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McClintock no Afghan expert

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In his recent meeting in Auburn, Congressman Tom McClintock stated that “you don’t sort of fight a war; you either go in all the way or you don’t go in at all.” These sentiments were echoed by a student, Rachel Finkbeiner (Reader Input, Dec 23.) Now this sounds good. But think a moment. With this philosophy, we would have wound up using nuclear weapons to end the Korean Conflict. And in Vietnam, we would have continued to escalate — until the Russians and/or Chinese came in against us. Then instead of 55,000 killed, we would have had perhaps a half-million. McClintock also believes that in Afghanistan our soldiers should return artillery fire into civilian homes. He is not the least concerned with “collateral damage.” This is lunacy. Anyone who has the least familiarity with the Afghan conflict will tell us that this is essentially a war to win the hearts and minds of the people. And you do not win the hearts and minds of a people by killing their women and children — or their grandparents, or by destroying their homes and villages. McClintock’s formula for success in Afghanistan is a recipe for absolute disaster. I wish McClintock would show a little less concern for making statements that will win him votes with an angry audience and a little more to the reality of a complex and difficult situation. KIM BRYANT, Auburn