The news came down today that four more U.S. Marines were killed in Afghanistan. This time, a roadside bomb did the damage. And the AP reports that the pace of deaths, if it continues, will make August one of the deadliest months for American troops since that war began. We lost 44 of our people there last month. We all know the background. We went in and started kicking behinds after the 9/11 attacks, but we essentially abandoned the fight in Afghanistan in favor of an ill-conceived war in Iraq. After more than 4,000 of our troops were killed and tens of thousands more wounded in the Iraq war, we turned our attention back to Afghanistan. But in the meantime, the same evil elements who engineered the 9/11 attacks had regained their strength. Reuters reported this week that it had obtained a threat assessment map developed by Afghan and U.S. security officials that shows nearly half of Afghanistan is at high risk of an attack by Taliban or other insurgent forces, or is under "enemy control." And that map was developed BEFORE a major surge in violence ahead of this month’s Afghan elections. There’s even a growing insurgent presence right outside the capital, Kabul, which rebels hit with nine rockets earlier this week, the first such brazen attack in years. The U.S. has been pouring thousands more troops into Afghanistan in an attempt to make up for the neglect of the mission during the Iraq war, but we have to question whether this is reasonable and prudent. Certainly, the "surge" in Iraq would be considered a success, but that's still a short-term gain that is being maintained by a continuing presence of more than 130,000 American servicemen and women. And what happens when, under a U.S.-Iraq agreement, we withdraw the vast majority of those troops by 2011? Virtually no one disagreed with the original decision to invade Afghanistan. We were attacked, and we responded against those responsible. But cleaning up Afghanistan requires troops – lots of them, and for a long time. Simply bombing them back to the Stone Age isn't much of an option when they've barely progressed past that point anyway. So, at this point, the same questions that were asked about the Iraq war need to be asked in regard to Afghanistan. What are the prospects for lasting success? How long are we willing to have tens of thousands of our troops in Afghanistan? And, most importantly, how many of our people are we willing to see maimed and killed in the process?