It is a curious paradox that while our safety net at home is shredding – unemployment insurance payments terminated for more than a million people, and food stamps plus other aid for the poor cut or threatened – U.S. leaders are ever more determined to continue pouring money down the black hole that is Afghanistan.

Most Americans would be relieved if the planned pullout for U.S. forces were completed this year, yet the U.S. military, supported by the administration, is pushing a bilateral security agreement with Afghanistan that would continue American presence in that country for at least 10 more years.

This although Afghan President Hamid Karzai has often characterized “American intransigence” as the main obstacle to peace. “If the U.S. is not willing to accept our conditions, they can leave anytime and we will continue our lives,” he has declared.

Indeed, the American military presence in Afghanistan is arguably a driving force for inciting hatred for America and energizing terrorists in the Middle East.

Far better that the U.S. withdraw as planned and devote the billions saved to helping needy Americans.

Gene Clifford

Mount Desert