Re "The Unwinnable War" [Oct. 24]: I fully agree with Aryn Baker's analysis of the situation in Afghanistan and her conclusion that the planned withdrawal of American and allied troops must now be considered the true, if sad and embarrassing, definition of success. Sadly, the American-led alliance has little to show for the enormous material and human sacrifice over the past 10 years. As the allied forces withdraw, Afghanistan will sink back into an ungovernable failed state, a stronghold of the Taliban, and the source of many a future geopolitical and humanitarian headache.
Karl H. Pagac, VILLENEUVE-LOUBET, FRANCE
If the aim is to vanquish the Taliban, then the U.S. has to look for a way to reduce Pakistani support to them. Cutting funding to Pakistan by at least half might make a difference. Because of its proximity and cultural and historical connection to Afghanistan, India should play a bigger role in this conflict by supporting the transition to democracy and funding some development work. The U.S. will not be able save Afghanistan by itself.
Anant Sahay, SYDNEY
Afghanistan is a textbook example of a nation without a middle class: stripped clean of any skills by years of civil war, the only sources of income are theft, drugs and violence. After reading your article, it appears to me that the main obstacle to rebuilding has been the Afghan mind-set; few Afghans share the Western attitude of entrepreneurship and leadership. If history remembers the U.S. and NATO involvement in Afghanistan as a failure, it should be noted that most of the fault lies with the attitude of the Afghan people.
Johannes Ahrens, BERLIN
The Taliban's desire is to turn the clock back to the 6th century an easier task than bringing it into the 21st century. The Afghan government at all levels wants to be as rich and powerful as it can get, by any means. The brigands and drug runners want to carry on as their forefathers have for millennia. The tribal elders, who actually care about their people, have their authority undermined by all three groups. The ordinary people just want a better life for themselves and their offspring. We just want the sacrifices made on our behalf to make a positive difference. It's depressing, but everyone's need to "win" means no one does.
Paul Carter, NORTHAMPTONSHIRE, ENGLAND
Your article does not shed light on why the U.S. has attacked and occupied Afghanistan. Remember Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction? And now the threat to the U.S. is the Taliban. The real aim is to control oil in Iraq and mineral resources in Afghanistan.
Shaikh Mohommad, SURREY, ENGLAND
The U.S. government is best represented by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Dr. Jekyll went to Bosnia to protect innocent civilians. Mr. Hyde invaded Afghanistan and Iraq on a rampage, inflicting deep wounds not only to the Afghans and Iraqis but also to Dr. Jekyll, the Americans and scores of souls around the globe.
Mohammad I. Kabir, PERTH, AUSTRALIA
The Religious Right's Record
I agree with Jon Meacham that calling into question Mitt Romney's faith is "bad for all of us" [An Unholy War, Oct. 24]. But Meacham's argument that the religious right is shrill because it "lost" on issues like abortion is off base. The right didn't lose on abortion. For proof of this, come to Texas. The abortion-sonogram bill passed here last spring. And in 2011, there have been more restrictions placed on abortion than in any other year since 1973.
Charlotte H. Coffelt, KINGWOOD, TEXAS, U.S.
Commentators keep asking what the Occupy Wall Street protesters want [Taking It to the Streets, Oct 24]. It's obvious: they want fairness. For years, every news cycle has brought fresh information about how corporate giants have enriched themselves at our expense. Aside from the protesters, who is standing up for the interests of the 99%?
Lynn Kolchycki, MACUNGIE, PA., U.S.
The protesters are focusing on the wrong group. Politicians are the ones who respond to lobbyists rather than to average Americans. Politicians are the ones who refuse to ask the wealthy to help address the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Politicians are the ones who allow unlimited money to corrupt our election process.
Richard McFadden Sr., PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA., U.S.
The article "The Little Car That Couldn't" about the Tata Nano's failure shows a photo of protesters burning a fake Nano [Oct. 24]. It is symbolic of the main reason people aren't buying the real Nano: the fear that the cars will catch on fire, after a handful of incidents of this happening. With such hazards, even an inexpensive product cannot attract buyers.
Suresh K. Parappurath, BANGALORE, INDIA