Instead, they are generally the tools of local drug lords used to protect their crops of opium. Legitimate government cannot coexist with such armed factions and their poppy-funded backers. Afghanistan must face its problems, especially the drug lords who undermine rule of law.

Eradicating the poppy crop is the first and most important step toward a truly free Afghanistan. Drug lords must be deprived of their financial resources. Lacking a paycheck, the militiamen can be brought under the authority of the central government as possible auxiliary forces to the undermanned Afghan National Army. By using these militiamen to supplement existing forces, the government can extend its influence outside Kabul.

Now is the time for the Afghan government to make the choice of whether to continue to tolerate activities incompatible with democracy, or to become a national government in more than just name.
Gregory H. Winger
Research assistant,
National Defense Council Foundation
Alexandria, Va.

Global warming is nothing to joke about

I loved the July 14 article, "Global warbling," by the standup comic in Las Vegas. The irony in it was absolutely hilarious!

In particular, I loved this part: "While the hawks among us worry about preventing the Armageddon that's coming, our modern-day hippies just want to make sure the planet is pristine when it does."

Too funny – especially when you consider that the only people who actually believe in "Armageddon" are the hawks in power, and they currently appear to be doing their best to facilitate it.

We "hippies" on the other hand, know the planet will be around a lot longer than humans will, and our immediate environmental concern is for our children and our children's children.

I originally wondered why this wasn't in the Opinion section, but then I got it! This is truly a sad reflection of society and culture in America today, done in true "Colbert-esque" fashion. Bravo!
Stephen Basile
San Francisco

Wanted: a few good men

Kelleen Kaye's July 11 Opinion piece, "New urgency for early-20s single moms" suggests increased access to contraception as a remedy to the increasing number of women in their 20s having children out of wedlock. I think this approach is flawed. Most women desire to have children. Still, they recognize that it is imperfect to enter motherhood unmarried. The women discussed in the article were neither actively seeking pregnancy, nor actively avoiding it in light of negligible prospects of a decent marriage.

Therefore, the most workable solution is a social shift such that women have the prospect of marriage to a decent man. The issue of male incentive to marry and become suitable for marriage is therefore at the root of the problem. Historically, men have married to secure parental rights to their children, to be part of a fulfilling and flourishing household, and to have a substantial sex life. Examination of issues such as fathers' custody rights, the financial risk posed by access to no-fault divorce, and the broad cultural shift in the role and pattern of sex in adult life, may therefore prove critical to addressing the out-of-wedlock trend.
D.J. Gibraiel
La Crosse, Wis.

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