George Graham

You Got to Know When to Fold ’em

I’m sure you’ve been told that nothing is impossible. And I’m sure you know that it’s nonsense. Some things cannot be done. Afghanistan comes to mind. “Nationbuilding” in Afghanistan in this century is not possible. To hang around in that treacherous wasteland only exposes America to continuing loss of life and a hemorrhage of cash. And – as the Koran-burning riots (photo above) make abundantly clear – the longer American troops stay the more of a mess they are bound to create.

I concede up front that the way Afghan women are treated is a crime against humanity, and I wish the Afghan people would be more enlightened. I also wish that the members of America’s Tea Party would see the light. But wishing won’t make it so.

Some people are beyond redemption. By us humans, anyway. That kind of change can come only from Divine intervention.

Looking around this crazy world, I am tempted to agree with Ron Paul when he declares that America should bring home all of the troops stationed at foreign military bases. It would certainly save a lot of money. And, in some cases, precious lives.

Implementing Paul’s policy would be insanely risky, of course. But it’s nice to dream. And Paul’s supporters know all about dreaming.

With things the way they are, no American president in his (or her) right mind would close all foreign bases and call the troops home.

But there is no point in dragging out that adventure in Afghanistan. President Obama did the job he set out to do: Osama bin Ladin is dead.

With the technology available today, America can keep a watchful eye on Afghanistan from afar. There’s no need for boots on the ground to guard against another al Qaida infestation. And American troops are apparently doing little good there. The longer they stay the worse things seem to get.

 It’s time to call it quits. Now.

That old Kenny Rogers song sums up the situation astutely:

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,

Know when to walk away, know when to run..

Click here for a report on the Afghan protests.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for