Strong opinions, weakly held

Tag: Afghanistan

Corollary to Zawinski’s law

Zawinski’s law states:

Every program attempts to expand until it can read mail. Those programs which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

I wonder if there’s a corollary that applies to imperialism.

Every empire attempts to expand until it can occupy Afghanistan. Those empires which cannot so expand are replaced by ones which can.

Where we are in Afghanistan

Australian reporter Paul McGeogh has been covering the war in Afghanistan since its outset. Last week he gave a talk on the state of things in Afghanistan in Australia, using General McChrystal’s report on the state of things in Afghanistan as a hook for predicting what awaits us in the future. It’s a must-read.

Here’s his preview:

That is what makes the 60-page assessment of the conflict by US General Stanley McChrystal a damning document, more because of who he is than what he actually has to say.

The handling of the crisis by the US-led coalition has its many critics. But seeing so many of its shortcomings articulated with all the authority of a top American general makes startling reading. Since the report was leaked in Washington last month, the debate has been narrow, focusing on the question of sending more troops than on what amounts to his condemnation of the conduct of the venture.

The detail is excruciating.

McGeogh’s outlook is pessimistic, but not without good cause. I think at this point it would be impossible for the US to make the kind of commitment necessary to achieve a positive outcome in Afghanistan. So what should we do? It’s looking like it’s “muddle through” or “cut our losses” and muddling through (and pretending we’re building toward success) looks like the popular choice.

Steve McCurry on Afghanistan

National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry probably has as much experience in Afghanistan as anyone in the West. He describes the problems we face, but doesn’t propose any solutions, probably because there aren’t any. Click on the link for the photos alone.

I particularly liked this sentence:

Maybe one definition of hell is that is the place where more effort produces fewer results.

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