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Its not just the geography and topography that is different.  The politics surrounding the conflict are also different.  Here in the United States there are similarities.  However, in Afghanistan and Pakistan they are far different.

The most obvious difference is that there is no China/Russia supplying insurgency.  However, that is only a minor difference in understanding why you should not look to either war to understand what is happening in Afghanistan.  The biggest difference is that Viet Nam was one of, if not the, last of the Colonial war.  Afghanistan is one of the, and possibly, last of the Cold War wars.

Just as the Colonial war that was Viet Nam morphed into a proxy for the Cold War.  So to has the Cold War war that was Afghanistan morphed into a proxy for whatever the conglomeration of political struggles currently most often referred to as the 'War on Terrorism'.  I put it that way because I don't think that is what its final title will be.

Afghanistan has historically been referred to as "The Graveyard of Empires."  Where that has great poetic form.  It isn't the actual truth.  No "Empire" collapsed directly because they attacked Afghanistan.

Alexander the Great's Greek empire collapsed because Alexander the Great died and it was an empire that was built upon his personality not because his last expansion drive started to attack the region just prior to his death.  Persia invaded region repeatedly and collapsed only when invaded by greater empires, like Alexander's or Britain's.  England's and other European colonial empires were already winding down and splintering off with little to do with forays into Afghanistan and far more to do with reprecussions of WW I and WW II.  The Soviet Union's economy was well on the road to collapse prior to its invasion of Afghanistan and just as Nationalism due to being at war masked some inherent civil unhappiness of the United States post 9/11, invading Afghanistan could well be argued to have allowed the USSR to have added 3-5 years to its life span.

Also, Viet Nam and Iraq Wars have another major difference with Afghanistan.  Organisations protected by the ruling government of Afghanistan attacked the United States with naked aggression.  All countries have the right to defend themselves and counter-attack nations that aid and succor organisations that use deadly force upon a large segment of its population.  I don't recall Al Queda or the Taliban surrendering or even attempting to negotiate a cease fire with the United States.  Until such actions occur, the United States is still at war with them.  Even if they are in exile and has every right to prevent them from re-entering the country they were expuled from.

Originally posted to Tempus Figits on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:52 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimball Cross, MichaelNY, James Allen

    A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

    by Tempus Figits on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 10:52:58 PM PDT

    •  Actually there's some evidence (4+ / 0-)

      that the Taliban offered to deal with the Bush administration (to hand over al Qaeda) after the invasion was threatened.

      -5.63, -8.10. Learn about Duverger's Law.

      by neroden on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:18:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I recall Al Qaida did propose a ceasefire (8+ / 0-)

      on certain conditions. Of course, the U.S. was unwilling to agree to the conditions.

      I think the reason Afghanistan is called the "Graveyard of Empires" isn't because it causes empires to fall, but because it is notoriously hard to conquer and hold and tends to bleed invading armies badly.

      •  It's tended to be the high-water mark of (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koNko, MichaelNY

        several different Empires expansions.

        Mostly because by the time you get around to bothering with trying to subdue Afghanistan, your Military is really, really extended.

        Crush the Horror.

        by JesseCW on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 02:16:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW

          Which is my point on it.  For a few 'Empires' it was the high water mark and that is merely a historical coincidence not a causal.  There were plenty of 'Empires' that went through and never had any significant problems because it was part of the vibrant youth of the 'Empire' rather than part of its last gasps.

          A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

          by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:08:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  A thinly veiled demand for surrender... (0+ / 0-)

        by the losing side of a conflict is hardly a call for a cease fire.  Propoganda is not diplomacy.

        Historically, as to the 'Graveyard of Empires', it has been a logistics issue.  A problem that our troops do not seriously have.  It is simple romanticism.  

        Also, from a pure Geo-Political perspective.  It has never been the purpose of the United States to absorb Afghanistan.  Iraq is far more in danger tha Afghanistan is, who's power came from being the necessary cross road for east and west Asia.  A factor that is no longer relevant in today's economy.

        The theoretical oil pipeline is already moot as others have been built and securing it would be a near impossibility for the percieved future of oil being a fuel source.  Agian, nice romanticism but not one of reality.

        A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

        by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:06:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Have you told the wounded and the dead? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koNko

      Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

      by Clem Yeobright on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:16:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Who is the US at war with? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      revsue, Clem Yeobright, ratador, JesseCW

      Al Queda? The Taliban? The Afghan people?

      If the first, I don't see what this war will accomplish since Al Queds is a diffuse, global organization and not concentrated in Afghanistan.

      I think you miss the point of comparrison with Vietnam: a prolonged war with poorly defined objectives, a failing strategy and no end in sight.

      Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

      by koNko on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 05:11:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Al Queda's leadership... (0+ / 0-)

        is rooted in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  Statements ignoring this fact and trying to indict the entire culture of Islam are disengenuous at best.

        The Afghan people prefer the U.S. and NATO over either the Taliban or their current corrupt government.  Independent polling cooroborates that.  What they want is for a stable internal entity that will keep the peace and otherwise leave them alone.  Since none of the internal players are likeily to be able to provide that, they want NATO and the U.S. to create an environment that will foster it.  Is that a feasible outcome?  Possibly, possibly not.  However, that isn't what you are discussing.

        As to Al Queda being a diffuse and global organization.  That isn't true when it comes to the purse strings and from whence its ideological focus point resides.  Throughout the Iraq war, it was correctly argued that going into Iraq was a distraction.  That it diverted attention and resources from what should have been the locus.  

        Now that Obama IS focusing upon Afghanistan and Al Queda.  Now that Obama IS working on repairing the mess that Afghanistan became because of the previous Administration's bungling.  You are acting like he is responsible that his predecessor had the strategic understanding of Caligula being advised by Vlad the Impaler.  Again, that is disengenous.  Your objection is to any war, not just this war.  Your reasoning is spurious at best for reasons why it should not be fought because in your world view there isn't a reason to ever have one in the first place.  That, atleast, is the reasoning you are presenting.

        A better analogy than Viet Nam for the psuedo logic you are presenting would be the CIA's Central American Bannana Republic proxy wars and its Columbian Coke Wars.

        A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

        by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 02:56:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you just make up the rest of your life too? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koNko

          AQ's leadership is rooted in Saudi Arabia.

          Ignorance isn't exactly bliss but some things are better known when they are unknown to start with and pieced together on the way. - WineRev

          by Clem Yeobright on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 04:37:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  More questions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Clem Yeobright

          So then, the goal is to eliminate Al Queda's leadership and the Taliban?

          Absent that you would leave the country in control of the Taliban and not accomplish what you suggest is the desire of the Afgan people, no?

          Where did the Taliban come from and what is the relationship to the Mujahedeen who defeated the Russians?

          You may consider why the US now entertains negotiating with the Taliban despite their appernt refusal to do so.

          The purse strings of Al Queda in the region are in Saudia Arabia not Afghanistan, would you enlarge the war to there?

          I suggest you rethink this. Fortunatelky Obama now seems to be doing that.

          George Bush was right about one thing; terrorism is a global enterprise and a global threat.

          I doubt a world war will solve the problem.

          Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

          by koNko on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 05:16:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Grayson (4+ / 0-)

    FOX potatoes watching their snooze NuZZZZ. Shhhh. They think its news.

    by 88kathy on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:07:31 PM PDT

  •  asdf (6+ / 0-)

    Alexander the Great's Greek empire collapsed because Alexander the Great died and it was an empire that was built upon his personality not because his last expansion drive started to attack the region just prior to his death.

    His death and the splintering of his empire occurred years after he invaded the area around Bactria, modern Afghanistan.  His successors held onto the territory with greater or lesser control for more years after that, but it's geographical position at the periphery of the more populous centers of the older powers (Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, Assyria) made it harder to control back then.  Local Hellenic rulers, not ruling from far away Persepolis, Babylon or Antioch, continued to rule there for a time after that.  Several cities in Afghanistan were named after Alexander, and Kandahar is still obviously descended from his name, like Iskanderun and other places in the world.  The notion that it is a vacuum which sucks the life force out of any empires which invade it is silly, as you have said.  Its more like Poland, which has traditionally been unstable because it has been invaded by so many outsiders, and is at a crossroad of cultures.

    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

    by James Allen on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:14:35 PM PDT

    •  Alexander's people were already facing revolt (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      metal prophet, koNko, nippersdad, JesseCW

      when he went into India, and his successors there did not have happy peaceful times.

      His successes in the AfPak region followed upon the extermination of rebellious populations and tribes. Then the forced marriage of terrified surviving peoples to those in his army too old, tired, or injured to go on to India. Both measures today are called "genocide."

      We can expect the same success as Alexander once we resolve to kill all the Pashtun, or at least enough to matter. They number in AfPak, what?, 40-50 million. Say a good 3 to 10 million might do the trick.

      The other people in Afghanistan number some more tens of millions, and likely the example of the Pashtun would pacify them. But if not...

      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:28:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would still never happen. Ties of (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pluto, koNko, Jerry Melton

        religion and culture will always outweigh any threat posed by outside forces. Tribal peoples are a whole lot tougher than we are and can easily outlast any efforts we choose to make militarily.

        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

        by nippersdad on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:31:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Afghanistan has never been conquered" is bullshi (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Tempus Figits

          t, which I believe is the point. Christ, the British controlled Afghanistan for at least 40 years leading up to WW I. They defeated Afghan armies in every meaningful encounter and installed a puppet government that lasted for decades.

          •  The British never controled Afghanistan (5+ / 0-)

            They controled a handfull of the Cities.

            Very, very different things.  Hell, most of the Cities are under our effective control right now.

            Being the Mayor of Kabul and/or Kandahar doesn't mean you're in "control".

            If it did, this war would have been over six years ago.

            Crush the Horror.

            by JesseCW on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 02:22:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wrong. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Tempus Figits

              http://en.wikipedia.org/...
              After tension between Russia and Britain in Europe ended with the June 1878 Congress of Berlin, Russia turned its attention to Central Asia. That same summer, Russia sent an uninvited diplomatic mission to Kabul. Sher Ali tried, but failed, to keep them out. Russian envoys arrived in Kabul on 22 July 1878 and on 14 August, the British demanded that Sher Ali accept a British mission too.

              The amir not only refused to receive a British mission but threatened to stop it if it were dispatched. Lord Lytton, the viceroy, ordered a diplomatic mission to set out for Kabul in September 1878 but the mission was turned back as it approached the eastern entrance of the Khyber Pass, triggering the Second Anglo-Afghan War. A British force of about 40,000 fighting men was distributed into military columns which penetrated Afghanistan at three different points. An alarmed Sher Ali attempted to appeal in person to the tsar for assistance, but unable to do so, he returned to Mazari Sharif, where he died on 21 February 1879.

              With British forces occupying much of the country, Sher Ali's son and successor, Mohammad Yaqub Khan, signed the Treaty of Gandamak in May 1879 to prevent a British invasion of the rest of the country. According to this agreement and in return for an annual subsidy and vague assurances of assistance in case of foreign aggression, Yaqub relinquished control of Afghan foreign affairs to the British. British representatives were installed in Kabul and other locations, British control was extended to the Khyber and Michni passes, and Afghanistan ceded various frontier areas and Quetta to Britain. The British army then withdrew. Soon afterwards, an uprising in Kabul led to the slaughter of Britain’s Resident in Kabul, Sir Pierre Cavagnari and his guards and staff on 3 September 1879, provoking the second phase of the Second Afghan War. Major General Sir Frederick Roberts led the Kabul Field Force over the Shutargardan Pass into central Afghanistan, defeated the Afghan Army at Char Asiab on 6 October 1879 and occupied Kabul. Ghazi Mohammad Jan Khan Wardak staged an uprising and attacked British forces near Kabul in the Siege of the Sherpur Cantonment in December 1879, but his defeat there resulted in the collapse of this rebellion.

              Yaqub Khan, suspected of complicity in the massacre of Cavagnari and his staff, was obliged to abdicate. The British considered a number of possible political settlements, including partitioning Afghanistan between multiple rulers or placing Yaqub's brother Ayub Khan on the throne, but ultimately decided to install his cousin Abdur Rahman Khan as emir instead. Ayub Khan, who had been serving as governor of Herat, rose in revolt, defeated a British detachment at the Battle of Maiwand in July 1880 and besieged Kandahar. Roberts then led the main British force from Kabul and decisively defeated Ayub Khan in September at the Battle of Kandahar, bringing his rebellion to an end. Abdur Rahman had confirmed the Treaty of Gandamak, leaving the British in control of the territories ceded by Yaqub Khan and ensuring British control of Afghanistan's foreign policy in exchange for protection and a subsidy. Abandoning the provocative policy of maintaining a British resident in Kabul, but having achieved all their other objectives, the British withdrew.

              The Iron Amir, 1880–1901

              Emir Abdur Rahman Khan (The Iron Amir) in 1897. As far as British interests were concerned, Abdur Rahman answered their prayers: a forceful, intelligent leader capable of welding his divided people into a state; and he was willing to accept limitations to his power imposed by British control of his country's foreign affairs and the British buffer state policy. His twenty-one-year reign was marked by efforts to modernize and establish control of the kingdom, whose boundaries were delineated by the two empires bordering it. Abdur Rahman turned his considerable energies to what evolved into the creation of the modern state of Afghanistan.

              He achieved this consolidation of Afghanistan in three ways. He suppressed various rebellions and followed up his victories with harsh punishment, execution, and deportation. He broke the stronghold of Pashtun tribes by forcibly transplanting them. He transplanted his most powerful Pashtun enemies, the Ghilzai, and other tribes from southern and south-central Afghanistan to areas north of the Hindu Kush with predominantly non-Pashtun populations. The last non-Muslim Afghans of Kafiristan north of Kabul were forcefully converted to Islam. Finally, he created a system of provincial governorates different from old tribal boundaries. Provincial governors had a great deal of power in local matters, and an army was placed at their disposal to enforce tax collection and suppress dissent. Abdur Rahman kept a close eye on these governors, however, by creating an effective intelligence system. During his reign, tribal organization began to erode as provincial government officials allowed land to change hands outside the traditional clan and tribal limits.

              •  You think this was a usefull counter-argument (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nippersdad

                how and why, captain block-quote?

                They never had effective control of more than a handfull of Passes and Cities.

                The copy-pasta you've pointelessly vomited doesn't counter that.

                Crush the Horror.

                by JesseCW on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 08:11:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Only effective on Planet Earth. (0+ / 0-)

                  Did you read it? The British defeated the Afghan armies repeatedly, controlled Afghan foreign policy, imposed the emir of their choice (one after the other), and exacted monetary tribute from Afghanistan--over a period of 40 to 50 years. The fact is, they had what they wanted in Afghanistan (which had no wealth to exploit): a buffer state between Russia and India (which included Pakistan).

                  I wonder, do you think Britain had "effective" control Of India in those days? Or of Scotland? Maybe you should define "effective control." Installing the government of their choice, controlling foreign policy and exacting tribute seems like a pretty good case for effective control. If you'r eon Earth, anyway.

      •  Other people in Afghanistan aren't (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimball Cross, koNko, Tempus Figits

        the problem.  They're our allies.  The Pashtun are the problem.  In Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas.

        And I don't know of their numbers in Pakistan, but no ethnic groups amount to "tens of millions" in Afghanistan.  Afghanistan, IIRC, isn't even in the range of 20-25 million people, and if it is, only barely.  I think it's more like 17-18 million.

        The real problem about Afghanistan has always been that it's been a large nation with harsh geographical features and sparse and widely distributed population.  It has only rarely had order and a legitimate political system, and doesn't really have the infrastructure or political culture that we need to achieve our goals.  If we want to achieve those goals, we need to build those things.  Killing people isn't enough, unless we're cool with genocide or at least ethnic cleansing, which we (here at kos, at least), generally are not cool with.

        Even then, trying to kill all of ones opponents still has only a partial success rate in history.

        "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

        by James Allen on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:44:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  you're kidding right (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pluto, JesseCW

          doesn't really have the infrastructure or political culture that we need to achieve our goals.

          You achieve your goals with the infrastructure or political structure you have, not the one you would want to have. The infrastructure in some country out
          there is only important insofar as it is important to
          our goals, and our goals are not improving its
          infrastructure.

          What is it with this idealism?

          •  I believe our goals necessitate a political (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            debedb, koNko

            culture in which the various ethnic and religious groups live together in peace, and the infrastructure is such that they can have a functioning economy and educational system.  They do not have that, and I do not see them as being capable of having that anytime soon.

            It has been part of our policy to try to improve the infrastructure, but we have not achieved enough to bring about the desired results.

            This does not necessitate more troops, or less troops, or any particular military policy in Afghanistan necessarily.  It necessitates engaging people and trying to help them help themselves.

            "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

            by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:05:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  ok (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright, James Allen

              I believe our goals necessitate a political
              culture in which the various ethnic and religious groups live together in peace

              In some cases it's conducive to our goals to have them live in strife.

              Our goals have nothing to do with how they live. Our goals are our goals. If they are accomplished easier through democracy in Afghanistan, fine. If they're accomplished easier through Afghanistan's status quo, fine. If it's cheaper to create strife where there was none before, fine too.

          •  What are the goals? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JesseCW

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 05:15:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  An estimate of the population (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Jerry Melton, James Allen

          CIA World Factbook 2008 Afghanistan

           Population:
          28.396 million (July 2009 est.)
          country comparison to the world: 44
          note: this is a significantly revised figure; the previous estimate of 33,609,937 was extrapolated from the last Afghan census held in 1979, which was never completed because of the Soviet invasion; a new Afghan census is scheduled to take place in 2010

          (Just trying to give you all something to work with)

          The beatings will continue until morale improves. -8.50, -6.92

          by ferallike on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:52:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  no freakin'way. (0+ / 0-)

            Admittedly, I was going off of what I remembered from 2000-01, but it's still not at the point where multiple ethnic groups have tens of millions of people each, which was my point.

            "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

            by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:01:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Clem Yeobright, Jim P

              Look, "I was wrong and should have checked my facts" isn't that hard a sentence to write.

              Heck, I've done it myself once or twice :)

              Afgahnistan is 40-45% Pashtu.  Do the math.  You're wrong.

              They're effectively half the population, and saying "The Pashtun are the problem" is like saying "All we have to deal with in Texas are the non-hispanic whites".

              Crush the Horror.

              by JesseCW on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 02:26:57 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I was more right than wrong, (0+ / 0-)

                and the "no freakin' way" is not a denial.

                The point was that multiple ethnic groups in Afghanistan do not have tens of millions of people.

                And I concede that the Pashtun are 40-45% of the population.  I said that in a different comment.  Doesn't make it any less true that they, and not Afghanistan as a whole, are the problem.

                "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

                by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 05:00:42 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  But the Pashtun are also in Pakistan and by (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright, JesseCW, James Allen

            all accounts see that as their true nation, not the Brit engineered ones. So the number of Pashtun is around 42 million, last I checked.

            Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

            by Jim P on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:14:45 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And I think in the end (0+ / 0-)

              it might be wiser to give them their own nation, which would stabilize the rest of Afghanistan and Pakistan.  But that Pashtun nation would have prospects about as bright as Somalia.

              "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

              by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:16:04 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Read "The Great Gamble" to see what (4+ / 0-)

          the Soviets tried, and which we are literally trying again. The Soviets were much more vicious than we were, but all the strategies that we've tried and that have recently been announced as new have already failed completely.

          Bottom line, we're strangers with guns in their home. Nothing's going to change the way people feel about that. There's talk of buying off the Taliban, but in the real world they'll take our money, and then take the money of their kin to kill the interlopers at the same time. That's how they've always done war and business.

          btw, There's 28 million people in Afghanistan, but about 200,000,000 in Pakistan. Of which about 40 to 50 million, in the 2 nations, are Pashtun. I think the Afghani portion of that is 4 or 5 million.

          Plus, it's not just the Taliban that are against us there.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:25:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I appreciate your take in the Pashtun, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jim P

            who are probably more like 12 or so million in Afghanistan (IIRC, they're like 40% or more of the population).  The rest of Afghanistan is largely fine with us, because we're not killing many of them, we're mostly killing the Pashtun.  They don't like the Pashtun.

            "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

            by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:32:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's far from true, as well (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Jim P

              Most of the rest of Afghanistan is worried that we'll go after their Opium and/or Marijuana if we ever get a handle on the Pashtun resistance.

              Well, those who aren't already resisting us themselves, as more and more Tajiks are.

              Crush the Horror.

              by JesseCW on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 02:33:07 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Afghanistan: For Rent, Not For Sale. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Clem Yeobright, JesseCW

            And multiple tennants live in the building.

            Ask me about my daughter's future - Ko

            by koNko on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 05:34:41 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, if I recall correctly, it splintered (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jerry Melton

      immediately upon his death; it was broken up among his generals. The one(s) who ended up with Afghanistan were more interested in Persia and India. The trade routes later so coveted by the Mongols, Russians and Britons did not become active until the silk route came into existence to supply Roman markets a thousand years later.

      Afghanistan was a backwater no one wanted at that point.

      A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

      by nippersdad on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:39:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, the empire splintered upon his death, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nippersdad

        but he died years after his conquest of Afghanistan.

        "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

        by James Allen on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:44:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The man lived to be thirty five and only left (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ferallike, JesseCW, James Allen

          Macedonia around twenty. I know he died in Persia after the India rout, but that can't have been all that long.

          You are going to make me reread my High school books, aren't you? At my age that is just cruel. ;D

          A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

          by nippersdad on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:49:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  It was years. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nippersdad, Jerry Melton

            And he died in Babylon.

            His conquest of the region of old empires (Anatolia, the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Persia proper) was only about 4 years years.  That was the easy part.  He then spent about 3 or 4 years taking central Asia, a couple around the Indus river, and a last on his return trip and stay in Babylon, where he died at 32 years of age.

            "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

            by James Allen on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:58:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Kudos on your excellent memory! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              James Allen

              However, Babylon was part of Darius' persian empire, was it not? Modern day "Persia" is much smaller than the region Alexander took.

              A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

              by nippersdad on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:07:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's in the middle of Mesopotamia, (0+ / 0-)

                which was west of Persia proper, but part of the Persian Empire.  So saying it was part of Persia would be like saying Egypt or Israel was part of Persia.  Persia proper was specifically a region in SW of modern Iran, in the area of Persepolis.  Interestingly, I've heard the Medeans, the first "Persian" regional power, according to the Greeks, may in fact be known today as the Kurds.  No idea if its true, but the Kurds, like the Persians, and unlike most of the other people of the region, are Indo-European, rather than Semitic or Turkic.

                "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

                by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:14:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  O.K., now you have to pay for making (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  James Allen

                  me feel senile. Pull up the map on Wikipedia for the Achaeminid Empire under Darius I.

                  I'll give you a mulligan if you so choose.

                  A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                  by nippersdad on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:29:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  the area in the south of modern Iran, (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    nippersdad

                    Persis, is traditional Persia proper, the homeland of the Parsi.  Other regions on the map which are included in modern Iran are Media, homeland of the Medeans, and Parthia, homeland of the Parthians, each of whom also ruled a "Persian" Empire at one point in history.  The Medeans were before Cyrus, the Parthians after Seleucus.

                    That Babylon was part of the empire of the Persians does not make it part of Persia, just like Thrace, Israel, Bactria and Egypt are not part of Persia just because they were once part of an Empire ruled by Persians.

                    "Intolerance is something which belongs to the religions we have rejected." - J.J. Rousseau

                    by James Allen on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:39:45 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I get your distinction, but I sincerely doubt (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW, James Allen

                      that the Greeks who had to deal with Darius would have seen it the same way. They would have been considered subdivisions of a larger Persia at that time. So, in essence, it would be saying that Mesopotamia, like Egypt and the Levant, were part of Persia. Alexander would have considered them regions in his day and his Empire was divided up on those lines by his surviving generals.

                      Mercia is a former kingdom within Britain proper, but no one doubts that it is a rational part of the British Empire today. Provence, Bavaria, Florence, this is a common occurrence in melded countires. I'm pretty sure that Alexander (and certainly Darius) would have viewed Persia in much the same way.

                      A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

                      by nippersdad on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:50:10 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

      •  the silk road wasn't to satisfy roman markets (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nippersdad, JesseCW

        it was merely one node upon the network. in fact, historically a better case can be made for the consumer markets of china and india, and later the middle east, than those of rome and parts west.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 01:09:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Another person who doesn't know why we (7+ / 0-)

    are really in Afghanistan.  Number 250,500,697

  •  Another big difference is that there are a lot (9+ / 0-)

    fewer VietNamese in Afghanistan.

    Organisations protected by the ruling government of Afghanistan attacked the United States with naked aggression.  All countries have the right to defend themselves and counter-attack nations that aid and succor organisations that use deadly force upon a large segment of its population.

    AQ was not protected by Afghanistan, you make them sound like a modern state replete with a well funded standing army. Afghanistan was a failed state, ruled by petty warlords using the Taliban as enforcers. As such, they had no ability to protect the vastly better armed and trained AQ. This was a patently transparent excuse indulged in by the Bush Administration to so that George could play with his new supply of army men.

    I don't recall Al Queda or the Taliban surrendering or even attempting to negotiate a cease fire with the United States.

    AQ is not a state actor and could not declare an actual cease fire if it wanted to. Given that what they wanted was for the U.S. to prove their point that the U.S. was a bully, what would their motivation have been to do so, anyway? They are succeeding beyond their wildest dreams!

    Afghanistan had no central authority from which to fight which could have asked for a cease fire. This is just silly. So this:

    I don't recall Al Queda or the Taliban surrendering or even attempting to negotiate a cease fire with the United States.  Until such actions occur, the United States is still at war with them.  Even if they are in exile and has every right to prevent them from re-entering the country they were expuled from.

    is pretty much a bald excuse to continue a war of aggression against the native population with no end in sight. Why you would want to is an entirely different question.

    A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

    by nippersdad on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:28:27 PM PDT

    •  Your right. (0+ / 0-)

      When you bring up that a population supplies material support for people that have bombed and are planning to continue bombing American and other countries' cities is simply a bald face excuse for a war of agression.  

      Prior to invasion Afghanistan was not a failed state.  It may have been impoverished.  But by your definition, Cuba is a failed state.  Burma is a failed state.  North Korea is a failed state.  Franco's Spain was a failed state.

      A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

      by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:27:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not atr all. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        Cuba, Burma, North Korea and Franco's Spain were and are all in full control of their borders and inhabitants. They all had and have strong central governments and all policy making goes through them. Afghanistan stood in stark contrast to every example you cited in these respects. Wealth is not a measure of political effectiveness.

        Further, one could make a case that the inhabitants of Palm Beach Florida supplied material support to the high jacker that lived there prior to 9/11. I don't suppose you are suggesting we drop daisy cutters on them to prevent any potential future collusion, are you?

        If you want make sarcastic rejoinders, better rationales will need to be used.

        A Republican is someone who can't enjoy his privileged position unless he is certain that somewhere, someone is in excruciating agony. I Love OCD

        by nippersdad on Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 11:53:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  but still, LET'S GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE! (10+ / 0-)

    we need to stop this imperialist bullshit.

    Protest Olmert Oct 22, San Francisco

    by Tom J on Wed Oct 28, 2009 at 11:32:12 PM PDT

  •  Afghanistan is not (0+ / 0-)

    Vietnam. It is way worse. The terrain is way worse. The climate is way worse( In few weeks, US forces will have to suspend most operations for 3-4 months because extremely cold weather and rough terrains don't mix very well). Afghanistan is one of the three most poor countries in the world. The literacy is non-existent. They don't have an economy, no civic infrastructure and no agriculture to speak of. Most Afghans have been born into war and they don;t know any other kind of existence. Taliban have fused with Pashtun tribal culture in ways that adding few thousand more troops won't matter in the least. I know US generals are thinking of using bribes but even those are unlikely to work with Taliban. Pakistan tried making deal with Taliban and within months Taliban were there on the doorstep of Islamabad.

      I still believe that of all the options on the table McChrystal has the best idea and I'm pretty sure Obama is leaning that way too. That being said, sending 40k troops is the easy part as Bush found out in Iraq. Its taking them out that is the much more difficult thing. Basically once the troops are in, they'll stay there and US will keep bleeding money and lives in the Hindukush for years to come.

    •  You make absolutely no sense. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Clem Yeobright, Pluto, ratador

      It's worse than Vietnam, we'll be bleeding money and lives there for years to come if we send in the troops McChrystal wants, but McChrystal has the best plan.

      Hee's my plan: we begin a phased withdrawal of troops while offering to help Afghans improve their lot through building things rather than blowing them up. It'll neve rfly though, because it makes too much sense.

      If there is no accountability for those who authorized torture, we can no longer say that we are a nation of laws, not men.

      by MikePhoenix on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 12:33:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  McChrystal has the best plan (0+ / 0-)

        because he is taking Afghanistani people into account as compared to ,say, Bush's strategy or Biden's plan. Realistically, while American people will be willing to spend 100 billion a year to blow shit up they are unlikely to go with 10 billion in infrastructure building and humanitarian help. It is what it is.

  •  What WE want them to do (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, Pluto, debedb, JesseCW

    doesn"t matter.  Not US or Briton (3 failed wars) or Russians, not the UN or India or Pakistan or Iran or Iraq or China.  Any country that thinks they will impose their will on clanish mountain tribes who have kicked ass for millenia are fooling themselves.  And like 'Nam, they LIVE there.

  •  So what do we do? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Clem Yeobright, JesseCW

    Stay there until the year 2525 when 90% of our armed forces is decimated and still nothing to show for it?

    So old I remember when NASA was just two drunk guys and a case of dynamite.

    by dov12348 on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 01:22:31 AM PDT

    •  How about support Obama... (0+ / 0-)

      in crafting an effective strategy.  What a concept, that would be.  To actually work together and resolve an issue rather than throwing temper tantrums and proving that we haven't progressed much farther on the evolutionary line from monkey's throwing feces at each other.

      A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

      by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:33:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This ones nothing Like Vietnam... (2+ / 0-)

    Except for the bodies coming home and kids getting blown to bits and the CIA paying off high-ranking government officials closely related to the President who smuggle heroin, and the fraudulent elections, and the poorly supplied but tenacious home-grown resistance that refuses to play by our rules, and our fantasy of being able to "control the situation" with precision air-strikes, and the "new strategy" of building walls around certain villages and trying to persuade the populace to move there......

  •  Afghanistan is Vietnam... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    metal prophet

    Afghanistan is Vietnam in this way.   People prefer to be ruled by one of their own.   They do not want to be ruled by Washington, Moscow, or London.   Thusly empires fall!

  •  No it isn't... but history lessons apply. (0+ / 0-)
  •  No, what we face in Afghanistan... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW

    ....is a population that really really does not want us there, which makes it very similar to Vietnam. These are people who have endured, literally, decades of war, so we're probably not going to convince them otherwise. This was also the case in Vietnam. And the Vietnamese hated the Chinese and were suspicious of the Russians, so your view isn't entirely accurate.

    •  The population is at worst... (0+ / 0-)

      Divided.  The majority desires that the United States and NATO fulfill their promises and then leave.  The majority have no desire to have the Taliban return to power and would prefer the corrupt government that is currently nominally in charge rather than them.

      As has been correctly noted above, the Pashtun, who occupy parts of both Afghanistan and Pakistan, do want everyone to leave so they can continue to terroize the populace and install themselves as dictators.  Hence the majority of both countries have been asking for and recieving assistance in fighting them.

      A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

      by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:40:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And, frankly, I think an argument... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW

    ....about strategy and tactics is unnecessary, because I don't believe we have a right to be there in the first place, so any discussion should be about how quickly we withdraw.

    •  Atleast you are honest. (0+ / 0-)

      You and I disagree about whether we have the right to be there.  As far as I am concerned when they were unapologetic material contributors to the organization that bombed an American city and refused to cut those ties the United States has a moral imperitive to defend itself and its citizenry from external aggression.

      But even beyond that, I fully admit that I want U.S. to stop the genocide in Sudan.  I was happy we did so in Bosnia and disgusted that we didn't in Rwanda.  I am a firm believer in the concept of 'With Great Power comes Great Responsibility.'  

      In that vein, I also believe that Bush jr and Cheney should have been impeached and sent to the Hague for crimes against humanity.  The means matters just as much as the ends.  Torturing people and suspension of what we are taught are inalienable (that is can not be taken away or surrendered) rights shows an extreme lack of character at the least and removes all moral authority from which to speak from.

      A person's character is measured by how they treat everyone. Not just your pet group.

      by Tempus Figits on Thu Oct 29, 2009 at 03:48:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think we need to be very careful.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Clem Yeobright

        ....about the notion of "humanitarian intervention." When a government claims they are going to war for humanitarian purposes, look for ulterior motives. Now, there are a few genuine situations where going to war has objectively been humanitarian, such as when Vietnam put an end to Pol Pot's psychotic rule in Cambodia. But, we shouldn't just accept what our government says uncritically. And in some situations, it's a better idea to seek all alternatives first, because war always hurts the poorest and the weakest the most.

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