Nato is deeper in its Afghan mire than Russia ever was

The folly of man. What I wrote about Afghanistan three years ago still stands today. It is not a few miles of road, a handful of schools or an irrigation project here or there that will win the hearts and minds of the Afghans and will bring them to our fold. For many centuries now, Afghanistan has become the cemetery of Western (and Russian) political ambitions not to mention armies. A cursory look at a map of Afghanistan illustrates the problem. It is not an occupying army of 150000 that can maintain control of an ethnically and culturally diverse society in a country that is sprawling, mountainous and very tribal. The task is made that much more difficult by that one thing that actually does unify Afghan society: that would be their collective memory of the horrors and cruelty of foreign occupation. Not even wholesale butchery, as perpetrated by a Russian army free of public scrutiny, bent the will of the Afghans.

Now, under the enlightened leadership of Obama we want to attempt a surge and like the Russians and like the British before them, we’ll probably have to return home tail between our legs having sacrificed a few more thousands of our soldiers in a political game that is as absurd as it is contrary to any notion of rationality and common sense.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/feb/14/nato-afghanistan

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