Is Afghanistan a war worth fighting?

A little boy sits and holds the hand of U.S. Army Sgt. Resolve Savage, from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment, Arizona National Guard, while he pulls security outside of a hospital during a medical capabilities program and humanitarian assistance supply hand out in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan June 28, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Isaac A. Graham)

A little boy sits and holds the hand of U.S. Army Sgt. Resolve Savage, from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 158th Infantry Regiment, Arizona National Guard, while he pulls security outside of a hospital during a medical capabilities program and humanitarian assistance supply hand out in the Nuristan province of Afghanistan June 28, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Isaac A. Graham)

We’re seeing it in headlines and Op Eds across the globe. On the wake of a report to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates providing an assessment and way ahead in Afghanistan, pundits, security experts and American citizens are weighing in on their vision for America’s presence moving forward.

At the heart of the issue is whether or not we view Afghanistan as a strategic center in America’s national security, or simply a range of mountains and villages with no strategic value. Of note is how the debate is being conducted with little reference to the ongoing war in Iraq. Where the two used to be inextricably linked as the two main fronts in the War on Terror, they’re now seen as separate fronts with different missions and different end-states – at least in the public debates.

Success in Afghanistan is linked to building infrastructure, combating poverty and eliminating the contributing factors that are linked to the Taliban’s ability to remain entrenched in certain regions. The work of both building up the Afghan people and protecting them requires the blood sacrifice and commitment of our men and women in uniform, who continue to perform valiantly in the region. They’re building centers of influence and opportunity, and moving the country forward. As we await any upcoming decisions we should focus on the work to be done today and be reminded of the commitment to service that moves are men and women in uniform forward, fighting today’s fight as they seek to preserve our security for tomorrow.

Regardless of how one sides in the debate over the best course as we move forward, times like this are a reminder of the vibrant freedom of opinion and expression inherent to the American way of life. Our ability to debate the policies of our leadership was gained and preserved by our men and women in uniform.

Check out the Washington Post’s “Topic A” for a great snapshot at a half-dozen different perspectives on America’s way ahead in Afghanistan.  What do you think? Weigh in on the debate in our comments section.