Tam's posting about the latest mess in Afghanistan -- and it's been a long-lasting mess, just ask Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "Dr. Watson" -- got me to thinking.
It wasn't that long ago -- within living memory, if you lived somewhere where the food was reg'lar and the doctors weren't fictional -- that Afghanistan was well on the way to recovery from having been the chessboard of the Great Game, and looking like quite the modern nation. They were a-building their own future.
...Which is about when the Great Game, all done up in shiny-red Marxism, snuck back in. Revolution, turmoil and the Soviet Army followed. A generation of kids growing up like wild animals resulted and what was about the only semblance of order amid the chaos?
Religion -- and not the watered-down, once-a-week kind, either. Nope, it was hard and fast, harsh and pervasive; it handed out its own version of justice in that exact manner; if you were lucky, some local strongman was running whatever else there was to run and for a long, long time, that was all there was.
Result? A generation just as willing to be "democratized" as they'd care to be kicked off a cliff. Last time 'round when they clawed their way up from the wreckage of war, they had a King and a civil framework to build on. This time, they're starting over from scratch.
Don't be too surprised if it doesn't look like small-town Kansas. Don't be too surprised if occasionally the effect goes the other way and one of our own goes feral.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
5 months ago