I tend not to be as cynical as many on this site are. I've always believed that people of good intention can and often do find themselves on the wrong path. Our present mission in Afghanistan is in my opinion a good example of this.
When Obama took office, Afghanistan was little more than a city surrounded by an insurgency. Pakistan was slipping further towards instability. The 'enemy' was gaining ground, while we had been focused on the sectarian strife created by our war of choice in Iraq.
At that point in 2008, one could definitely asked whether we had made Afghanistan better or worse for those living among the fighting. While the Taliban were cruel leaders with little regard for their citizens, constant war and a corrupt government is not better.
I believe Obama wanted to fix that. I believe he wanted to leave an Afghanistan, which at least had a chance at stability.
There is a time in the real world, where you have to accept that your sins are your sins. You can't pay your penance, so there is no chance at absolution. You just have to live with perdition.
It took us a decade to realize this during Vietnam, and there are still holdouts in political circles. The French put the Vietnamese people through hell, and then we picked up where the French left off. It wasn't our intention to make their lives hell. We believed that they would end up with a shiny new country with a functioning government.
We don't seem to want to discuss Afghanistan in this election, but we really should. Romney doesn't want to discuss foreign policy, and Obama doesn't want to remind people of an unpopular war. But we are at war. Our troops are dying.
There needs to be a clear answer from both candidates on this. It isn't hard, as this is really now a light switch. It either goes on or off.
We also don't need any of this 'generals on the ground' shit, as the presidency is the only office with this responsibility. If Romney and Obama can't make the path forward crystal clear, then neither deserves the office.
Whether we leave now or in five years, these wars will stay with us. They will and they should. These aren't Bush's Wars or Obama's Wars. They are the United States' approach to the world. Democrats could have stopped the train before it left the station. Republicans could have at any time.
We need to deal with this, and it is shameful that a war sits on the back burner during an election.