War Correspondents Speak Out On Afghanistan. Engel: ‘I Honestly Think it’s Probably Time to Start Leaving the Country’

By Chris Ariens 

Richard Engel of NBC News and Lara Logan of CBS News are two of the longest-serving correspondents covering the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But during this week, as the 8th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan is marked, both Logan and Engel are making headlines for taking sides in the debate about what to do next.

Appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Thursday, Engel declared, “I honestly think it’s probably time to start leaving the country. I really don’t see how this is going to end in anything but tears.”

Engel’s comments — which came in response to the question, “What did you see in Afghanistan?” — have become part of the political debate. In an interview later Thursday on CNN, Wisconsin democratic Sen. Russ Feingold repeatedly quoted Engel in a making the case for a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops.


“The idea of going in to nation-build and win hearts and minds, I think, over the long term is kind of a loser,” Engel said. “Going in to try and convince the people that we’re there to develop democracy and develop hearts and minds — the Afghans don’t want it, they don’t want it from us.”

During the weekly CBSNews.com program Washington Unplugged, Bob Orr, asked Logan about a counter-terrorist option supported by VP Joe Biden. “Disaster… absolute disaster.” said Logan, “There’s no way it would work. You can’t do any of those things if you don’t have more security in the country.”

On Monday, Engel will speak at the RTNDA’s Murrow Awards dinner. Engel’s ‘Tip of the Spear’ series on the war is being honored.

Click continued to see the Logan appearance on CBSNews.com…

> Update: On the “Today” show this morning Meredith Vieira asked Engel about his comments. Engel: “Well, when I spend a lot of time in Afghanistan and in Iraq, it’s easy to draw comparisons between the two and obviously I’m not trying to advocate any kind of policy, that’s for the decision makers to do and I know they’re meeting and spending hours and hours doing that. But when I talk to soldiers who’ve been also deployed in Afghanistan and Iraq and many Afghans, they say the two conflicts are very different. And just because the surge strategy, which won the hearts and minds in Iraq, there is no reason to assume that it could also succeed in Afghanistan.”