Monday, March 12, 2012


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.


Bubblehead Les. said...

Watson? I think "Ford O'Kabul River" was published first, but I'll have to check with my French "L,E,F, Wayback Machine" to verify that.

But I think Iskander the Mad (that's Alexander the Great for all of us Western Infidels) records show that much hasn't changed there in about 2,300 years.

Anonymous said...

Our history of military intervention in places like Afgahnistan or Vietnam could be labeled "Post hoc ergo propter hoc" or cargo cult science at best.


Stretch said...

"Afghanistan isn't so much a country as it is a section of Earth's surface where other countries aren't."

I can't remember who said that but am happy to use it when ever I can.

Anonymous said...

Things like this make me sore tempted to adopt a variant of neo-isolationism that can be best summed up as, "We'll talk with you; we'll trade with you; we'll even do cultural exchanges with you... BUT, if you screw with us, we'll show you JUST how we can make the rubble bounce..."

Probably just as glad that I haven't yielded to temptation, and I'm exceedingly unlikely to be in charge of U. S. foreign policy decisions...

Mike Doyle

Larry said...

We had the chance, way back then, to help them put together what the Soviets had torn asunder, but we said No thanks, not into nation building, good luck!
Oh for a way-back machine...