The recent U.S. aerial attack on the Afghan village of Granai killed more than 100 civilians, mainly women and children. Details were given in a front-page article in The New York Times on May 15. The casualty count was verified by the Afghan government and the independent Afghanistan Rights Monitor. People throughout the world may well consider this an act of terrorism carried out by the U.S. government.
While it is unclear whether any Taliban fighters were killed, it is clear that the attack has provided wonderful propaganda for the Taliban. News of the attack is leading large numbers of Afghans to oppose the United States and the American-backed Afghan government. Those familiar with the history and culture of Afghanistan agree that military intervention there is bound to be counterproductive. Unfortunately instead of listening to them, President Barack Obama is taking his advice from people like Defense Secretary Robert Gates -- the same people who supported the failed policies of George W. Bush.
We can only hope that Afghanistan will not become Mr. Obama's Vietnam. The billions of dollars wasted on the Afghan war are taken away from the real needs of our country. The time has come for Congress to support our troops and bring them home now.
The writer is University Professor of Physics at Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.