Fri. Jun 9th, 2023

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper

                -T.S. Elliot

By Ken Carman
 George W. didn’t solve this.
 Obama didn’t solve this.
 Trump didn’t solve this.
 Biden is solving this in what may have been the only solution possible, and people are mad.
Inspection Afghanistan isn’t called “The Graveyard of Empires” for no reason. Going back centuries Afghanistan, an area that is more a collection of warlords than it ever was a country, has defied all the biggies. Gorby told us about the Taliban that these are people no one would want on their border. Our solution? Armed them, trained them. We did a good job of that and one of them, Osama, proved that by striking us in New York City years later. Well, like Charles Manson, his terrorist followers did the horrific deeds. And it wasn’t the first time they tried to do that.
 Do we ever learn?
 Hey, they were “like our forefathers” our president told us at the time the Russians were about to tuck tail and leave. Sure, if our forefathers had chopped off heads of anyone who dare offend religious fanatic sensibilities. If Revolutionary women were treated far, far worse than the horses George rode into war on.
 Then we have the nonsense argument that we have stayed in former enemy countries year later. “So why not Afghanistan?”
 Why not Vietnam?
 Why not Iraq?
 Let’s buy not so green Greenland while we’re at it! Any country that displeases us let’s invade. The right could have us invade China, the left Russia. What could go wrong? The Germans had great success, didn’t they? Didn’t they?
 You know if the purpose of the war had started with taking down the Taliban, not hunt down al Qaeda, I might come closer to agreeing. But it was to prevent it from being a home to terrorists. Stupid plan because terrorists don’t have to have borders. Just pull up their always short roots and move elsewhere. Terrorism has never been reliant on any one country. One of their advantages is being nomadic.
 Tell me where we finally found Osama? Not Afghanistan? Nope. And he was practically right under the previous administration’s nose. DAMN we’re bad at this.
 Even if the main focus had been the Taliban and we had captured the leaders and put them on trial, like the Nazis, would that have worked? Execute their leaders. Expose to the world their excesses. Stopped their plan to rule the world. (WHAT “plan to rule toe world” in this case?) At least that might have made more sense. Instead we went in to keep the country from being used by terrorists, and get Laden, and get his band of fanatics, and as an after thought to nation build. Though from the start we said we were NOT to nation build. The mission started to shift. Especially after Bush said, “I don’t think about him (bin Laden) much anymore.
 Don’t seem to remember Roosevelt or Churchill saying anything like that. In fact the Taliban offered us Laden and our administration said screw you and invaded.
 Georgie Pordgie, oh my, needed a war. Bullets kissed the Afghans and made them cry. All to open the door wider to reelection.
 But even George and Dick discovered Afghanistan gives quicksand a GOOD reputation, gives the boards mice and roaches get stuck on the reputation of easy going for the vermin, makes DeCon the pest poison seem like British tea time for pest denizens. The history of defeat goes back hundreds of years.
 ”All of this was predictable.” Why, yes, it was: long before Biden became president. Before we went to war. “Why was Biden unwilling to change the policy?” Maybe because moving the furniture around in the trap we had INTENTIONALLY charged into was never going to change the inevitable?
 Still partisans and armchair pundits do what pundits and partisans do with too much glee: wail, snipe, rage, blame, fume at whomever it’s the most politically convenient for them to blame: all without offering a single damn solution. Oh, there’s a LOT of blame here starting with the very decision to invade rather than just get those who hit us. That deal WAS offered.
 But it must be asked when it comes to leaving: if not now, when? If not so suddenly, was there some better chance for massive societal anesthesia? Previous experience told us in Vietnamization didn’t work. It was slow, painful, horrific. Would 5 more years of Afghanistan-ization have worked better? 10? 20? Should we have made what was hardly a nation part of some American (Roman-like) Empire along with Iraq and any other country we want to have? You DO know being conquerors didn’t end well for the Empire either, right? Shouldn’t we be addressing our own terrorist issues? How fast it went indicates how bad it was despite all our efforts. And this was a bipolar, bipartisan, effort. AGAIN: what would make critics happy? 40 years? 100?
 Here’s the answer…
 Even bipartisan failure isn’t enough to convince them.
 Just staying was no solution. Just makes what eventually would come worse.
 We never seem to learn… Nam, Iraq, even Korea’s somewhat better ending was, and still is, an immensely bitter stalemate.
 Our success in WWII was due to a REAL coalition with a clear mission: end the Axis. 20 years later did anyone expect the Nazis to take over Germany and Australia, Poland and France, and… again? No. Perhaps having that singular mission to end the Taliban and drag their leaders before some multiple nation run Kabul-based Nuremburg, then executing them, MIGHT have been more effective. But there was little likelihood of that, and we never fought it that way. Our coalition from the start was more of political convenience than one of nations being attacked. No matter how much Michael Moore got wrong in Fahrenheit 911 the portrayal of the “coalition” was poignant. Plus we came late to the WWII blood-based party. As bad as that was it worked better. This time we led the charge to defeat the Taliban? No, to get terrorists who the Taliban offered to give up, who simply moved to another country.
 Nation defeating then building rarely works well as an after thought. Scratch that. Seems to NEVER work.
 We suck at insurgencies, something January 6th proved again. And for damn sure I doubt we could ever have been good at dealing with insurgency in the “Graveyard of Empires.”
 Unless we stop trying to solve the world’s problems, and using wars mostly for political advantage at home, there will be more. And more than likely with the same horrific result.


Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 40 years, first published in fall of 1972. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks, and into the unseen cracks and crevasses, that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2021
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
all rights reserved

By Ken Carman

Entertainer, provider of educational services, columnist, homebrewer, collie lover, writer of songs, poetry and prose... humorist, mediocre motorcyclist, very bad carpenter, horrid handyman and quirky eccentric deluxe.

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