Friday, July 3, 2009

Afghanistan - What's the point?

I noticed that Afghanistan has finally nudged its way to the forefront of the news here because of the big offensive to clear the Taliban out of the southern part of the country. It's got me a bit riled up. The whole Afghanistan thing has me riled up because it makes me wonder if anyone responsible for military strategy has ever bothered to read a history book.

'Outsiders' have been trying to interfere in Afghanistan for centuries and have failed dismally. Regiments have been slaughtered wholesale and the bones of British or Russian soldiers from centuries past are buried in the dust there. The big mistake has always been the assumption that, because it's defined by lines on a map, that it is a single isn't. The area has always been a mish-mash of tribal conflict, warlords, intrigue, backstabbing, wholesale slaughter. No one has ever succeeded in conquering Afghanistan. Get that? Good.

I can understand the 'eye for an eye' sentiment that sent foreign troops into Afghanistan back in 2001. I thought it was a bad idea at the time and I still think it's a bad idea. It breaks my heart when I read of British and US soldiers being blown up by IEDs and ambushed by insurgents because it doesn't achieve anything. For every insurgent leader killed, another will rise in their place. It's the way it is in Afghanistan. Foreign armies will never get a grip on the place, they will never subdue it.

Read the history books, get the point, get the hell out and leave the tribes to sort it out between themselves. The sacrifice isn't worth it.

End of rant. As you were.

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