Monday, December 29, 2008

American Empire: Afghanistan pt 1 Historical Perspective

The Coming Surge Into Afghanistan: Obama and the Graveyard of Empires | The Smirking Chimp:
"an honor roll of would-be conquerors from Alexander the Great in the third century BCE to the British in the nineteenth century defeat the hardy, fiercely independent Afghan tribesmen."

"...Soviet troops peaking at over 100,000 in 1987, with the advantage of supply lines from the immediately neighboring USSR, and including numerous ethnic Uzbeks and Tajiks who could speak local languages and had some understanding of local culture, could not repress the rag-tag CIA-supplied guerrillas and secure control of the country."

"...Louis Dupree, the premier historian of Afghanistan, attributed the 'British disaster' of 1878-81 to four 'mistakes': the occupation of Afghan territory by foreign troops, the placing of an unpopular ruler in power, harsh acts committed against local enemies, and paltry subsidies paid to local allies. 'The United States would be wise to consider them today,' he concluded."

"...Does Obama, often described as lacking knowledge of foreign affairs, and praised (by all the wrong people) for reaching out to (all the wrong) "experienced" foreign policy wonks, really believe that he can succeed in Afghanistan where so many others have failed?"

"...the blood and treasure spilt in Afghanistan was a key factor in the collapse of the once-mighty Soviet Union. As Obama orders his troops into that graveyard, how will the (US)empire, reeling from crises unprecedented in many decades, respond? As the candidate of change and hope becomes the commander in chief of an escalating expanding war, how will his antiwar supporters rethink their politics?"

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