Aside from the money and the deaths, I have a fundamental issue with what is happening in Afghanistan. When colonial America took on the British, it was a battle of farmers against the best trained army in the world. When the French rebelled against the king, it was peasants against a strong army. Today, the Arab Spring puts clerks and everyday people against highly trained military establishments. These people want their freedom from oppressive regimes and they are winning.
But in Afghanistan, it doesn't seem like the people really want their freedom. It is a matter of who can offer the most in terms of cash and security. If it's the Alliance, so be it. If it is the Taliban, so be it. There appears to be no basic desire to rid themselves of the shackles of the extremist Muslim views of a few, if those few make the better deal. I say, leave it to them to sort it all out and let's leave. Neither Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Syria, et al began with the help of the west. Yes, are are now giving support, but the impetus came from the grassroots. This is just not the case in Afghanistan, nor was it in Iraq.
Secondly, how long can it possibly take to train an Afghan army? My God, we send our soldiers to boot camp for six months and then some desert training and off to war they go. We have been 'training' in Afghanistan for 10 freaking years. Are they stupid people? I doubt it.
So it's time to come and let them sort it out. We need the money and it seems like they don't want the freedom!