Thursday, September 14, 2006
Are we losing the war on terror?
Against the backdrop of anti-American protests (Translation of sign at left: "No no America"), occasional terrorist bombings, and continuing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration has said time and again that the United States and its allies are winning the war on terror.

And there has been undeniable progress: Some terrorist leaders have been arrested, funding and supply lines have been disrupted, and plots have been foiled. In addition, there has been not one major attack on American soil since 9/11. Five years. Not one.

But security and foreign policy experts seem to be talking more and more about the long-term effects of this conflict and painting a bleak picture.

What is the problem? I asked that question of Steven Kull, an analyst who specializes in conducting global opinion surveys. Kull's office overlooks Washington, D.C.'s Massachusetts Avenue, which is lined with embassies representing many of the world's nations. That is where he told me about what he has found through his Program on International Policy Attitudes.

"The perception is that the U.S. isn't simply trying to pursue the war on terror in a sense of trying to stop terrorism. The perception is that it's being used as a pretext for the U.S. to promote its interests, to increase its presence in the Middle East, to gain greater access to oil, and to just generally gain a more powerful position in the world," he said.

The key to this rising mistrust of America, he says, is a broad sense, especially in Muslim nations, that America is using its military and economic might to do whatever it wants, with no regard for international opinion. And this, he said, is fundamentally undermining efforts to promote broad-based political alliances, democracy, and sustainable peace, and it is pushing more young Muslims closer to terrorist groups.

The war on terror is a deadly serious matter, and some folks say worries about popularity should and must wait.

My question is the one being posed by numerous foreign policy analysts these days: Are we winning the battle but losing the war?
Posted By Tom Foreman, CNN Correspondent: 1:40 PM ET
  61 Comments
Hello Tom-
We should have never invaded Iraq in the first place. We should have concentrated our forces in Afghanistan to fight the Taliban and Bin Laden. You know, the ones who actually attacked the U.S. in the first place? President Bush somehow twisted the focus to Iraq. I can understand why other countries (and our own) would suspect the U.S. is trying to promote their own interest. There is a quip here in Texas. They say that Texans voted for Bush to get him OUT of Texas. But I didn't. I wouldn't do that to my country. Unfortunately Tom, we seem to be loosing the war. Thanks for the info. Always interesting!
Posted By Anonymous Betty Ann, Nacogdoches TX : 2:18 PM ET
Tom,

As I continue to read and learn about our foreign policy I become more and more concerned for my family, my friends and America.

Currently we are spending $9 billion dollars per WEEK in Iraq plus $billion per week in Afghanistan. Our world aid policy has declined.

Meanwhile, oil is up, savings rates in America are at an all time low, pensions are gone for most people under 50, social security is in a mess and many children are floundering in an outdated education system.

What is America going to look like in 20 years? We may have a different looking country -- have and have nots. In 20 years, our American middle class will be nearly gone.

I ask myself, maybe the world does not want to be Americanized? Maybe the people are happy in their current state. Maybe they know something our leaders don't.
Posted By Anonymous Renee Bradenton, FL : 2:18 PM ET
History teaches us what happens to societies who try to gain too much power. The only way we could be winning anything is if our goal is to end up like the Romans. Bush and his advisors obviously didn't pay too much attention in history class.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Manchester, NH : 2:28 PM ET
It would be nice if all the energy that was put into "securing" oil interests was put into alternative fuel sources. Gas prices are going down, but they'll go back up after elections most likely. I'm interested in a self sufficient country with as little dependency on other countries as possible.
Posted By Anonymous Pete, Raleigh, NC : 3:34 PM ET
Tom,

We are losing the battle and the war. We are losing because we launched an illegal and immoral war that had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with finding Osama Bin Laden. The international world despises us, not because they are envious of our wealth and freedom (or way of life) but because we act like an international bully. That's how the world see's us. As a bully that does whatever they want, whenever they want. And that is truly sad in that it virtually destroys any good that we have done in the past 50 years.
Posted By Anonymous Fred Smith, Lino Lakes, MN, 55014 : 3:34 PM ET
I agree the war on terror is deadly serious matter. No question. The question you posed is mute. What was our policy before Sept. 11? That hatred was there then. It had nothing to do with "OUR" policy in Iraq. It may be a battle of civilizations or religions, but I don't believe everything is our fault. I think we need to stop accepting excuses from/for terrorists.
Posted By Anonymous Susie, Huttonsville, WV : 3:38 PM ET
I agree with Mr. Krull.

I don't feel any safer. We should be working with our allies. The whole cowboy mentality is bad for our country.

We need a change. Remember, that's why we have elections. I'm going to vote for change.
Posted By Anonymous Linda, Boulder, Colorado : 3:38 PM ET
Tom, if we want to have a serious discussion about America's current battles against Islamic extremism, we should probably refrain from using the pedestrian catch phrase, "war on terror", a Bushism that suggests images of peace treaties and diplomatic handshakes. This end will never occur with the likes of Al Queda. Instead, we should ask more poignant questions like "is America on the right path toward preventing terroism?" My answer to this is: partially. Efforts to prevent Afghanistan from becoming a terrorist training haven are slow, but necessary. The administration has recognized the vitality of, and to some degree successfully pursued, "soft" tactics like going after terrorist money and applying political pressure on Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. On the otherhand, we have failed massively in our public diplomacy efforts. And much as it may dismay Republicans, we need to consider what changes we could make in our foreign policy that would not hurt our interests, but address the concerns that motivate hatred toward the US (expediting a resolution to the Palestinian conflict, pressuring friendly dictatorships to give their people a means for peaceful opposition, seriously pursuing alternative sources of energy.) Exaggerating the truth in order to invade Muslim countries that really don't threaten us, and using force to ram democracy down the throats of the Middle East only fuels terrorist recruitment and support, and is definitely not the right path toward preventing terrorism. We're only partially on the right track.
Posted By Anonymous Mark, Washington, D.C. : 3:46 PM ET
"The key to this rising mistrust of America, he says, is a broad sense, especially in Muslim nations, that America is using its military and economic might to do whatever it wants, with no regard for international opinion."

This perception may be based on the fact that America is using its military and economic might to do whatever it wants, with no regard for international opinion.

Ya think?
Posted By Anonymous Arachnae, Sterling VA : 3:48 PM ET
Sometimes you just have to be smarter than your enemies..
Posted By Anonymous MC Lexington, ky : 3:56 PM ET
I feel that the West is losing the war on terror, and combating hate with hate is not the way. It promotes more hate.

Tom, I see a bad outcome of the war on terror and I see a slow decline of American Society because of it.
Posted By Anonymous Michael McPhee, Parrsboro, Nova Scotia : 3:59 PM ET
of course we are not winning. it is un winable. our president has used us all. bush needs to pay for his crimes.!!!!!!!!
Posted By Anonymous gale godfrey hillsdale michigan : 4:14 PM ET
How can we lose a war for which this Administration clearly had no commitment to winning in the first place?
Posted By Anonymous Stu Nicholson, Columbus, Ohio : 4:19 PM ET
We should all be ashamed for what we have allowed the Bush regime to do to America. All we are doing is angering and alienating more people around the globe with our policies of economic and military control, it is no wonder people are lining up to kill themselves for a chance to kill one of our soldiers.

As to this nonsense spewed by the Bushites, that we are containing terrorism in Iraq: the longer we stay there and keep terrorizing the Iraqi people, the more likely it is that America will suffer terroristic vengeance.

The more money we spend on war, which is really an overt subsidization for oil, the less we spend on the important things. I charge anyone reading this to learn about the fall of Rome and how it came about, and not see the 'dying empire' parallel with our current and future situation. The more thinly our defenses become, the more likely that we can be damaged by people with $2.95 box cutters.
Posted By Anonymous Mitch Goldstein - Greensburg, PA : 4:24 PM ET
Tom, I ask myself the same question, especially when I see our country's leaders talking about protecting "our way of life." Frankly I think the lifestyle we are trying to protect is over, and people just are not willing to see that. Just do the MATH - its the numbers - the number of people in other countries, the amount of resources we import, the huge disparity between rich and poor that will only create more disenfranchised people who don't see their life as having any value.

Our current administration is fighting the wrong war - we have to win the war of public opinion. I don't see Islamic terrorists as any more a threat than communism - oh yes there is/was a lot of killing and misery, but communism cannot deliver what people want any more than terrorists can, and if we think we are going to kill every terrorist in the world, well JUST DO THE MATH.
Posted By Anonymous Kim Midland, Michigan : 4:25 PM ET
The US (America)faces the same issues that challenged all the great powers and empires of recorded history. The US may indeed 'sustain' its empire but it continues to ignore history at its peril. Rome, Britain, etc. faced similar threats along with opportunities in the past two thousand years and rapidly declined, not because of diminished military power but ultimately due to issues of legitimate moral leadership in the world of their day.
Posted By Anonymous mike flaherty, Missoula, MT : 4:25 PM ET
If Democracy is freedom to choose, why do we not let other countries choose how they want to live their lives? Why do we force our way of life down the throats of others? As others have said we are loosing the battle and the war. We just like the school yard bully have gotten too big for our britches. We use our "might" to bully our way into oil rich countries. Which benefits a few special interest groups(read oil companies),and in the long run just hurt the masses(read American public).
When is enough a enough? Hopefully in November!
Posted By Anonymous DColeman, Phx. Az : 5:07 PM ET
Yes, for one simple reason. We cannot detect bombs at a distance! With all of our technology, why has no one able to come up with a device that will detect a bomb at a hundred yards?
We can read a newspaper from space, but we cannot come up with a way to detect a limited number of chemicals or other items at a reasonable distance? Certainly something like this would not be infallible, but even if it were only 50% effective, how many lives would it save?
Yes, I realize this would not be a cureall, but looking at the present situation, something like this would go along way in calming the current violence.
Posted By Anonymous Scott, Bakersfield Ca. : 5:07 PM ET
This has been interesting to date, and is only going to get more interesting as the settings, characters, and schemes unfold. The Republicans are on a tightrope and if they don't know it, they should.
On the American side, they have been making the stand that if your not with us, your against us. Not to mention the notorious "How the West was Won" shoot first-ask questions later mentality that as pathetic as it is, does fire us up.
On the other hand these same tactics that rally America, turn others off. Nobody wants another government, religion or culture rammed down their throats! And Bush declaring that he will spread Democracy to the four corners of the Earth is more than anyone wants to choke on.
Sure, every president has done it. . . But that was BEFORE Satellites and CNN!
Posted By Anonymous RL, Appleton, WI : 5:08 PM ET
I wish I could believe that this 'war' was justified on moral grounds. Unfortunately the real motives are all too obvious. Oil rich President, Vice-President , (Halliburton), oil tankers named 'condoleeza rice' (?), the incredible plight of seniors and the shameful poverty here are no secret. Only those higher up seem to be oblivious of how blatant their abuse of power really is. I fear greatly, along with most of the bewildered population, for the future of us all.
Posted By Anonymous Ivan, Jacksonville, FL. : 5:08 PM ET
I've enjoyed your views on many subjects and would like an honest answer to the current situation in Middle East in general. Religious differences are not the real root of the problem. Money, oil and power are the real root of issues. Why do we even do business with these countries or bother to talk with them? They have declared war on the US as well as most the Western world. Seems to me its really much simpler than media and governments would have you beleive. No money exchange, product exchange or food and this would slow down very quickly. Wake up world.
Posted By Anonymous Ben Pritchard, Sulphur, LA : 5:33 PM ET
The war in Iraq and the war on terror makes me feel less safe and more afraid in ways that September 11th never could. We aren't winning the war on terror because we continue to alienate the world.
I don't think that means we should pull out of Iraq immediately, or become isolationists, but I do think that we need to conduct the war on terror differently. We need to care about the perceptions that we are spreading throughout the world. In addition to the actual fighting (which does need to be done), we need to spread good will by doing good deeds. Supporting education, healthcare and other social programs in Iraq, Afghanistan and other impoverished countries might do more to win the war on terror than all of our current efforts. If we don't do something to stop people from becoming terroists in the first place, then the war on terror really will become a never-ending, un-winnable fight.
Posted By Anonymous A. S. Nabel, Santa Monica, CA : 5:36 PM ET
Tom, I don't think we are winning the war on terrorist.After WW I the middle was divided without any regard for the ethnic make up of the people.They were ruled as inferiors under colonialism. After WW II, we assume the role that the British/France had. If a country was against Communism , they were our friend regardless if they were ruthless dicators.Even today, our friends in the middle east are Egypt, Saud Arabia, Liya, Jordan and others authocratic or dicatorial regimes. We have troops stationed all over the world. We still have 30,000 troops in Korea, over 50 years after the war ended. We claim to want peace in the Palenstine/Isarael. Yet we give Isarael $2 Billion a year and it has the largest military in the middle east. The reason we are losing the war on terror is the talk we make is not matched by our actions. As was once said " when America loses its moral direction, it will began to self destruct."
Posted By Anonymous John P. Carrigy, Huntsville, Al. : 5:37 PM ET
You cannot win a war against fundamentalism abroad unless you root out fundamentalism at home!The war will cease when the right-wing crumbles here.
Posted By Anonymous Ed, Ellenville NY : 7:36 PM ET
Well we sure as heck aint winning it. Let's be honest, going to fight the Taliban was the right thing to do, going into Iraq, was wrong, was a lie to AMerican people and our brave military, Saddam was under control, no weapons of mass destruction, we wear lead by lies and now look at our men and women dying for what? Freedom?, I am free,and I'm not scared of these lunatics, they will never take my freedom from me! I served in the military for ten years and would gladly given my life for my Country, but make sure it's not for a lie and make sure I'm going to the after the right enemy. That's the least my leader.
Posted By Anonymous Luis Hinojosa Texas : 7:38 PM ET
Losing??? If the Liberal media, such as CNN tries to portray the US as losing the war, then rest assured the US Military is prevailing. Why do I say that? Because the lib media is doing all they can to undermine the war effort but our troops will win despite the efforts of the anti-American mainstream media.
Posted By Anonymous Russ Onderko, Hackettstown NJ : 7:44 PM ET
What's horrible about this is the question itself. Bush framed the question. He and Rove use terror to frighten voters into supporting their morally and intellectually bankrupt "administration". To win the "war on terror" is to defeat Bush. Unfortunately, that will not be easy and the scorched earth legacy of this adnminstration - tax cuts and rewards for the wealthy, job outsourcing and guest worker programs that are rife with espionage and have wrecked our technological advantage and national security, Rove's political tactics, and new lows in morality and ethics will haunt this country in the coming decades. I am concerned that Bush will not simply go down as the worst president in our history, but as the demon that destroyed the United States.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Brooks, Eugene, OR : 7:47 PM ET
The Muslim world should be outraged at their own governments. Their leaders are some of the most repressive and brutal in the world. How dare the President of Iran or Syria lecture the west on anything, being that the vast percentage of their citizenry lives in abject squalor and poverty while billions pour in from oil revenues.

Like it or not, this conflict is more than just ideology or religion. It is a battle between civilizations. Religious fanaticism vs. the Western World. This war has been brewing for decades, it's unfortunate it took the tragic events of 9/11 before the United States took it seriously.

If America loses "the war on terror," they will not be the ones who suffer. Life in the US will continue just fine , and our routines will be much as they are now. No, the price will be paid by billions of Muslims throughout the world as country after country falls under the savage and cruel shadow of Islamic extremists.
Posted By Anonymous Travis K. Roach, Port Orchard, WA : 7:47 PM ET
We have lost the "War of Terror" because our own freedoms as Americans have been curtailed right here at home. Now they won't even allow us to bring our own drinks on flights.
Posted By Anonymous Kurt Angle, Pittsburgh PA : 8:01 PM ET
We owe the soldiers who perished in Iraq and those scattered around dangerous places in the world who have died for us, nothing less than complete victory.

The President and the Defense Dept. will decide the right time to cease operations, not people taking internet polls.
Posted By Anonymous christina - Chicago IL : 8:09 PM ET
The larger issue as to whther we are winning or losing the war on terrorism relates to a definite loss of credibility by the Bush administration. After so much deliberate misinformation and the resulting loss of life, can this President make any convincing argument relating to Iraq, Iran and the Middle East. The Bush Presidency has undermined this great nation . When we allowed him to claim victory in 2000 we accepted a policy of deceipt and secrecy. Where are the impeachers now that so quickly went after Clinton for indescretions. The question at this time is whether we will hold this administration accountable for policies gone amuck? Safety nets for the poor are dissappearing, our major cities are in disrepair, 46 million have no health insurance. That issue alone kills 20,000 Americans every year. Perhaps Bush is right we are winning in Iraq; but this is certain, we are losing at home.
Posted By Anonymous Marc, Hudson, FL : 8:14 PM ET
You have asked the wrong question. Our fight is with terrorism, but we are fighting people who may or may not be terrorists. For every terrorist leader arrested or killed, several more are waiting to take their place. For those who are not in leadership positions and are killed or arrested, many, many more are waiting for their chance to enter the fight.

Let's not forget that Iraq is involved in a civil war now. Many of the combatants are not terrorists; they are people like you and me and are not fighting simply because America is their enemy. They are fighting because there are invaders in their homeland.

You also mentioned that there has been undeniable progress because funding and supply lines have been disrupted. If we did not have our military fighting against them, we would not care about their supply lines. The funding lines disruptions can be accomplished from here in the U.S. without getting our young military people killed in a war that cannot be won by our side.

We have already lost. It was decided the day we set foot in Iraq. It was driven home when we re-elected the person who should be held responsible for all the death and destruction.
Posted By Anonymous William Slifko, Tokyo (USN ret.) : 8:20 PM ET
We are not losing the war on terror. I don't even know what it is we want anymore...Freedom? The Iraqis had more freedom and security under Saddam. Democracy? Palestinians *did* vote in free and fair elections. We don't like the Democracy if the winners are not who we want; that's not really democracy. We don't even pressure our ally Egypt to hold free and fair elections anymore, for fear of a democratically elected government that we don't want. We have become a police-state with the government monitoring our phone calls without a warrant and people jailed without due process. I don't think we are losing the war on terrorism (how does 'terrorism' surrender anyway), I think we already have lost because the terrorists have succeeded in terrorizing us into a right-wing dominated religious police state.
Posted By Anonymous John Dewars, Livermore, CA : 8:23 PM ET
Our policy, and good intentions, are being negated by the arrogance of the administration, and our unconditional support for Israel. The result is that YES, we are losing the war; we no longer have advocates in the Muslim, especially Arab, world.
Posted By Anonymous AM, Vienna, VA : 8:26 PM ET
We are losing the war. Mainly because forced change cannot be disguised as altruism.
Posted By Anonymous Raven, Denver Colorado : 8:31 PM ET
Well, considering that OBL is still at large and that we caved in to his major demand (removal of military bases from Saudi Arabia), I'd saw we lost.
Posted By Anonymous Adrian, Chicago, IL : 8:34 PM ET
As long as we're taking the fight to these terrorist on their land, we are doing the right thing. We are killing Al Queda member,and we are not allowing these countries like Iran and Iraq to bribe other countries with oil for nuclear secrets.

A lot of people believe we have to work with the United Nations and that is garbage. The United Nations is all talk. Sanctions against terrorist don't work when they are willing to blow themselves up.

It's going to take time for security measures here in America to improve. Remember it's only been 5 years since 9/11. It's hard to have all the technology and funding implace for such a large open country like the United States in place in such a short time.

People and the media especially, still have 'fast food mentality' and think everything can be done a few weeks.

But for all you Bush hating liberals, you and the media will probably get your way in the next elections, just don't be suprized when your "if we don't bother the terrorist, they won't bother us" theory explodes in your face on American soil.
Posted By Anonymous Brian, Bolingbrook, IL : 8:37 PM ET
After 9/11 we needed to do THREE things
1. Find who did it? And punish them.
2. Prevent such a thing occurring again.
3. Find out why it was done?
We nearly got Ben Ladin - then gave up the chase.
We MAY have prevented another occurrence.
We have done nothing to understand why it was done - and because of that it most likely will occur again, and again.
Posted By Anonymous duncan connall, east greenwich, rhode island : 8:44 PM ET
Apparently, the Islamic radicals hate us because of our freedoms. After Bush slowly takes our freedoms all away to "protect us", the terrorists won't be able to use that excuse anymore.
Posted By Anonymous Scott Chwaliszewski, Dallas, TX : 8:46 PM ET
We never should have started a "war on terror", we should have prosecuted a war on Al Quida. The minute Bush failed at Tora Bora was when he lost the war on Al Quida; when he launched the invasion of Iraq was when he gave the Middle East over to muslim extremists of all stripes. If Bush had defeated Al Quida decisively at Tora Bora, and opened a real dialogue with the Muslim world, we'd be a hell of a lot better off today. He failed, and now we'll be paying with increased terrorism for decades. To say that we have achieved anything because there hasn't been a domestic attack since 9/11 is ridiculous. The nature of terrorists is that they can attack anytime, anywhere. They don't need to occupy land, or sustain an offensive. Time is there ally. You can't protect everything, all the time. Sooner or later Bush's failures will come back to haunt us in spades. Part of the effectiveness of terrorism is the unpredictability of their strikes. As we've come to realize, one successful attack has a long lasting effect.
Posted By Anonymous David Fenton, Norwood,NY : 8:50 PM ET
You can compare this in sports terms...we are tied and nobody seems to want to or is strong enough to win.

America is last year's football national champion and dominates many of its opponents and has had a dynasty and winning tradition. Once and awhile, that team loses to an inferior team. However it keeps going. But you go far enough and that team eventually becomes mediocre and then a cellar dweller.

In looking at every "dynasty" there is always some point where the decline starts. I just pray that it didn't start when Bush was elected.

So now it's quadruple overtime and no matter how much we sack the other guy's quarterback and knock him out of the game, they keep coming back to threaten to win and we just can't seem to get close enough to score. We need to put this to bed but all our players are exhausted and the fans just want the game to end so they can go home.
Posted By Anonymous Peter, West Sacramento, Ca : 8:58 PM ET
Tom,

I think we should ask our leaders, are there more terrorists in Iraq now than when we invaded? The answer is undoubtedly, YES.

I believe our leaders were baited by Osama into a war we could not win and they fell for it hook, line and sinker!
Posted By Anonymous carlos romero, essex, vt : 8:59 PM ET
Everyone should read "Fiasco, the American Military Adventure in Iraq" by Thomas E. Ricks. If you are unfamiliar with the book read reviews of it at amazon.com. My sense, having read the book, is the only way we can move forward as a nation is to have the humility and courage to acknowledge our errors. But that is not the path our current administration chooses to follow; hence, we lost the war on terror.
Posted By Anonymous Heitzso, Gainesville, GA : 8:59 PM ET
We cannot win a war when we have no strategy, no clearly defined objective and no definition of the enemy. We also cannot win a war by being tepid ala Viet Nam or as Rummy would say - 'doing it on the cheap.' IF, and that is a big IF, we go to war, then it is all out, leave nothing standing - anything less than that is a waste of men and materiel.
Posted By Anonymous Judith M. Shade, Hilton Head Island SC : 9:19 PM ET
i think we lost this war the momen Iraq entered the equation. There is no easy solution to the war on terror when legality and politics apply. But Bush proved his adroitness in using personal and political ambitions to abberate from the real need to solve the problem of terrorism. In effect, creating more longterm/permanent problems for haught fixes. Either when a Republican or Democrat president is in charge, we lost the war by default when we elected along party lines rather than for the right candidate with the right goal. If I had a solution for the war, was to fix afghanistan first.
Posted By Anonymous george, laramie, wy : 9:30 PM ET
The war on terror cannot be won, for the simple reason, North Americans live in a 24/7 world where immediate results are expected to every problem. Muslims and/or terrorists dont have our mindset. For them time means nothing and they can fight this war for hundreds of years and suffer untold casualties, life is cheap. For us in the west Canada for example, 32 dead soldiers causes panic among the chattering classes to bring the troop back. The terrorist see and know our attitude and they will simply wait us out and terrorize us at will.
Posted By Anonymous rositta buracas, toronto, ontario, canada : 9:33 PM ET
What I find interesting is that Mr.Kull's comments reflect what I learned from several years of intense reading and many documentary's later on the war in Iraq.I'm deeply troubled by this war,it's wrong,it'll go down as one of bush's biggest mistakes and most costly to the muslim people.The torture of so many innocent people the killing of hundreds of thousands of civilians has fueled the men of the middle east into terrorists arms and civil war. If this president goes to war against Iran he'll be starting world war 3 of that I'm sure,because Russia and China will not stand by and just watch.
Posted By Anonymous Tracy Barnes,Ontario Canada : 9:47 PM ET
My only questions...What is the mission? What are the defined goals? ... Winning the war on terrorism? That being the case how do you measure achievement of that goal? ... The American people are not as stupid as some would think.

Get our young men and women out of there and remove that target from their backs.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Laude Kennebunk ME : 10:00 PM ET
Sir,

Can we once and for all put behind us that this may be an illegal or immoral war? Face it America we are in a war, if we leave now we look weak to the rest of the world. the bickering about what has already happened cannot change it. Let us face the struggles of fighting a war by enlisting in our military, picking up a rifle, bandage or laptop and adding your strength to our nations battle. We as americans are fighting for the survival of our culture and way of life. Extremism must be met with force else it will meet you with force. This country has gotten fat and complacent since world war II. It is now time to tighten our belts kiss our wives, children, sweethearts goodbye and fight in defense of this great nation.
Posted By Anonymous Adam, Columbus Ohio : 2:09 AM ET
I hope everyone understands why we must fight the war on terror, we don't have a choice, if someone is trying to kill you, you must fight back or die.
I think our president and all other American that are fighting the war on terror are working very hard so that I can sit in my office and have the freedom to wirte this response. I am an american and will fight to the death to maintain my way of life.
Posted By Anonymous Rick Tampa Florida : 8:26 AM ET
To the 95% of you who just echo the "hate Bush" democrat talking points: Are you enjoying your visit to our planet? To the devotees of the "get bin Laden" crowd: If we capture or kill him, is the war over?
Posted By Anonymous Larry, San Antonio, TX : 9:36 AM ET
Are we losing the war on terror? No. Definately not. Since being attacked by terrorists at home we have completely taken over two whole countries that support islamic extremism and hatrid to the Unites States. We have not been attacked at home since. We are not just taking over a piece of land now, and what people have to realize is that we have to conquer an idea. The only way to effectively do that is through education. The problem in the middle east at heart is their extremist education. This could take years to effectively solve, but as for the actual military war... we already won. We just need to instill the idea of capitolism and freedom to the people of the middle east. Once they realize that democracy is the way to their individual success, and success as a nation, then they will win the rest of the war on terror for us. There will be no "V-day" untill this happens.
Posted By Anonymous Jon Snyder, Pittsburgh PA : 10:11 AM ET
Tom, the war on terror can never really be "won". We can only keep the Islamic extremists at bay with effective security measures. It's a new era and rosey notions of political correctness and irrational outcries over civil liberties must be kept in check. Sure, the fiasco in Iraq surely fueled Muslim anger towards America, but then again these are the same extremists who wanted to chop off Danish heads over a political cartoon. We must also remember that we were attacked before Iraq. So were numerous other countries. Remember the Bali Bombings, You cannot appease these lunatics. They will hate us regardless of what we do.
Posted By Anonymous Adam, Chicago Illinois : 10:14 AM ET
We never have been winning at any time since the beginning. T o fight a war one must want to win a war, at all costs, This is a Republican think- tank experiment gone haywire. Just like all other Bush Administration ideologies and proposals. Long on rethoric ,very, very short on substance. More bark than bite. It seems that their beliefs are that if you throw just enough dirt to cover the problem no one will look to see what lies beneath. Here's to a new change in leadership. "Do I feel safer today? Sure, I'm five years older, have less money in my pocket , Still driving the same car, my kids are starting college(needing lots of money),finding it hard to pay for all the medicine I need each month. Every bit of extra money goes to the oil or energy companies and I'm losing my hair and hearing. Who would want to harm me? They can sit back and wait, something else will get me, then they can walk right in and have it all. The American Dream. Then there would be more targets for the next generation of American haters. The circle of hate. What joy.
Posted By Anonymous Rick S Atascocita, TX : 10:41 AM ET
We are losing the battle and the war! I don't believe that the US is in the Middle East to promote its interests, take over oil, or to give off the persona that we are the most powerful nation. What I do believe is that we had good intentions going in to Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction and removing a tyrant ... but those good intentions backfired! We weren't prepared and now we are paying for it and so are many innocent Iraqi's. Rather than the government admitting their mistakes (not enough troops on the ground, and not aggressive enough), they keep trying to patch them up. The scary thing is, I'm not so sure this messy problem they've created in the Middle East can ever be "fixed." This makes us failures, and sadly the Iraqi civilian's failures too.
Posted By Anonymous Tania Cavanaugh - Weatherford, Texas : 10:44 AM ET
For the love of all that is good...

People need to stop equating opposition to the war with opposition to our soldiers. We support the women and men who are serving their country, but that does not mean that their efforts are always effective. It's a terrible tragedy that our soldiers are often put in impossible situations at their own expense.

As Mr. Foreman's post mentioned, many supporters of the war believe that worries about popularity should and must wait. But the obvious fact to those who are paying attention is that our declining popularity leads directly to growing numbers of terrorist groups, attacks, and death.

The more we demonize all people who do not share our views on foreign policy, the more we will be demonized, and thus, targeted by violent, angry extremists. This does not make terrorists right, nor is this an excuse for their actions. It is only a fact that must be dealt with before global terror can effectively be stopped.
Posted By Anonymous Katie Doll, St. Louis, MO : 2:31 PM ET
Disturbing to see responses from some that blame the media for the perception that we're failing in Iraq. It's shallow analysis, frankly, and speaks more to a person's inability to accept that s/he supported a president who has bungled. It's not a pleasant realization that somone you believe in, someone who you believe represents you, your beliefs, and your concept of America and her role, has turned into a disaster. It's natural to look for a scapegoat--like the "liberal" media; natural, but also a adolescent.
Posted By Anonymous Jack, Vienna, VA : 3:38 PM ET
I'm saddened when I see people here post that the terrorists hate us because of our way of life or freedoms. I'm neither liberal or conservative, and this isn't about the media, Bush or anything in between. 9/11 happened for a reason. Our support of "puppet governments in the Middle East (Saddam in the 80's), our continued support of Israel and their destructive policies to Palestine. We are seen as a bully through the eyes of the world, plan and simple. We bomb drop democracy. We use the CIA to do our dirty work (who funded Osama against the Russians in Afghanistan - we did - only Osama was on our side then, and he was a "freedom fighter"). We are a great country who has lost our way. We need to get back on track, without blaming the Democrats or Republicans.
Posted By Anonymous Fred Smith, Lino Lakes, MN, 55014 : 4:46 PM ET
As a former longtime, native-born "American" American, resident in the Persian Gulf countries, there wasn't wide-spread "hate" towards Americans prior to the Gulf wars. As I went about my daily life there, people were very friendly and open to me and my family as Americans and the American way of life. However, it's NOT that way now. I don't think I could be there now - the way the gov't has managed to turn them all against us, given people in the Middle East every reason to resent us. It has always been my experience that people in the ME were very open and friendly to Americans despite the policies of the US govt Middle Easterners may have objected to.

Perhaps people here who have never been outside the US have no idea what it's like - it was delightful, with far more opportunity in those Gulf countries than I have ever been able to find here 'at home' - but now those opportunities are fast dwindling and gone, and had been going then with all of the things the US govt has been doing over the past 20-30 years furthering their interests over those of ordinary people.
Posted By Anonymous Sam, Houston, TX : 5:05 PM ET
Read the history books. I think we need to re-word everything, because it's reallly not a clash between terrorists and us, it's a clash between civilizations. Will we win? Well, I don't think anyone will "win" anything, but all involved will absorb and be absorbed until an equilibrium can be reached. If changing means we "lose", then yea, I think it's fair to say we'll lose. And are losing, as we speak. But then again, so are they.
Posted By Anonymous LRogers, Wheeling, WV : 5:20 PM ET
Right on Fred and don't forget that we once support Saddam. The CIA has been a central thorn since Viet Nam as I recall. Or U2 flights over Russia. NSA=no such agency. Ah, it was only the black hat guys that did bad stuff. How much WMD do we have stored or Nagasaki, Bikini Islands, THE responsible nation? Agent Orange, Napalm.......... I do support our troops and always have.
Posted By Anonymous linda, bella vista, ar : 10:05 PM ET
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