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Forget Afghanistan. Let's nation-build at home first.

Given our high dropout and unemployment rates, we must reprioritize.

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The assessment of the war in Afghanistan from the top US general there is grim. Without more troops, Stanley McChrystal warned in a report that was leaked recently, "The conflict will likely result in failure."

His candor should be applauded. It gives President Obama and the American public – nearly half of whom now oppose the war there – an opportunity to ask themselves how we are going to save Afghanistan when we have not figured out how to engage in successful nation-building at home.

There's no question we need it. Thirty percent of our students drop out before finishing high school. Our border with Mexico is awash in drugs and violence. Mexican and Russian mafias have strong criminal footholds in our cities.

Some of our Rust Belt cities have unemployment levels on par with third-world countries. Michigan, once America's industrial heart, is on government life support. California, once the country's dynamo, is near bankruptcy.

Taking on these tough challenges will require US leaders, both Democrat and Republican, to relinquish the idea they can remake much of the world in America's image and likeness.


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