Ten years ago, The Onion predicted west's Irish Goodbye from Afghanistan

If the Taliban does come back into power, who wants/helps them get in power in Afghanistan now?

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Bagram…a reminder of what went on there:

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Indifferent drug traders and arms dealers? That they have come back after America’s incompetent attempt to build a country by bombing doesn’t really change how they got so entrenched, though.

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Bingo. Whether it’s the Taliban or the warlords, “thugs with weapons” is the main way they persist. The weapons these days are firearms, the opiate sales and mountain redoubts help, and fundie religion provides a thin justification for rule, but it’s really force of arms in the end. The general populace is resigned to the situation, and the best we can hope for is that enough forward-looking people (esp. young women and the educated) were able to leave the country in time.

And let’s be clear: all that needs to be done in the preceding paragraph is changing the word “Taliban” to “Dominionists” and you could easily be describing Ameristan during a theoretical Second Civil War 20 years from now.

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It wasn’t the Vietnamese who allowed Pol Pot to remain alive:

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Yeah, I got more to learn about the whole thing. I want to watch/read more about it. Thanks for the links.

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Three films to watch on the subject, The Killing Fields (a Hollywood take, but still a great film), and documentaries Enemies of the People and Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten, (about the death of homegrown Cambodian Rock and Roll).

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Actually he went through but married his way out of trouble.
There is a neat modern novel about his venture:

Steven Pressfield writes historical fiction, his 2 novels prior to this one dealt with Ancient Greek history.

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But aren’t the hateful and sexist religious fanatics People of Afghanistan?

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That’s a good impression of a neoCon like Andrew Sullivan, or a sympathiser like Hitchens. Remember when we all thought that’s as bad as it would get?

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The Killing Fields is a great film. Highly recommended.

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I also recommend “Cambodia: A book for people who find television too slow” by Brian Fawcett. It was written in the late 80s, and has a distinctly dated but thought-provoking perspective on the long and short term trends in globalism. And a long-running essay on Cambodia. The format is 13 short stories occupying the the top 2/3 of each page, and the long-running essay occupies the bottom 1/3 of each page. The author converted the figurative subtext into literal subtext. It’s one I re-read every few years.

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The point I wanted to make is that the people doing terrible things in Afghanistan are some of the people OF Afghanistan, not unruly invaders that we held at the gates. I surely do not want to absolve the US of our many predictable total failures and sins during our attack and occupation. But most coverage i read uses verbage that suggests the people of Afghanistan are being subject to horrors from outside, not horrors perpetrated by a segment of the Afghanistan population. Like America’s trouble with fascists and nazis, in Afghanistan “the call is from inside the house.” Some percentage of the population not only supports the Taliban, but they Are the Taliban.

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So he cut a knot in Gordion, but tied one in Afghanistan (and other places).

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Sources from antiquity agree that Alexander the Great was confronted with the challenge of the knot, but his solution is disputed.
Both Plutarch and Arrian relate that, according to Aristobulus, Alexander the Great pulled the knot out of its pole pin, exposing the two ends of the cord and allowing him to untie the knot without having to cut through it.
Some classical scholars regard this as more plausible than the popular account.

Something, something lateral thinking.

Also, smells like “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

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That’s also assuming that Alex didn’t just say “me, and that army”, while threatening them with a bit of the old ultra-violence, and the whole story invented later was just a scapegrace.

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Quite a few foreign extremists go there too. You may remember

or for that matter Usama Bin Laden.

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Well, yeah, no-one is saying that the Taliban aren’t natives of Afghanistan or that they haven’t persisted the whole time before and the misguided American occupation that’s left them a power vacuum to fill. That doesn’t change the fact that they’re a plague on the majority of people living in the country. They’re not even good at providing social services along with their religion-inspired violence and hate-mongering (it’s quite a feat to be bigger arseholes than Hamas).

Getting rid of these violent religious nuts is (and was) ultimately an problem the people of Afghanistan have to solve for themselves, assuming they’re so inclined. The West can provide their opponents with support going forward, but the whole idea of sending American soldiers to shove Western-style democracy down the throats of the people there was just another example of the discredited neoCon PNAC fantasy.

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