Wednesday, September 19, 2012

History Repeats Itself

Jeffrey Simpson, in today's Globe and Mailrefers to an essay written by British MP and historian Rory Stewart. The subject of the essay is the British invasion and occupation of Afghanistan from 1838 until 1842:

“Whatever decisions were made, there would have been no happy ending. A foreign army, isolated in Kabul, propping up an unpopular ruler in the face of a growing insurgency could not succeed. To maintain security, they needed to create a new Afghan army, which required taxation and expenditure. This created enemies and required a resource base, which Afghanistan did not have. They therefore relied on enormous – and unsustainable – amounts of foreign funding (which in turn fuelled corruption.)”

The passage begs the question which Pete Seeger asked in "Where Have All The Flowers Gone:" When will they ever learn? The president who launched the war possesses a bachelor's degree from Yale and a graduate degree from Harvard. His vice president dropped out of a doctoral program. But both men had actively sought to avoid military service.

It's something to think about when Stephen Harper, who likes to burnish his credentials as an economist -- with a Master's degree from the University of Alberta -- talks about the need to use force against Iran. Mr. Harper couldn't make it through boot camp.

There is a knowledge that goes beyond advanced degrees. Unfortunately, the people who are beating the drums of war these days don't possess it. And, if we follow their lead, history will repeat itself.


lungta said...

short answer ....they don't.
Afghanistan may be held up as the example for all resistance in the future
as the country that did not fall to Russia, the us and NATO.

the core human failing is the inability to admit you are wrong
no matter the facts presented... no matter the damage.
a position is held and defended because part of position is the belief that you will be tested by adversaries in your rightness.
Satan will assail you
the communists will assail you
the socialists will assail you
therefore the better the argument against you
the more you have to resist as it is only the seductions of that particular Satan.
the hope of dialog on the web resolving differences has been replaced with a perfect venue for further polarization...just watch the video
so we are not going to learn
none of us
we all have a random set of principles which we will defend to the death
imaginary sky gods, sexual taboos, patterns of human conduct, political institutions
and no one can show that it is silly or just a current passing fad , not the only way it has ever been done , or based on some delusion or past insult or abuse.
they are your beliefs dammit and changing them is not an option.
harper poking at iran is just 100% true to his "endtime" apocalyptic belief that tribulation requires a war of good and evil so baby jesus can come back
my side is on gods side and therefore you are evil
your argument however factual, logical, humanistic, and progressive
is not gods so is invalid.

Owen Gray said...

What you're saying, lungta, is that we suffer from terminal certitude.

It that's true, then God help us all -- however you define Him or Her.