Comments on: In Afghanistan, history rhymes Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:57:19 +0000 hourly 1 By: pakistan Fri, 02 Jul 2010 18:16:11 +0000 The sad part of the story is that the Afghans have never in their history had such a weak military intrusion in their land. Perhaps a general with prostrate cancer can turn the events around in favour of the invaders. the old general is also the first who received appreciation from the enemy. No wonder how could he work and take orders from the clowns?
Rex Minor

By: coyotle Fri, 02 Jul 2010 12:01:59 +0000 Samuel Clemens also stated “What we learn from History is that we learn absolutely nothing from History.” Do Alexander, Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. ring a bell?

By: HBC Thu, 01 Jul 2010 03:58:27 +0000 The adage “never start a war you can’t end” applies only to wars with a chance of being won. And it’s old school, only for people with a common cause, a winning attitude and a greater desire for living than death.

The school now in session is about setting loose wars that can only last and last, seemingly, forever. Those who start and fund – more precisely, invest in selling materiel for – America’s numerous failed modern wars aren’t the ones fighting them. They’re the ones laughing all the way to the bank – louder, the longer the wars last.

Afghanistan is just such a case in point. It should never have been started to begin with, so don’t bother even trying to reason why. The longer it lasts, the worse it keeps getting, and the hollower its proponents’ excuses.

By: Rumphius Wed, 30 Jun 2010 20:11:28 +0000 Hi Mr Debusmann,

Thank you for your reply.

In the Afghan context, I am not sure what constitutes a “legitimate” government, but I believe that local/tribal/regional governance bodies that work fairly (from the Afghan cultural perspective) for the people they represent has been in place for centuries. So might it be sufficient for a limited national (confederation? federal?) government to be able to better communicate with the regional governing bodies, serve as an honest broker in determining shared interests, promote the “common good” in commerce/resource distribution, and coordinate the common defense of all Afghans? If so, some near future version of the Karzai government, minus the corruption, plus more communication and better regional representation, might give nation building a chance. Such a government might not be “legitimate”, but it could be effective.

At any rate, if the US policy acknowledges that that there is no military solution, and instead uses military action as a means to shield nation building work from the violence of the Taliban and other radical extremist groups, we will leave the path of prior history (i.e. the British empire or the Soviet invasion). I can’t predict if this would be enough, but it can be a new history.

It is also possible that a significant majority of the Afghan people might regain hope and seize the chance to save their children from the years of war and destruction that they have suffered. The Afghan people have plenty of good reasons to not trust the US to stay, but the years of Taliban rule were not well liked by the majority of the Afghan people. And contrary to comments above, the vast majority of the Afghan people are not driven by hate, any more than the hard working, well intentioned US service people are. I thank the US military for their professionalism, and for representing our country so well.

Sorry for my long winded comments and questions. I just fear that a “bug-out” strategy will have the US back in Afghanistan around 2020, but under even more terrible circumstances. I think the lowest cost solution is to keep trying. Let’s not put this problem on our kids too!

By: txgadfly Wed, 30 Jun 2010 17:56:02 +0000 Out of Afghanistan now. No more collaboration with the heroin dealers of the “Northern Alliance”. Hey, we cannot maintain freedom in our own country, which we presume to understand better than we do Afghanistan.

By: BDebusmann Wed, 30 Jun 2010 14:24:55 +0000 Rumphius: To quote Petraeus, I don’t have a crystal ball. But I’m pretty sure there will be no substantial withdrawal in the next year or two. I also think that the present counterinsurgency strategy (or nation-building exercise) has very little chance of succeeding in the absence of a legitimate Afghan government.

By: Benny_Acosta Wed, 30 Jun 2010 13:36:20 +0000 what we see in Afghanistan is a small reflection of what is happening in the rest of the world. The tribes there hate each other. And each fights constantly to hold power over the other.

This is how it is all over the world. We hate each other. We seek constantly to hold power over others and use them for our own purposes. No one that has ever invaded that country has ever had any intentions that were favorable to the native people. That includes us. Before any changes can be made, we have to get passed this hate that we all have for each other. We have to view the other as part of ourselves and accept that. Then we can improve our situation. But not before. And our suffering will only continue until we realize this and change.

By: Rumphius Wed, 30 Jun 2010 13:02:56 +0000 Hi Oldba,

I agree with your goals to minimize the cost in lives and money, I just do not believe these goals can be achieved longer term through the “bug-out” strategy being proposed in this article, or in the majority of comments.

Recent history tells us that two US presidents (Reagan and Bush II) got the US involved in Afghanistan, presumably to address “vital American interests.” Many Afghans and historians believe that the way the US left (abandoned?) Afghanistan after our first involvement in part enabled the subsequent rise of the Taliban. I ask you to consider the possibility that the “bug-out” strategy may result in history repeating itself, and trigger more undesirable outcomes. Perhaps even the nightmare scenario I describe in earlier postings.

If you are looking for reasons to hope for a better future for Afghanistan, and US prospects of avoiding history repeating itself, know that the *vast majority* of Afghans love their children and are tired of war (just like us). Know that they are desperate for ways to feed, and care for their families (just like us). Know that they would welcome culturally appropriate help recovering from the ravages of war and violence. It is not the people of Afghanistan we need fear, but ignorance and want.

Mr Debusmann, would you care to comment on what you think will happen in 2020 or 2025 if the US gives up and leaves Afghanistan in the next year or two? Any downside risks/costs that the US should worry about in the 10-20 year time frame with this “bug-out” strategy? Or is it all peaches and cream?

By: Chip_H Wed, 30 Jun 2010 07:56:00 +0000 As long as the PNACs and GWOTs pull the puppet strings
of the Mad Hatters McCain, Lieberman and Graham on SAFS,
and as long as Congress declares this a ‘contingency
action’ and not a ‘war’, with the $160 billion a year in
so-called ’emergency funding’ nee unfunded Fed deficit,
the American people can march in circles and rooty-toot-
toot, the war merchants in WADC don’t give a gosh darn.
$160B a year is the most profitable Corp since time began.

By: oldba Wed, 30 Jun 2010 02:53:00 +0000 Bring US army back home, This war is endless and worth nothing only cost our lives and money to make more enemy or terrolists.