International editor questions war in country with 'fewer than 100 al Qaeda fighters'


Since the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal as the commander of US forces in Afghanistan and CIA Director Leon Panetta's admission a week ago that there may be no more than fifty to a hundred al-Qaeda members in that nation, there have been increasing signs of a loss of support for the Afghan War.

Fareed Zararia, the editor of Newsweek's international editions and CNN host, criticized the war in his strongest terms yet on his CNN program Sunday. "If Al Qaeda is down to a hundred men there at the most," Zakaria asked, "why are we fighting a major war?"

Noting that there were more than a hundred deaths among NATO soldiers last month and that the war is estimated to cost the US more than $100 billion this year alone, Zararia wondered again,"Why are we fighting this major war against the Taliban? ... If al-Qaeda itself is so weak, why are we fighting against its allies so ferociously?"

"The whole enterprise in Afghanistan feels disproportionate," Zakaria remarked, "a very expensive solution to what is turning out to be a small but real problem. "

"Is there a more cost-effective way to keep al-Qaeda on the ropes than fight a major land and air war in Afghanistan?" he asked.

"I hope someone in Washington is thinking about this and not simply saying we're going to stay the course because, well, we must stay the course," he added.

This video is from CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS, broadcast July 4, 2010.