Wednesday, November 18, 2009
The Ongoing Saga of Afghanistan
Recently,former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski chaired RAND Corporation's Middle East Advisory Board, and he had some choice remarks that do not exactly exude optimism. He stated clearly, Withdrawal is not in the range of policy options. Brzezinski then noted that within three months the war in Afghanistan will be the "longest war in US history," and warned that the U.S. could be "bogged down there for another decade or so." At the same time, he argued, the world impact of an early US departure "would be utterly devastating."
November 14, 2009 at 23:35:59
For OpEdNews: Sandy Shanks - Writer
Due to recent reports, for those still clinging to the forlorn hope that America's military involvement in Afghanistan would end reasonably soon, such hope has turned to despair. Perhaps some Americans, those interested in literature at any rate, will recall the poetic words of an Englishman named Rudyard Kipling.
It is not wise for the Christian white
To hustle the Asian brown;
For the Christian riles
And the Asian smiles
And weareth the Christian down.
At the end of the fight
Lies a tombstone white
With the name of the late deceased;
And the epitaph drear,
A fool lies here,
Who tried to hustle the East.
One might think that Kipling was prescient; perhaps so, perhaps not. For over eighty years, from 1838 to 1919, Britain attempted to subdue Afghanistan.This effort resulted in abject failure. One particular engagement is telling. In Jan. 1842 at a place called Khurd Kabul, a mountain pass, a British army of 4,500 soldiers was slaughtered. There was one lone survivor who lived to tell the tale, a doctor named William Brydon. Several years later Kipling wrote his poem.
On Dec. 24, 1979, the Soviet Union tried to tame Afghanistan. Over eight years later, the Red Army withdrew in defeat. In 1991, a little over two years after the embarrassing withdrawal, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. U.S. involvement in the war in Afghanistan has now lasted over eight years.
There are Americans who are concerned about this most recent past. There are Americans who are concerned about the continued killing and wounding of our treasured troops and ask why. There is virtually nothing in the dirt-poor, resourceless, and strategically impotent Afghanistan that has anything worth dying for, save for a mythical pipeline that no corporation in its right mind would build due to the volatility of the area, which has existed for centuries. Afghanistan is a tribal society with a culture that lives by the gun. That said, recent headlines fills one with despair.
Nick Turse of Tom Dispatch provided news you are not going to hear on the MSN. To many, it was revealing and disconcerting. It would appear that the infrastructure boom that many expected when Obama took office is happening. Unfortunately, it is not happening in the U.S. It is happening in Afghanistan, and the goal is military infrastructure. Turse states, "While the United States officially insists that it is not setting up permanent bases in Afghanistan, the scale and permanency of the construction underway at Bagram seems to suggest, at the least, a very long stay. According to published reports, in fact, the new terminal facilities for the complex aren't even slated to be operational until 2011."
The rest of the story...