It is not in our interests or those of the world at large to aid or spend American lives and resources in the Middle East other than Israel, or any Islamic region. That's not to say we should ignore the evil called Islam, we need to counter it where needed, attack it where necessary, and discourage it's spread, but most important we need to stop thinking of Islamic cultures as sharing the same human values, principles, and morals as the rest of mankind.
It's my understanding that our goal in Afghanistan is to prepare the Afghans to resist the return of the Taliban to power. The problem is that the Taliban is simply one component of a very sick and perverted culture and whichever component of this culture winds up in power will be no better than the Taliban.
The following story tells of very tragic loss of a young Marine, needlessly placed in harms' way and sent on fool's errand.