The Miserable Lives of Afghans

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Re: The Miserable Lives of Afghans

Post#11 » Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:45 am

Giving up in Vietnam was a huge blow to the U.S., especially since militarily we were winning but the press rounded up enough public opinion against it that we abandoned the people we promised to save and left them to their fate at the hands of Uncle Ho's army and "reeducation" camps. Maybe people were looking to prevent the same here, except now it isn't some tribe among a bigger tribe, but the entire female half of the population.

I don't think that was the trigger of the war though, nor was it an electoral stunt. AQ carried out the largest terrorist attack in history on us. To do nothing was to invite more. The organization had to simply be put down. Sure, they have struck since then in Spain, the United Kingdom, and many other places but always on a smaller scale. They are not what they once were. Their strongest leaders are dead or captured, and AQ has fragmented into smaller pieces that are constantly on the run lest they risk being targetted. The problem is, much as we had an opportunity to do after the Soviet Union collapsed, we have an opportunity to nation build, and most importantly, get people an education. The results take decades to bear fruit though, are expensive, and there are no metrics to measure success while such projects are progressing. This is far more complex and difficult than bombing people, so here we are, not doing it.

I think nation building was the way to go, but there has not been the political will to do so, and the longer we go, the more difficult it would be.


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Re: The Miserable Lives of Afghans

Post#12 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:11 am

I don't think Vietnam and Afghanistan are directly comparable. Sure, the educated elites in Kabul will probably be in danger when the US finally takes off, but they're in danger now anyway. Women as half the population are in no danger of "being left behind" considering most of them are peasants living out in the mountains with their tribes. Their lot in life will be exactly the same when the US leaves as it was when the US came, or when the Soviets came, or when the Brits showed up, and on back through history.

Your mentioning of US failure to nation-build points out how the US is not following through, but also does not completely spell out just how huge the task is. Decades of education, etc, is hardly enough. When you say the US doesn't have the political will to nation-build, realize that nation-building realistically will not take decides, but at least a century, certainly several generations. And it isn't just an Afghan government with the US helping out; to seriously weed out the backwardness, the only way you're really going to do it is if Afghanistan becomes a de facto territory of the United States with schools under US control educating the children from day one.

If you've never seen it, I suggest you find the documentary Restrepo about the US Army presence in the Korengal Valley. The Army captain in that doc has a meeting with the local tribal elders where he tells them about US plans to build roads and help out the local economy and the local tribal elders just stare at him, either uncomprehending or just simply thinking him a madman.
Since October 3rd, 2000 | "Quite a thing to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave."

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