Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Afghan War enters 10th Year

The U.S. took an elephant gun to shoot a flea ! ! !

Another look at the Afghanistan War

The New Year of 2011 has us entering the tenth year of the U.S. military blitzkrieg-like invasion of Afghanistan continues to be a curse with no light at the end of the tunnel. The high cost in lives and borrowed money is obscene. Enough is more than enough!

The on and off forays to free a village or a valley against the Pakistan and Afghanistan Talibans only make the locals more upset with our being there. The corruption on all sides is as normal as a walk in the park.

To make these far-away peoples and their trials more human to me I went through some dusty old books for a mental trek of Central Asia. By understanding a small portion of the past they become more real to me. This present conflagration must end long before President Obama’s summer of 2014. If not, the next president might extend it to 2024.

The Central Asian experience has not made its way into Western school studies. Little of its history and literature are known in American schools except for specialists, linguist and scholars. Only in the last few years have modern translations of ancient and modern “stans” poetry become available in English.

Present-day Afghanistan and Pakistan are the best known of the six “stans” in Central Asia: Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan (formerly Russian Turkistan). In the 1800s there was a Chinese Turkistan that is now the Xinjiang Autonomous Region of western China.

Afghanistan had been the center of great empires ruled by foreigners and numerous tribal monarchies. Such a history magnifies today’s difficulties of tribal differences, dialects and thought processes. Add into that mix foreign armies and total chaos results.

Afghans are Indo-Iranian, possibly originally Tajiks of the Persian race. The area only became a separate and independent state named in English by colonists as Afghanistan in 1747.

Less than three hundred years before Christ, Alexander the Great came on the scene and changed that world with his conquests. From Egypt to Persia and India he led in the eventual foundation of Greek dynasties. His Greek influence in Afghanistan waned and the Parthians arose to power and adopted the Buddhist religion.

During the 6th century the Moghul Empire out of India divided Afghanistan in two parts, India ruling Kabul and the Persians held the province of Heart.

The Arabs of the 7th century had their day in the spotlight before various Indian despots ruled much of the area. In between were the Turks and Persians who took several swings at being the potentiate. To use a poor analogy, no one got a home run.

In the 13th century the people probably thought the end of the world had arrived. The Mongols of Genghis Khan invaded most of Central Asia on their way to a bloody world conquest.

In the 19th century Great Britain was the world’s only super power. They lost to no one in their day. When it came to Afghanistan they had the ignoble honor of being massacred and driven from the country.

The last days of 1979 the Russian Soviets invaded Afghanistan attempting to make it another of their subservient satellites. Ten years could not control the Afghans and was a major reason the Soviet Union came to an end.

This is where the movie “Charlie Wilson’s War” comes into the picture. Fiction, with a few facts, it reminded us of some of the background of how the United States got involved in Afghanistan’s war with the Soviet Union. The U.S. sent money and supplies to our present enemies, which helped throw out the Soviets.

When in early October, 2001, the U.S. military, to get revenge and justice for Osama bin Laden’s crimes against humanity, began bombing the caves and valleys of Afghanistan. We took an elephant gun to shoot a flea.

Our leaving the battlefield will definitely bring on a civil war that will kill hundreds of thousands. That will happen if we leave now or fifty years from now. My study tells me Enough is ENOUGH.


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