March 27, 2009
Posted: 1452 GMT

Hello everyone,

President Obama is staying true to a key campaign promise: shifting more American troops to Afghanistan and setting goals for the country. Barack Obama is also asking Congress to approve triple the amount of economic and social aid to Pakistan, a country where Al Qaeda extremists have been gathering strength.

The wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are against an ideology that is far from being defeated since 9/11. The question is: how do you win it?

Military might? Social aid? Direct investment? Building schools and roads and bridges? A combination of the above? Take part in today's I-Desk poll and give us your view.

We'll also be going live to Baghdad to chat with Nic Robertson about Obama's Afghanistan plan, as well as Bill Schneider, who will tell us what ordinary Americans think about the planned troop surge in the region.

Also on tap: the latest from the flood zone in North Dakota and a fascinating study on women aged 18 to 34 (a group I'm sadly not part of anymore.) Turns out 25% say they would rather win a modelling competition than the Nobel Peace Prize.

No comment.

See you on TV,


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Debbie   March 27th, 2009 5:10 pm ET


The situation over in the Middle East will never change. So do something else with the money that is being spent on that situation over there. Give it to the American people! (Yeah, right!)
Like I stated in another article, give money to senior citizens that are working, so they can retire. They can pay of their mortgages, buy American made car, put the rest in savings, stop giving them social security. That would then help the economy, create more jobs and help or even stop giving social security.

Charles A. Craig   March 27th, 2009 5:39 pm ET

Hello. Being a military retiree giving over twenty years to my country, I would hope that our President would forget all possibilities on how to require veterans/retirees to "cost share" their medical expenses. I was told, as numerous other comrades, that when we retired, as an example, we would have FREE medical, dental, and any other care required. Of course, this is unfortunately not the case. As an example, I cannot get my eyes checked, no dental work, etc.. So, I would seriously hope that our President take action on "soldier issues", and although I understand, divert some "BAIL OUT" money to our active duty soldiers, military retirees, and veterans. Thank you.

Bill S   March 27th, 2009 8:07 pm ET

Hell-o Hala
I only see the last bit of your show.But here's my 2cents on Pakistan,more money will not change minds,understanding the problem and helping the people may. Hala you know the middle east and asia better then most.I think they need less meddling from afar.that said there are some nuts that are very dangerous people to all concern in world.Hala you are young and very wise(more jewelery for you).
cheers Bill Seamans

Thot   March 27th, 2009 9:32 pm ET

I understand people desperation because of the economical crisis, but we can’t forget that are people in the world that are in worst living situations then ours. Should we let them just die? Sometimes people are so used to some superfluous habits in their lives, that they can’t admit that, by giving up to them, they could save money for more important things. I have a friend who claim not having enough money to buy her medicine, but refuses to give up smoking (you know how much a cigar packet costs?). Imagine if you smoke more then a package a week…
Social help is need for countries like Afghanistan. It will probably help more to battle Al Qaeda then by simply reinforcing the numbers of military there.
People who are hungry, who have lost everything, and in addition, who live with daily violence and war, are easier to be recruited by any terrorist movement. Al Qaeda probably promises those people the social, economical and even spiritual help that others refuse to give them.
There are no magical theories or magical math in fighting a war, less terrorism. I think we shouldn’t just focus on the military aspect, when the woods of a conflict can be solved in a different way.
It’s great you have a job, you can pay your house rent, by a car… but at the end… will the misery of others make you feel safer and better despite all you have?
When the world will understand that it’s not enough that we have a great life between the boards of our country, when there are others struggling to survive, fighting for human rights, fighting for land, religion, or justice… fighting simply to be alive?

DZB   March 28th, 2009 3:14 pm ET

I can say that not all countries are have the same economic problems (of course not). Some are facing political unrest, some are facing famine, starvation, malnutrition, and so forth. We should have different economic plans for different economic situations. I know it sounds crazy, but it's more crazy trying to put all in one. In plain English, a government filled with healthy debates (and not like Congress) is the only way to go at this point in time because when Democrats, Republicans, and other world officials fight over who wants/gets stimulus money or whatnot, everybody suffers, whether is one of those "Joneses" (even though they claim they don't), or someone in the middle class (they're always on the short end), or someone in poverty. My economic situation is this... I'm in college here in Florida and they're thinking about raising tuition so that they will compete with the rest of the US and at the same time cutting public education (Volusia County, FL (My home county) is cutting about $60 million. A county nearby (Orange County) is cutting a whopping $240 million). So, you see, Americans are suffering, and also around the world, so I hope that there might not be any budget cuts overseas like we have here.

On a lighter note, Hala, I know you're sadly not part of the 18-34 age group anymore, but, also sadly, I am (I just turned 20 last Saturday), and I am safe to say, I'm part of the other 75% 🙂 No worries.

Hamz   March 28th, 2009 6:01 pm ET

Well i think Its time that US should stop, being blackmailed by Pakistan, and be loud and clear that a double game by Pakistan can cost it more than it has anticipated.
While in Afghanistan, America is in a very good position to get rid of extremism in the Tribal Areas by influencing Pakistan, but once the coalition boots are off from the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan gets full impunity in the region, it will be literary impossible for the West to persuade or pressurize Pakistan to stop cultivating extremism in the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan and FATA.

Any exit strategy at this time, would be a colossal mistake. Leaving Afghanistan can be a good idea only in the presence of a stronger Afghan Army that could act as a police man in the region, the construction of which is far easier than other political institutions.
I don't know why is it taking so long for the US to understand the long term benefits of an alternate military card in region, in the form ANA (Afghan National Army).

Capable Afghan Army and good Education System, are inevitable for the stability and future governance of Afghanistan. Education System should be one of the first priorities of the newly arriving US civilian Advisors.

Its time that the Afghan issue be resolved once and for all, because it is the same Afghan issue that led US to bail out Pakistan on its nuclear and missile program during Russian war, and its the same Afghan issue that is forcing the west to bail out Pakistan from the sensitive issue of Nuclear Proliferation.
The question is "How long can the West afford to be blackmailed by Pakistan through Afghan Issue?"
for those who can see ,the answer lies in "Stable Afghanistan"

Hamz, Pak.

Armin   March 29th, 2009 4:15 pm ET

I'm living in Iran,I'm suffering from the same ideology of my compatriots but the main thing is that this ideology is not gonna be defeated by war,bombs,troops,the people are step by step getting away form the ideology because the new generation understands that this islamic beliefs are not gonna work in the modern society,the only thing the western countries should do is to guide the people into new things,correct ones. Because most people when they get new ideas,they dont get correct ones.

Dinesh   March 29th, 2009 5:05 pm ET

Afgan & Pakistan Pre. welcomes President Obama's new plan to fight Terror at least until they get the Aid Check, " After What? ". Another Bail out Aid package to tackle P.O.K Terror Camps & Terrorists or US is sure that P.O.K Trained Terrorists would attack only India & not Western Interests. Al-Queda & Taliban fighters are Terrorists, but never " LETHAL " until Pakistani Brain mixed in it. Pak tried to save Talibani & Al-Queda Terrorists by doing " Peace Deal " & " Protesting " US of Predator- Drone attack saying the attack is on Pak's Intergity & Soverignity, but " BANKRUPTCY " is the other side of coin too. US must also appoint at least 2 FBI agents full time to Monitor the usage of Aid Funds to prevent Pak Investing more in Terrorists Groups with Arms, Equipments & Bonuses.There are more Terror Camps on P.O.K-Pakistan Occupied Kashmir also [Indian Border]. Unfotunately nobody bothers of it. P.O.K Terrorists are State Actors-Home Grown Pakistanis, while Non State Actors-Taliban & AL-Queda Terrorists. Center [Islamabad] is Operation Room who's Army Chief says Terrorists are National Assets of Pakistan. Could somebody genuinly say what Pakistan is upto, after 8 yrs of 9/11?

Hamz   March 30th, 2009 7:56 am ET

Everyone knows that the 12 billion received by Pakistan in the last 8 years , were injected into Pakistan Army`s strategic projects against India.
Thanks to US the once starving projects of JF-17 , cruise missiles, radar sys, submarines and technological weaponry research projects are more than laughing now .

I think its very cleaver on behalf of Pakistan that it first used Afghanistan during Soviet invasion as an excuse to get modern weaponry like F-16s from US and developed its WMDs, and attained missile technology against india , and now its using the same Afghan issue PLUS the WMDs and all that missiles falling to the hands of terrorist, as another very strong excuse of why it should get more funding to protect these weapons . But whats more interesting is that, wow! the West and US is falling for it again.

I don't understand it , how can Pakistan use the Kashmir excuse for creating all those terrorist groups, and justify the double game its playing now with US in Afghanistan.
If someone thinks by resolving Kashmir issue Pakistan would stop harboring terrorist because its out of excuses now, then they are strongly mistaken, because the existence of Afghanistan as a sovereign state, while the Durand line issue is still unresolved , is it self the biggest excuse for Pakistan to keep doing whats it doing now. Counting Afghanistan as a 5th province of Pak is on record on local channels ,by military, and civil analysts and is not a hidden desire anymore.
I don't know why doesn't it ring the bells in US when the former Army chief and ISI chief , Gen.Aslam Baig say on National Tv, that its time for Pakistan to ""Mobilize Taliban against America"",(early this year)

Its not just Kashmir or Afghanistan, there are a whole list of excuses like the issue of Balochistan and the injustice with minorities like Pashtons ,saraikes and even sindis. These are all very good reasons for Pakistan to blackmail West for whats its doing .

I cant agree more with Pakistani analysts when they say America is in a "Quagmire" as the road to Afghanistan goes from Pakistan. The new Af-pak policy does sound good because its multidirectional, but long term stability is going to be very tough under the current geography of the region.

Zeshan   March 30th, 2009 6:06 pm ET

First of all i want to clear on both of u that ,this is not the fight of Pakistan America involve Pakistan in this war against Talibaan,there was no terrorism before America,Obama u dont know wat are you talking about its better do your own bussines

Debbie   March 31st, 2009 7:42 pm ET

Yes, I agree!!! War games, that is all it is. I think if America would stay out of foreigh affairs and leave well enough alone, we wouldn't have to worry about all these terrorists groups. But then, who am I to say? American peoples voice doesn't matter, never did, never will. We should protect our borders and have stricter regulations about who comes in to our country.

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