Readers Write: US-NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan is complicated; Quran must be better understood

Letters to the Editor for the weekly print issue of November 11, 2012: The US military entered Afghanistan in 2001 in order to bring democracy, gender equality, and security to that nation, but many would argue that they have failed on all counts; The Quran must be discussed with reason and intelligence, as an International Quranic Studies Association would hopefully accomplish.

Afghanistan withdrawal is complicated

Kurt Shillinger's Sept. 24 analysis of the projected foreign policies of then-candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney ("A need for the big view on US foreign policy") lacks sufficient detail. Withdrawal from Afghanistan is likely to be the most challenging foreign-policy issue facing the US president during the next couple years.

The US military entered Afghanistan in 2001 in order to bring democracy, gender equality, and security to that nation. Many would argue that they have failed on all counts. There have been more than 50 fatal attacks by Afghan soldiers on NATO troops in 2012. This has created what is, in my view, an irreparable rift between the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan security forces. The Afghan military lacks the strength and cohesion required to preserve law and order in Afghanistan after the scheduled 2014 withdrawal.

Why were US political leaders so easily misled by the promises of Pentagon generals concerning the outcome of intervention in Afghanistan? The American public deserves an honest answer.

Alistair Budd

London

Quran must be better understood

I was so happy to read Gabriel Said Reynolds and Emran El-Badawi's Oct. 8 commentary, "Why US needs independent scholarship on Quran." In addition to several terrorist acts in recent years, US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were murdered in September by Islamic extremists in Libya. As most in the West continue to wring their hands and try to understand this hatred of America and other nations and religions, has anyone in the media, or the government for that matter, thoroughly read the Quran?

In my review of the Quran, readily available on the Internet, I found very troubling verses of Allah-authorized killings, vengeance, and a distorted "us and them" paranoia. Was this inserted after the original? Was the interpretation or translation mistaken? Is there another way to read these statements? The Quran must be discussed with reason and intelligence, as an International Quranic Studies Association would hopefully accomplish.

John Weiglhofer

Old Lyme, Conn.

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