Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Graveyard of Empires

Although there is some controversy about this, Afghanistan does have a history of having defeated most everyone that has tried to conquer them (or it, or all of it, or permanently, conclusively, or however you wish to look at it). That is, for over a thousand years various empires have invaded and tried to conquer the area that we think of as Afghanistan: the Persian Empire, Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan, the British, Russians, and now the U.S., and all have failed to permanently take over that difficult country (some may have reigned for relatively short periods of time). I believe the claim that Afghanistan has never been conquered is a bit misleading because for most of history there was no Afghanistan as a viable national entity. Like many such places Afghanistan was a clan-based society with various clans competing for power, with any given clan joining with others at one time and still others at another time. The one thing that could potentially bring a number of clans together for the same purpose was the invasion of their lands by outside forces. The British, for example, learned this the hard way when their military suffered the greatest slaughter in their history of colonialism. It may be true that they later returned and defeated some of the Afghans, but they never managed to control them. The Afghans have been known throughout history as savage fighters who have not hesitated to soundly defeat and even humiliate their enemies. It is said the Russians may have succeeded if it had not been for the intervention of the U.S., providing Afghans with the means to defeat them. Be all this as it may, there is little doubt the Afghans have been extremely successful at defending their country against all invaders and have a well-deserved reputation for doing so.

We are presently spending billions a month to teach them how to defend themselves! Hahahahahaha! Absurdity knows no bounds!

Of course that is not exactly what we are doing. We are, depending upon what nonsense you are listening to at the moment, engaged in “nation building,” improving the lot of Afghan women, bringing democracy to them, protecting them from themselves, altruistically looking after their best interests, or whatever. In fact we are trying to maintain control of the Middle East, particularly with respect to oil, just as we have been doing in Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and other nations in that part of the world since oil became of such importance. Afghanistan does have quite a lot of as yet untapped resources, including oil, but is also the potential location of an oil pipeline to exploit the oilfields of central Asia, bypassing Russia, and keeping oil from China. You may hear other explanations for why we continue our “war” in Afghanistan, but trust me, it is primarily about oil and other resources.

It appears that Eric Kantor, failing to get his way in negotiations about the deficit, has taken his ball and gone home, so I guess at the moment the negotiations are going nowhere. I understand he wants the golf buddies, Obama and Boehner, to work it out. Unfortunately, Boehner is still resistant to giving Obama the handicap strokes he deserves. If it has not been obvious for the past couple of years it is becoming increasingly obvious now that Republicans are more interested in making Obama fail than they are in the well-being of our country. They block anything Obama and the Democrats try to do to increase employment and help bring us out of the recession and then blame Obama for the failing. I’m not sure how obvious this is to the public at large but there is no doubt this has been the Republican strategy all along. When they vowed to be the party of “no” they have kept to their vow no matter what damage to our nation and citizens has resulted. Look at what the Republican Governors have been doing in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, and other states and try to imagine what they would do if they should regain the White House.

I am beginning to believe Republicans are actually out to kill us all. I’m not sure this is simply due to ignorance, greed, or their belief in end-times. They tend to deny global warming, the most important and dangerous threat mankind has ever faced, they support the very corporations that in search of endless profit are polluting the oceans and the environment in general, they appear to have no interest in preserving anything for future generations other than tax breaks, and are, in my opinion, totally irresponsible in their quest to cripple Obama and regain power. One Republican recently referred to Al Gore as a member of the “loony left” because he has chastised Obama for his inaction on global warming and the environment. He will unhappily change his tune after it is too late. In the meantime let us by all means build more nuclear energy plants, produce more plastic bags, engage in more mountain-top mining, overfishing, and overconsumption of all kinds. It’s the American way!

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