Archive for February, 2009

The Graveyard Of Empires

General David Petraeus, the dude John McCain said during the 2008 presidential campaign we should all regard as a sure-as-shootin’ infallible oracle on all things military, has, according to the Washington Post, pronounced Afghanistan “the graveyard of empires,” and more or less counseled the Obama administration that it cannot hope to “win” in that region.

In addition to more combat troops, Petraeus called for “a surge in civilian capacity” to help rebuild villages, train local police forces, tackle corruption in the Afghan government and reduce the country’s thriving opium trade. He also suggested that the odds of success were low, given that foreign military powers have historically met with defeat in Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan has been known over the years as the graveyard of empires,” he said. “We cannot take that history lightly.”

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French, Germans Balk At Increasing Afghan Commitment; McGovern Warns “Military Power No Solution”

Vice President Joe Biden traveled this weekend to Munich to cajole Europeans into committing more troops to Afghanistan, while NATO Secretary General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer Saturday complained: “I’m frankly concerned when I hear the United States is planning a major commitment for Afghanistan but other allies are already ruling out doing more.”

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France and Germany, however, which, pace Russia, sacrificed in the 20th Century more of their citizens’ lives to military madness than any other Western countries, do not seem much inclined to dispatch more bodies to be shot and blown to shreds in a region that challenged even Genghis Khan, and in recent decades saw the British and Russians beaten like gongs.

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When I Worked

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