By Fred Delkin
Hollywood called it “Charley Wilson’s War”, and that was during George Bush’s administration. Nothing’s changed now that Obama’s in the presidency, although our current leader foolishly announced a definite date for an Afghan pullout . When we do evacuate this scene, we are following in the footsteps of invaders of this forlorn central Asian region throughout recorded history. The Macedonians, led by Alexander the Great, marched here circa 300 BC. Thence came the Islamic conquest establishing a state inspired by the prophet Muhammad and implemented by the Persian empire. Genghis Khan and his Mongol hordes swarmed over the area in the early 13th century. Next came Timur, a vicious despot from what is now Uzbekistan and credited with killing, literally, millions of inhabitants of his declared autocracy during the 16th century. Timur’s descendants took over and attempted control through the 17th century and into the 18th.
When the British seized control of what is now India, they invaded the Afghan region no less than three times during the 19th century, and encouraged establishment of an Afghan monarchy.
Led by a succession of Shahs and attempts to create a constitution, elect officials and enact reforms on behalf of education and treatment of women. This succession of monarchies encouraged formation of political parties. This culminated in the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan, whose leaders followed a Marxist philosophy that The Soviet Union fomented and led to a massive Soviet military invasion in 1979. That’s when the U.S. Reagan administration and Charley Wilson came on the scene, supporting a northern Afghan tribal coalition that battled the Soviets. Known as the Mujahadeen, this entity made the USSR’s military might ineffectual and created unrest in the Russian populace back home that significantly speeded the dismantling of the Soviet Union. The Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988.
Unfortunately, neither politics nor religious fervor were staples of the Mujahadeen movement, and that vacuum became filled by the fanatics known as the Taliban, (creating the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan) spurred by the militant doctrine of Al Qaeda. That’s when us Yankees joined the historically-long list of Afghan invasions. As Presidential candidate Ron Paul would say: “Why?” The USA invested some $40 million confronting the decade of Soviet effort. We shudder to think what the current investment total now numbers, and it keeps climbing in both human and fiscal terms.
We finally slew the architect of 9/11, and it is ironic that we caught him in Pakistan, a nation that supported the Afghan efforts of the Taliban. There is seemingly no coherent reason to continue the West’s attempts to tame tribalism in the Middle East. Only selfish exertion of brutal power has triumphed there since time immemorial, and then, only briefly each time it is used. Let those tribesmen feud amongst themselves, since social and political sanity has never been their wont.