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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Intractable Afghanistan -- 2

I have a close friend who in 2001 worked for a company in Arlington, Virginia. On the morning of September 11, he happened to be on his way to work when he saw either the airliner striking the Pentagon or the flames and smoke immediately afterward, and when I told him that I didn't think the subsequent Bush invasion of Afghanistan was a good idea, he strongly disagreed.

That disapproval is still my stand, and I had and continued to have several reasons, even though I know that, as usual, I am way out of step with my friend and with the great majority of Americans, even progressives. For them the virtue of the invasion is gospel.

My main reason was my fear of what I call the "Vietnam Effect" and later the "Cambodia Syndrome." I anticipated that the invasion would mainly bring disaster to the millions of Afghanis who had nothing to do with the airline hijackers.

Another was my awareness of how, with so much in their favor, the Russians, who just a few decades earlier had decisively turned back one of the mightiest war machines ever assembled, the Germans of WW2, had gotten so badly bogged down in much smaller Afghanistan that eventually they had had to turn tail and run back home, badly beaten by the Afghani shooters and terrain. And before them, on three separate incursions going back to the 19th Century, the British, then a powerful entity, had likewise been roundly ejected.

I didn't think the Bush regime had any hope of doing better, and one evidence of that is that now, five years later, NATO, on whom the Bushers have pushed off the task of finishing the Afghanistan job, are now saying that it will be at least five more years before that country is at last "pacified."

I don't see how they can be anything but wrong in that estimate also.

Meanwhile, with help coming only from Britain and Canada, the Bushies are angry with the rest of the NATO countries, whose enthusiasm for beating down the hostiles in Afghanistan has been lukewarm at best.

I guess the leaders of those reluctants are not as ignorant of the famous Santayana dictum as are those of the U.K. and the U.S.

Why are the leaders of those two countries along with Canada so interested in being embroiled in Afghanistan?

The British probably have in mind the settling of old scores, while the Canadians are most likely acting mainly out of the goodness of their hearts. As for the Bushies, having grabbed the tiger by the tail, they have no choice but to try to continue to be seen as wrestling the beast to the ground, though they have no real prospects of doing so.


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