June 13, 2009

Why are we still in Afghanistan?

I confess to having let my attention stray from American foreign policy, but why are we still in Afghanistan?

We've been fighting there for seven and a half years. Isn't honor served by now?

And who are we fighting? More and more it looks like we're just fighting the Pashtun people, of whom the Taliban are a political expression. There are something like 40 million Pashtuns in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and they like to fight. It's what they do.

The Pashtun are disagreeable bad-tempered back-stabbers. But, they live there. And we don't.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

72 comments:

W. Smith said...

We've always been at war with East Asia.

1 said...

"Why are we still in Afghanistan?"

Are there still maniacal followers of the pedophile prophet still drawing breath in Afghanistan?

"We've been fighting there for seven and a half years. Isn't honor served by now?"...

Honor?!?!

What the heck does 'honor' have to do with anything?

"More and more it looks like we're just fighting the Pashtun people, of whom the Taliban are a political expression"...

Political expression?!?!

Seriously Sailor you need to do some serious homework...

Start back in '72, Munich, the Olympics, the first play on the world stage for jihad...

Anonymous said...

Goshdarnit, now that is some good common sense foreign policy right there.

John Craig said...

At this point we seem to be engaged in that uniquely American, amorphous activity known as "nation-building" (as well as fighting an impossible war in impossible terrain). The Afghan people have never had anything remotely resembling a modern democracy, nor have they ever shown much interest in having one. In the last two thousand years they've only been conquered by Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. (More recently they effectively defeated both the British and the Soviets.)

I propose a much more practical solution than what we are attempting: let's just bulldoze all the mountains into flat, arable farmland, then convince the local populace that growing wheat and corn is more profitable than growing opium poppies.

Lloyd G. said...

Ask Obama's mentor, Zbigniew Brzeninski.

Edward said...

Why are we propping up two failed states when the Pashtunis would make a great candidate stable monarchical state?

(Afghanistan was run by a Pashtuni monarchy for centuries until 1973).

If a nation state was a credible option, national identity would be a better - closer to default - unifying factor for the Pashtuns than the hard to learn extremist religion they have sought in the Taliban.

If the Pashtuns could cobble together the Durrani Empire they're capable of the cooperation necessary to run a state.

Just replace the bombs with bribes and it's India and China's problem.

Anonymous said...

"Isn't honor served by now?"

Honor. The driving motivation of American foreign policy.

Cossack in a Kilt said...

But if we try really, really hard, it'll be just like Arizona. Umm, the way Arizona was in the 1950s, I mean.

Probably the real reason is overweening arrogance, continued resentment against Russia/the Former Soviet Union, continued resentment against Iran, and pipelines.

Read Peter Hopkirk's account of the First Anglo Afghan War, in The Great Game. Any slow motion trainwreck similarities you might see between then and now are probably not coincidental.

rast said...

Since replies go up in batches, I guarantee that T99 has already written a 7-paragraph reply, consisting entirely of lies and squid ink, justifying our continued presence there.

Note that our war with Afghanistan has lasted more than twice as long as it took us to defeat BOTH Germany and Japan in WW2, but not yet as long as it took us to lose in Vietnam.

rec1man said...

The taliban consists of Pakistani army irregulars, the so called
'Army of Allah'
This was set up in 1980, to fight Russians, Indians, and later annex Afghanistan and CIS states to Pakistani rule

The correct method is to arm the non-Pashtuns ( northern Alliance )
and bomb from the air

You cant bring democracy to islamic countries

Anonymous said...

The US is still in Afghanistan because Obama and the Neo-Liberals think that Bush and the Neo-Cons policy is right but they carried it out badly so Obama and the Neo-Liberals will show how it should be done.

DJF

Mark said...

Because if we were to leave Iraq AND Afghanistan, Obama would feel/look like a pussy.

tanabear said...

Because neo-con foreign policy is about Empire, not fighting wars that are in our national interest. This is why Osama bin Laden was essentially allowed to escape at Tora Bora. He was never meant to be captured or killed, only to act as a the consummate boogeyman.

Ultimately, there is no War on Terror, terrorism is merely the excuse to wage a war for Empire.

Reactionary said...

Only a terrorist would ask why we're still in Afghanistan. I'm calling Homeland Security.

Anonymous said...

The graveyard of empires...
the american conservative had a great article when the 'war' (has there been a declaration yet?!) started - a reporter who had interviewed the mujahdeen twenty years earlier went back and interviewed the same warlord. He was a cool as a cucumber about the US 'threat' he said in effect 'ive seen this before, i'll go up to the hills and wait'

Amazing the hubris of americans when i told them this. THEY ONLY WON BECAUSE WE ARMED THEM. WE HAVE INFRARED GOGGLES!" etc, etc.

Oh how we never learn.

Anonymous said...

We are fighting there to prevent the Taliban from ever gaining control of a state apparatus again. And to stiff them for 9-11.

Anonymous said...

Probably has alot to do with opium.

Anonymous said...

The USA is not going to win this conflict. Bear in mind the insurgency doesn't have to do anything to win. They just have to endure. The Taliban aren't going anywhere. That's their turf. That country is tailor-made for an insurgency-style warfare and the U.S. military is not designed for fourth-generation warfare.

Anonymous said...

And our policy there has been a mess. You would have thought someone, seven years ago, would have had enough wits to say, 'Okay, we're going into Afghanistan. We are not going to be able to install a democratic government there because there is nothing to support it. What ARE we going to do and how will we get out?'
I guess that person was out sick that day.

PR

Anonymous said...

Many of the weapons systems built (mostly) during the Reagan years are reaching obsolescence. Their replacements are built in laughable numbers, or outright canceled i.e F-22, DDG-1000, Littoral combat ships. All that money frittered away on useless adventurism should be spent maintaining a solid shield against possible Chinese 'muscle flexing' in 10-15 years. What is best for America's security : chasing Talibans or making sure Chinese submarines don't call the tune in the Western Pacific ?

Silver said...

Well, that pipeline that's been in the works for a decade might get a start in the next couple of years. And for, what, a mere half trillion dollars or so (who's counting?), it seems like real a bargain.

Eric said...

As time goes on I find myself agreeing more with Derbyshire. After 9/11 we should have made our displeasure known in Afghanistan from the air. Repeatedly and without being "surgical". After a month or so of leaving craters in their cities we could then leave while telling them if something like 9/11 were to be again launched from Afghanistan we'd be back to make more and bigger craters.

If we'd left the Taliban in charge, after a suitable period of anti-American fervor the population would have gotten around to blaming them, and bin Laden, for the whole thing.

But as things stand it's not clear what to do next. Do we really want to teach the world, again, that the Americans will eventually get bored and go home, leaving all its friends and allies in the lurch?

Anonymous said...

We fight in Afghanistan because it's a perfect place for America to bleed itself to death for no benefit whatsoever. Our Liberal elites love A-stan because it's of absolutely no strategic importance, so that even if we were to "win" accidentally, it could be of no possible benefit to the USA. It's just opening a vein and letting us bleed. And that will help to kill America. Evil America. Racist, sexist, homophobic, imperialist, capitalist, environment-destroying, white ice-people America -- the fountain of evil in the cosmos. You kill it in absurd and useless and perpetual bloodletting in places like Afghanistan. We'll stay there until we die. Or until we destroy Liberalism.

Mike said...

Eisenhower sounded the alarm fifty some years ago. A lot of Americans have an interest in America fighting wars. American democracy has been corrupted by defence contractors bribing politicians with taxpayer money.

headache said...

Succinct observation! Reduces the GWOT to the idiocy it is. Most whites from former British/French colonies understand these issues, but as long as sociology and not anthropology is the favorite science of the elite, we can only expect more nonsense like this.

testing99 said...

That's a dumb question Steve. You should avoid foreign policy/military affairs, it's clearly outside your area of expertise.

We are in Afghanistan because 3,000 Americans died on 9/11. We are in Afghanistan because we cannot afford to lose to Bin Laden (which is what happens the second we withdraw). We are in Afghanistan because nukes are the great equalizer and we don't want NYC nuked, with 3-6 million Dead Americans. We are in Afghanistan because being in Afghanistan gives us pressure and leverage over unstable, jihadi ridden, and nuclear Pakistan.

Yes it sucks. Get real. Life is no longer cheap and easy as it was with the Cold War, with one central enemy who had stability, top-down command structure, and low preference for risks. Now with nuclear proliferation a reality (the result of Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush's failure to seize the moments) we are reaping the costs of being lazy.

No one is afraid of us and they haven't been for decades. Afghanistan and Iraq help in that regard, and provide "early warning" systems with human intel that is possible NO OTHER WAY on jihadi activity. Considering that Pakistan has 100 nukes and growing, it's own President Zardari concedes AQ/Taliban might get a few, and North Korea will sell to anyone, that's a price we have to pay or risk losing NYC and millions.

Steve your blind spot is how nuke proliferation changes EVERYTHING.

testing99 said...

Eric, an air campaign would have been useless. It was largely ineffective against the Third Reich. Afghanistan is a place of mud villages. What are you going to wreck? It's already wrecked.

Short of massive nukes, killing most of the population, jihadis would have laughed at the impotent US and kept on killing.

The reason we had no further attacks that were successful after 9/11, inside the US, was the ability to get up close and personal with jihadis, kill a bunch, question others (not gently either) and just as critically, get intel from their rivals. The one weakness tribal peoples have is tribal enemies.

This isn't the Cold War anymore. Potentially, guys living in caves can gain control of nukes and ship one out to NYC or LA or DC. Maybe it's just me, I don't want millions of Americans dead. I don't want even a 10% risk of it. Once they're dead, they don't come back. The city is ruined. And no one will hesitate in nuking us AGAIN unless we do terrible things to restore fear/deterrence. Nukes change EVERYTHING.

Anonymous said...

Why are we in Afghanistan? Because it is part of our crimean strategy to checkmate the czar, this along with our strategy in abbysinnia, will ensure our strength against the growing threat of the hun....oopps, wrong empire, wrong century

Anonymous said...

We are in Afghanistan because 3,000 Americans died on 9/11.

and why did 3000 Americans die on 9/11? Because they hate our freedoms?

Anonymous said...

"Potentially, guys living in caves can gain control of nukes and ship one out to NYC or LA or DC. Maybe it's just me, I don't want millions of Americans dead. I don't want even a 10% risk of it. Once they're dead, they don't come back. The city is ruined. And no one will hesitate in nuking us AGAIN unless we do terrible things to restore fear/deterrence. Nukes change EVERYTHING."

Testy is awesome, as always. Would've been better if he'd written, "I don't want even a 4% risk of it," though.

Truth(er) said...

We face a terror threat in the Us because we import terrorists.

Our terror problem is an immigration problem. We let Muslims live in America because we want diversity and tolerance so the Muslims bring with them their Jihadis. Then we wonder why we have to worry about nuclear proliferation.

Remove these Third-Worlder from American soil and the terror/nuclear threat goes away.

Truth said...

Two interesting theories:

1) The US-Israeli-Western European crime cabal wants to corner the world's heroin market, by securing it's (metaphoric) pipeline from Afghanistan through the Baltic states. (also, according to theory, the reason Milosevich had to go; unwanted competition).

2)The US-Israeli-Western European crime cabal wants to corner the market on Caspian sea oil by building a (literal) pipeline from there to the Persian Gulf (also, according to theory, the reason Saddam Husein had to go; please consult a map of Iraq and Afghanistan.)

Truth said...

Posted by Rast:

"Since replies go up in batches, I guarantee that T99 has already written a 7-paragraph reply, consisting entirely of lies and squid ink, justifying our continued presence there."

Later posted by T99

"That's a dumb question Steve. You should avoid foreign policy/military affairs, it's clearly outside your area of expertise.

We are in Afghanistan because 3,000 Americans died on 9/11."

Tee, it seems as though this young man is inside your head...and he's living there rent free!

""Potentially, guys living in caves can gain control of nukes and ship one out to NYC or LA or DC."

I'll buy it! Hell, they already issued a successful stand-down order to our Air Force.

Anonymous said...

Is the second comment, the one by 1, meant to be ironic?

He can't spell Steve's name right and believes in world jihad, Munich '72 being step one.

If that were true Israelis would be sallying forth from their unsinkable aircraft carrier to fight in Afghanistan right now.

Israeli troops deployed to Afghanistan to date: zero

Israeli troops killed/injured in Afghanistan to date: zero

Israeli aircraft deployed to Afghanistan to date: zero

Israeli aircraft destroyed/damaged in Afghanistan to date: zero

Perhaps the hidebound, bureaucratic Israeli military need more than seven and half years to mobilize. A quick glance through history should answer that.

You know, if anyone isnt taking the global jihad seriously I rather think it might be the Israelis, not Steve Sailer.

tommy said...

Split Afghanistan up into its constituent ethnic sections, arm the non-Pashtuns well, get what cooperation we can out of these non-Pashtuns (like we do with the Kurds in Iraq), and withdraw.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
and why did 3000 Americans die on 9/11
?

Nearly eight years later and you're still asking that question?

Once again, for the umpteenth time:

9/11 was bin Laden's bid for leadership of the global jihad movement. He was convinced after Somalia that the U.S. was a "paper tiger" that would collapse from such a blow and Muslims around the world would flock to him as their great military-spiritual leader.

THAT'S why bin Laden and AQ attacked us on 9/11. If you had bothered to do your homework and read his speeches, you would know this.

Anonymous said...

testing99 said...

"No one is afraid of us and they haven't been for decades."

What's this 'us' stuff?

Paranoid Bitchy Incessant Whiner said...

When you read this thread, make sure to pronounce it "Tolley-Bahn" in your head [so that it kinda sorta rhymes with "Trolley WonTon"].

Otherwise you are a racist.

PS: And if you make fun of people who pronounce it "Tolley-Bahn", then you are DEFINITELY a racist.

Anonymous said...

9/11 was bin Laden's bid for leadership of the global jihad movement.
okay anon, that's what the neocons said he said..but what did he actually say?

Have you ever actually read what he said?

Paranoid Bitchy Incessant Whiner said...

Or maybe I should say - rhymes with "Dolly Juan".

Sid said...

Is there any explanation as to why we haven't been able to hire some mercs to kill Osama? Once he's dead, no one would have any inclination to stay there.

Eric said...

Eric, an air campaign would have been useless. It was largely ineffective against the Third Reich. Afghanistan is a place of mud villages. What are you going to wreck? It's already wrecked.

Oh please. The Third Reich? For one thing there are no parallels between Germany and Afghanistan - for all the atrocities committed by the Nazis the average German was basically civilized. We knew if we went in and hung all the leaders the population would eventually go along. That's not the case in Afghanistan.

Secondly, bombing is orders of magnitude more effective than it was in the early 1940s. We wouldn't be using B-17s and dumb bombs, so don't draw false historical parallels. You want to draw a historical parallel? Think Serbia under Milosevic.

Finally, and most importantly, the goal wouldn't be to make the Taliban surrender. The goal would be to make them generally as miserable and fearful (and dead) as possible, i.e. to punish them for allowing the locals to attack us.

Anonymous said...

Our terror problem is an immigration problem. We let Muslims live in America because we want diversity and tolerance so the Muslims bring with them their Jihadis. Then we wonder why we have to worry about nuclear proliferation.

Odd how Evil Neocon never says that, what with his wanting to protect NYC...er, I mean, America, from nukes.

~ Svigor

sj071 said...

"Considering that Pakistan has 100 nukes and growing, it's own President Zardari concedes AQ/Taliban might get a few, and North Korea will sell to anyone, that's a price we have to pay or risk losing NYC and millions."

And who was The Guy who provided trigger mechanism (..at least sixty-six spark gap igniters...) for Pakistani Arsenal so their nukes are not just unusable high-tech junk laying around?

I'll give you a hint, he's Scottish-Japanese Agnostic, LOL....

airtommy said...

THAT'S why bin Laden and AQ attacked us on 9/11. If you had bothered to do your homework and read his speeches, you would know this.

That's odd. I looked up Bin Laden's speeches and letters (not an easy task, since the American media hides them) and his complaints start with Israel. That's #1A on his list of complaints in his first letter. Strangely enough, none of the Neocon jihadis, you included, ever seems to mention Israeli aggression as the reason we got attacked on 9/11.

kudzu bob said...

The terrorists hate for the same reason supermodels are always trying to claw each other's eyes out: because we're so damned beautiful.

SF said...

Our honor will be satisfied when Bin Laden is killed. Then we can get the hell out.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of things that are none of our business...

"NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario – The U.S. on Saturday refused to accept hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's claim of a landslide re-election victory in Iran and said it was looking into allegations of election fraud."

WTF? What part of the US government has the job of looking into the results of other countries' election?

Anonymous said...

Truth mentioned the oil pipeline.

Back in the days when we first went into Afghanistan, conspiracy theorists of leftish disposition were pretty gung ho for the pipeline as a reason for war.

Bush and his cronies wanted to lay their pipe down and they were going to get it no matter how many had to die.

The idea of laying one long target through a remote, lawless and violent country would of course be madness, thats how I see it anyway.

It would blown up, held hostage, oil would be siphoned off - and probably other scenarios too. Just building it would probably be campaign equal to the the last seven years of fighting.

So, here we are looking at seven plus years since the invasion. Is there any sign of this pipeline actually being built?

headache said...

SF said...
Our honor will be satisfied when Bin Laden is killed.



Mmmm, remind me in which cave he lives.

AmericanGoy said...

"elites love A-stan because it's of absolutely no strategic importance,"

Uhhh...

Try not to offend this moron, goy, be nice and civil...

OK, here goes:

Afghanistan is strategically PRIME real estate, the key to the whole region, borders Pakistan, Iran, and the ex-Soviet republics that we will fight in to, err, defend liberty from eeeevil Russia's expansion (haha, yes, that is how American propaganda portrays this and Americans by and large buy that - L O L - I mean, we, America, will fight to expand our neocon [neolib in Europe - same thing] empire and grab some more natural resources right underneath Russian noses)

The Sanity Inspector said...

You're wrong to assume that because the Taliban are Pashtun, the Pashtuns are therefore Taliban. Read Marcus Luttrell's Lone Survivor, in which the SEAL tells how local Pashtuns rescued him, in defiance of the Taliban.

Anonymous said...

You're wrong to assume that because the Taliban are Pashtun, the Pashtuns are therefore Taliban.

But it would be safe to say there are no non-Pashtun Taliban? Im not counting foreign religious zealots from Saudi and the like.

Anonymous said...

For all you fellows talking about using air strikes, I have two words for you: neutron bombs.

-Vanilla Thunder

Anonymous said...

airtommy said...
That's odd. I looked up Bin Laden's speeches and letters (not an easy task, since the American media hides them) and his complaints start with Israel. That's #1A on his list of complaints in his first letter. Strangely enough, none of the Neocon jihadis, you included, ever seems to mention Israeli aggression as the reason we got attacked on 9/11

.

If you read bin Laden's interviews and official statements from 1995 to 2001, you'll see the usual grab-bag of Salafist grievances: infidels on Saudi soil, the loss of the Caliphate (the loss of al Andalus in particular really seems to rankle him), the existence of Israel, etc. He also goes on at great length about how U.S. responses to Somalia and the bombing of the marine barracks in Lebanon prove that the U.S. has no stomach for war and will be easily defeated by a global jihad movement--which he clearly expected to coalesce around his magnificent self. After 9/11 he shifted his emphasis to the kind of things all good leftists can get behind (justice for the Palestinians, etc.). It was obviously a purely cynical move on his part, since previously he'd been obsessed with the idea of re-establishing the Caliphate.

Although the writings and speeches of bin Laden have been published in a variety of English-language editions, you're correct to point out that the U.S. media seems unacquainted with them. (The Guardian used to have translations of his speeches & articles up to 2002 posted on their website, but they seem to have been pulled down. I guess neither the left- nor the right-wing media are terribly interested anymore in the actual motives of al Qaeda.)

And by the way, I'm not even remotely a neo-con. I usually bust Testy's balls for his bullshit. But let's not fool ourselves about what al Qaeda was all about.

P.S. I too tend to think that bin Laden was killed at Tora Bora (or that he died shortly thereafter), but al Zawahiri & Co. are still alive and well and up to their usual shit.

Anonymous said...

So, here we are looking at seven plus years since the invasion. Is there any sign of this pipeline actually being built?

See, you start with an unsinkable Israeli aircraft carrier

...then the magic happens here...

Profit!

1 said...

The clueless Anonymous: "He can't spell Steve's name right and believes in world jihad, Munich '72 being step one"...

Oh dear! I misspelled Sailer...

Then of course the clueless Anonymous goes off on his/her delusional tangent with some bizzare nonsnese about world jihad starting in '72...

You're quite the historian clueless Anonymous...

LOL! Thanks for playing though...

Anonymous said...

But 1 you yourself said Start back in '72, Munich, the Olympics, the first play on the world stage for jihad...

Since that was a direct attack on Israel and you see the ongoing fight in Afghanistan as part of that, why then are Israelis not fighting there?

So either you have changed your mind between your first and second post or you are a time waster. Which is it?

Anonymous said...

umm, 1, you said :
Start back in '72, Munich, the Olympics, the first play on the world stage for jihad...


then you said:Then of course the clueless Anonymous goes off on his/her delusional tangent with some bizzare nonsnese about world jihad starting in '72...
yep, definitely a neocon, works on the assumption that whatever lie of the moment they tell will be parroted by MSM, and the lies of the past forgotten

Paranoid Bitchy Incessant Whiner said...

Vanilla Thunder: neutron bombs

And my post got censored?

I only hinted at NBs.

Anonymous said...

I think the motivation's definitely there for OBL's early retirement. Think like one of his lieutenants for a moment; he's not so useful anymore, since he's so hot he can't show his face; if he's captured or killed by the west he's a liability, if he survives he's an asset, but...does he really need to survive? Can't he just sorta fade away into the sunset?

So, you knife him, roll him up in one of those lovely rugs, and bury him somewhere, sworn to take the secret to your grave.

Sorta a win-win for everyone, too. The yanquis get a permanent Emmanuel Goldstein and AQ gets to save face and cut the dead weight.

Or not, just saying I could see them thinking hard about it way out there in the sticks on dark and lonely nights.

~ Svigor

Drawbacks said...

We're there because we're there because we're there.

Anonymous said...

"We" are in Afghanistan to satisfy the Scots-Irish and German American's need to march off to glory. America is about satisfying constituencies, if nothing else. The Scots-Irish and Germans are a sizable constituency and even if you're a half-blood prince (or maybe because of it) you give them what they want. Plus, it keeps them occupied overseas instead of doing a "7 days in May" type of gambit against you. All in all, an astute move.

Anonymous said...

"Paranoid Bitchy Incessant Whiner said...
Vanilla Thunder: neutron bombs

And my post got censored?

I only hinted at NBs."

Thanks for noticing. I had the NB insight last night after watching Repo Man. Alex Cox watched the film with the NB's inventor.

-Vanilla Thunder

Anonymous said...

I must confess the chutzpah of 1's two-faced lying - about his own comments took me aback. Normally, when trying to get to grips with someone arguing using a double standard one has to pick one's way across different blogs, comments etc separated over long periods.

Its very unusual to see it on the same thread spaced apart by mere hours.

Quite incredible.

Mr. Anon said...

We should have gone into Afghanistan only to exact a little Old-Testament like revenge - kill all of the Taliban and Al Quaeda we could find (maybe detonate a few tactical warheads in the caves of Tora Bora) and then left. It would have been far more effective, and would have impressed the locals more.

As it is, we're just putting on an extended set of war games for the benefit of the Chinese (who I'm sure are very interested in what they see).

The very smart idiots who constitute our military and foreign policy elite would have been better served by reading a few "Flashman" novels than by the worthless educations they received at the War College and the Kennedy School of Government.

Tim said...

We are in Afghanistan because the American god of freedom demands a tribute of human sacrifice. The god of freedom is a bloodthirsty god.

PRCalDude said...

if you read bin Laden's interviews and official statements from 1995 to 2001, you'll see the usual grab-bag of Salafist grievances: infidels on Saudi soil, the loss of the Caliphate (the loss of al Andalus in particular really seems to rankle him), the existence of Israel, etc

Sounds like the list of gripes of Muhammad himself: the continued existence of Jews anywhere, the presence of infidels on the Arabian peninsula, infidels anywhere who haven't paid jizya or recited the shahada and become full-fledged Arab wannabes, the existence of the Romans (Bin Laden likes to complain about them as well), the need for a caliphate, etc.

Funny, when I browse through the Qur'an and Hadith, it's almost like you can identify where Bin Laden gets all of the crap he says in his recordings.

I like to think back to the time when the entire mideast, Levant, and Anatolia were mostly Christian. Ahh, those must have been the days - the days before Muhammad - when such places were giving us the works of men like Augustine instead of the rantings of paranoid schizophrenics about the existence of infidels anywhere in the world and the persisting human dignity left in abused dhimmies.

Laban said...

I'd recommend the book 'Soldier Sahibs' by Charles Allen. One Amazon reviewer writes : "Best of all, the verbatim accounts and extracts paint a brilliantly vivid and technicolor picture of the nature of the extraordinary Pathan tribes who still populate this wild frontier. Again, almost unbelievable in their endless propensity for making war and plotting treachery. The very worst and most savage of enemies, and the most illogically loyal and truest of friends. Strangely fascinating to the British warrior-monks who interacted with them, the Pathan represented the complete antithesis of all their Christian, civilising beliefs. And yet many of this select group developed a quite profound degree of respect and, it seems to me, affection, for their most worthy and ferocious opponents."

The other book worth a read is online - Churchills story of the Malakand Field Force. Links to this and other Frontier tales here.

Anonymous said...

Look at this great video on Pakistan's warrior culture on Youtube. Search for this:
pakistan's gun market

It's an entire village built around the manly art of making weapons. There are no laws. Everything is done by custom and by honor. You test your (automatic) weapons by firing them from the roof of a building off into the mountains. These guys are great. This is what it's all about to be a man. There are no women involved.

The USA is fighting this. Think about that sometime.

Anonymous said...

"In the last two thousand years they've only been conquered by Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. (More recently they effectively defeated both the British and the Soviets.)"

We Brits have the score at 2-1 to us.

"Eric, an air campaign would have been useless. It was largely ineffective against the Third Reich. Afghanistan is a place of mud villages. What are you going to wreck? It's already wrecked."

I think that we won the Third Anglo-Afghan war largely on the back of an air campaign. Of course, aircraft and bombs were new then and I should think it was very frightening for them.

Air power is of course one of the main advantages of ISAF forces in Afghanistan.

David said...

"What is best for America's security : chasing Talibans or making sure Chinese submarines don't call the tune in the Western Pacific?"

America's security? What about Israel's security?