Thinkofone's Blog

One person's thoughts may change the world

The war in Afghanistan

World War II, the last “great” war lasted all of 7 years. 7 years for the Europeans, 4 years for the United States. We didn’t enter it until 1941, December 7th. It had already been raging for 3 years, and at the time the United States entered it, Western Europe has already been conquered, Britain was in danger of being starved into submission, and operation Barbarossa which was the conquest of the Soviet Union, was in full effect. France, who built the famous Maginot Line, was simply circumvented by the Germans through the Ardennes Forest. They simply gave up and surrendered Paris after that. Japan had already defeated the Chinese as well as the Korean peninsula, had reached it’s influence in the southern Pacific, Bombed Hawaii, took the Philipines, and, was threatening to push into the northern reaches of Australia.

Up until 1941, the United States was willing to sit neutral, and was more interested in continuing its recovery from the crash of 1929 and the great depression that soon followed. To Americans, the war in Europe was essentially a European affair, and a continuation of unfinished business of the “war to end all wars”, World War I. World War I swept away all the old aristocracies and elite class that had ruled Europe for hundreds of years. It opened Europe up to new I ideas, and sinister ideologies.

When the United States entered World War two, it’s manufacturing might changed all of that. It simply cranked out more planes, tanks, ammunition and ships than anyone else and helped defeat and enemy on two different fronts. But, what did it take to do all of that? And why is it so hard to win a war in Afghanistan?

To answer the first question, lets look at what actually stopped World War two. Two  things occurred. First the complete destruction of a several countries and infrastructure. Many large cities in the Soviet Union were destroyed. Many large cities in Germany were also destroyed. Many large cities in Japan were also destroyed. So there was a lot of damage to infrastructure and many many people lost there lives. The Soviet
Union alone lost over 20 million people. Over all, a large civilian class of people died and paid the price of being on the wrong side of an idology.Up until this time, large slaughter of citizens had not happened in a long time. Gone were the days of subjugating a country and it’s citizens. Armies had begun to fight on a “field of battle” and the armies were
professionally trained. Well technology changed all of that. Planes could now fly great distances and bomb factories as well as civilian populations. Invading armies and their tanks now destroyed cities as they made their way through an enemies’

Secondly, someone surrendered. In Japan, it took two nuclear bombs to destroy two cities and the firebombing of Tokyo, the destruction of the Japanese navy and army, a reluctant warrior class, and an aloof emperor to finally say, enough is enough, we give. Many German cities were almost completely destroyed. Berlin fell to the Soviet Union, which obliterated the city in some payback from killing so many Soviet citizens. Dresden, was bombed by the British and the U.S. which I first learned of this story from a German Lutheran pastor who taught my eight grade religion class. With an angry sneer on his face, he said, “The British and the Americans had no RIGHT to bomb and kill innocent citizens of Germany!”.  4 million bombs were dropped on Berlin before the Soviets invaded it. After Hitler died, what was left of the German leadership said enough. To put it bluntly, they surrendered after they lost so much they could not stand to lose anymore. So much for the history lesson, back to reality.

This is not the case with Afghanistan. They don’t have a great infrastructure to destroy. They don’t have large fixed  civilian centers. To put it bluntly, they don’t have much to lose. And, there is no motivation to surrender. The enemy can blend in with the civilian population and manipulate the UN forces that are there to “win” the war on terror. They have seen many advanced countries slowed down by a mountainous region, and little stomach to slug it out with them in the hills. They have an AK47 some ammunition and little to lose outside of earthen homes. But they are motivated by the fact that no one
has ever gone in their and defeated them. When you go in to Afghanistan, it’s either a stalemate or, it’s a loss.  And is doesn’t help that we have yet to find Bin Laden.

Afghanistan has a fragile government put in place to shore up a country that essentially has not been “ruled” for quite some time. It was open to terrorist training and once again new ideologies ( can anyone say Taliban?). It was a lit fuse cord with an abundant source of futility because after the United States helped the Afghans defeat the Soviet Union, it also pulled out, leaving it guns and other weapons with little or no government.

There are many reasons why Afghanistan is failing. You can apply all the logic you want to describe it, but, until you allow the people a means of educating themselves, build a manageable infrastructure, develop and eventually exploit ( yep I said it exploit ), its vast mineral reserves, and stop trying to apply western social values in a country that needs to find its own religious and social voice ( beating and exploiting their woman is simply a fact that they are not educated, and they treat their woman with the same rules that applied to woman hundreds of years ago). When education rises in a country, the old ways go away very quickly.

Clearly what they are doing how they are going about it serves no greater idea. It doesn’t move the country forward. It only serves the people who grow opium, which want to continue the civil lawlessness  so they can make money off of western drug habits. Isn’t strange that in 2005, Afghanistan became the #1 opium producer again after the Taliban banned it in the year 2000? The United States even had a mandate when opium fields began to spring up again, “Stopping the drug trade is not our primary mission”. So the Afghan war, 9 years in the making, over 7000 soldiers paying the ultimate price, 34,000 civilian deaths, and the Afghanistan war cost of 445 billion dollars ( this figure is according to the United States Congressional research service).

And that’s what war truly boils down to, MONEY. The cost of war. War is an expensive endeavor. War costs have brought countries to their knees. War doesn’t allow you to invest into yourself, rather, it supports a false economy of military spending and  the growth of the military industrial base. So while the United States draws down its troops in Iraq, it’s hunkering down fora much longer slugfest in Afghanistan, which it cannot afford. If you leave, you loose, and could affect US foreign policy for years.  If you stay, you will slowly bleed yourself to death but keep justifying the reason why you’re there. If Bin Ladin is caught or killed, the war will still rage on.We live in a time of perpetual war.

The war in Afghanistan, the war we can’t win, the war we can’t lose, and, the war we cannot afford. So much for “Mission Accomplished”. So much for the world’s only superpower……Peace Mickey Fickey…


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This entry was posted on August 31, 2010 by in Politics.
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