Saturday, September 15, 2012

History or the past can teach us very many lessons if we would only refer to mistakes found and corrected. It is all about remembering and not forgetting past battles brave men have fought on whatever side. Afghanistan is one of those places we should have refrained from fighting with according to the history of battles with that place. Yes, we just passed yet another September 11th that will forever be a reminder of the disaster in the middle of one of the most productive cities in the world, New York City. Yet, currently rising in the very place where the towers collapsed is a building that when finished will be the tallest building in America.
We need to go as far back as 93 years ago when Afghanistan won its Independence from Great Britain in 1919. It was an historic turn around that echoes to current times. Even then they never wore a military uniform, just a turban and a gun. Beginning in 1838 Britain had fought three wars trying to take control of Afghanistan; wars that left their scars on British politics and popular culture. In the Sherlock Holmes stories, Dr. Watson was a wounded Veteran of the second Afghan War of 1880. Ok, they are really old stories but Robert Downey Jr. is a rich actor again because of that story.
Rudyard Kipling wrote the book The Man Who Would Be King in 1888 and told the story of two rich British soldiers who tried to set themselves as rulers of an remote Afghan region. The story was also told in a movie in 1975 starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine and Christopher Plummer all still great actors today. A great quote from the movie is when Sean Connery tries to get these nomadic people to line up in formation like a proud starched British soldier and says,” When we are done with you, you will be able to stand up and slaughter your enemies like civilized men.”
The movie did not end well and neither did the attempts by Britain end well. In the decades that followed Afghan Independence, the country had plenty of its own wars amongst themselves. There was the Soviet invasion of 1979 where the United States backed the Afghans against the Soviets. Then there was the victory of the Islamic Taliban in 1998. Then the American invasion came to oust Alkaida in 2001. It is a battle that goes on till today and who knows how many tomorrows.
Meanwhile , in June 2011,Obama said, “It is time to focus on nation building here at home .” Well, as of now the United States and its NATO allies plan to withdraw most of their troops by 2014. This comes nearly a century after the Afghans celebrated its independence. History on the latest’s intervention is yet to be made. But back in Britain many people still remember the words of the mid 20th Century Prime Minister Harold McMillian. Rule number one in politics he said, Never invade Afghanistan.”
This week our embassy was taken over by the people of the middle east . Our diplomats were murdered. How did this possibly happen if we have been at war with these people for the last 12 years? Our military might is the greatest in the world. The nearest country that comes close to American military might is 1/16th of our power. The amount of state of the art sophisticated weapons is unmatched by anyone. They don’t even have anything that comes close to comparing to a possible onslaught from the United States.
So, who is at fault? Where do we go as a safe haven anymore abroad if our embassies and our diplomats are left unprotected? We should just learn from history that Afghanistan is a tough place and has seen more war and destruction that peace and prosperity. All they have left is their religion and when even a stupid You Tube clip infuriates them they will fight with all their might.

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