Thursday, September 13, 2007

Afghanistan: love us or we'll kill you

David Seaton's News Links
Afghanistan is also a failure. It means a failure for the USA, but also for NATO and the EU... the West. Future historians, probably future Chinese historians, will mark these times.

There is a simple lesson here, you cannot invade a country and stay there and then expect the people to love you and appreciate you. My basic text for knowing this is what the Spanish call their "War of Independence", the fight against Napoleon. Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
"Spain's liberation struggle marked one of the first national wars and was among the first modern, large-scale guerrilla conflicts, from which the English language borrowed the word Its success was in part decided by the exploits of Spanish guerrillas and the inability of Napoleon Bonaparte's large armies to pacify the people of Spain: French units in Spain, forced to guard their vulnerable supply lines, were always in danger of being cut off and overwhelmed by the partisans, and proved unable to stamp out the Spanish army."
In many ways this was a tragedy for Spain, because Napoleon brought with him the modernizing ideas of the Enlightenment, which paved the way for the scientific and industrial revolutions. In Italy, for example, where Napoleon ruled, is today's modern, industrial north and where he didn't rule -- like the ring on a bathtub -- is the backward Mezzogiorno.

Because they were the ideas of the foreign invader, the Spanish people came to hate those ideas and clinging to their version of the ancien regime set the scene for a disastrous 19th and early 20th century.

This what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan. DS

We're losing in Afghanistan too - Los Angeles Times
Abstract: In reality, Afghanistan -- former Taliban stronghold, Al Qaeda haven and warlord-cum-heroin-smuggler finishing school -- feels more and more like Sept. 10, 2001, than a victory in the U.S. war on terrorism. The country is, plain and simple, a mess. Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies have quietly regained territory, rendering wide swaths of the country off-limits to U.S. and Afghan forces, international aid workers and even journalists. Violent attacks against Western interests are routine. Even Kabul, which the White House has held up as a postcard for what is possible in Afghanistan, has become so dangerous that foreign embassies are in states of lockdown, diplomats do not leave their offices, and venturing beyond security perimeters requires daylight-only travel, armored vehicles, Kevlar and armed escorts.(...) Consider that an American Embassy staffer going to the U.S. Agency for International Development office across the street is required to use an underground tunnel that links the two compounds. Even though the street is closed to all traffic other than official U.S. or U.N. vehicles and is patrolled and guarded by armored personnel carriers, tanks and Kalashnikov-carrying security personnel with a safety perimeter of several blocks, the risk from snipers, mortars or grenades is ever present.(...) By some measures, Afghanistan should be a feel-good story by now -- the Taliban is, officially at least, out of power, Al Qaeda has been chased to the wilds of the Afghan-Pakistani border and U.S. forces are on hand to consolidate and solidify a peaceful new order. But the truth is very different. By any measure, this remains a "hot" war with a well-armed, motivated and organized enemy. Village by village, tribe by tribe and province by province, Al Qaeda is coming back, enforcing a form of Islamic life and faith rooted in the 12th century, intimidating reformers, exacting revenge and funding itself with dollars from massive poppy cultivation and heroin smuggling. As Al Qaeda reestablishes itself, Osama bin Laden remains free to send video messages and serve as an ideological beacon to jihadis worldwide. READ IT ALL


Anonymous said...

So, you say that Franco was "the people's choice" ?

Or did he use overwhelming military force with the international military-industrial complex behind it, like the US today?

In Germany, which had its part of Nappi's wars, the whole law system was and is heavily influenced by the Code Napoleon.

However, that was the product of a genuine revolution, that catapulted France to freedom and to this day makes them cooler and more free than any Anglophone.

A more valid comparison to the US-American missionary complex would be Algeria and the "good influence" of French colinialism - millions dead, country destroyed.

David Seaton's Newslinks said...

I hope I made myself clear, it is impossible to modernize a country at the point of a gun. The French invasion of Spain gave wings to the most retrograde elements in Spanish culture.

Franco was finally a product of that retrograde climate of reaction to ideas that came from France in the 19th century. The French invasion of Spain set back the modernization of Spain by a hundred years at least.

Anonymous said...

This is the basic misconception - "Islamism" is not the ancien regime, it's some nasty side-effects of modernisation taking place, heavily influnenced by the catastrophic economical circumstances in the developing world.

The real ancien regime of evangelical fanaticism, militarism and racism is now indeed the anglophone world.