Those who forget history...

Via ThinkProgress, we have Fred Barnes dismissing the resurgence of the Taliban:

On Fox News Sunday, Fred Barnes argued that war in Iraq is “so much more important” than the war in Afghanistan. Iraq is a “country in the heart of the Middle East, one of the most important countries there, an oil-producing country.” He added, “Compare that with there’s a Taliban offensive in southeastern Afghanistan. You talk about the middle of nowhere!”

It's because of this sort of conservative myopia that the attacks of 9/11 were able to come out of "the middle of nowhere." The Clinton Administration pushed the incoming Bush team to focus on Al Qaeda and Afghanistan. The Bush team wanted to focus on China and Iraq, so they blew off those warnings. And 9 months later…

Meanwhile, Osama bin Laden has accomplished another of his missions, this one announced in 1998. In an interview at the time, bin Laden declared his desire to raise the price of oil to $144. Thanks to the pointless invasion and occupation of Iraq, oil hit that benchmark last week. Bin Laden, of course, remains free, perhaps because he's "not that concerned about bin Laden," and doesn't "spend that much time on him." Why not? Because "His network, his host government has been destroyed."

If so, why is Fred Barnes talking about a resurgent Taliban? Why, more importantly, is the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying that we have too few troops to successfully repel the Taliban's resurgence.

"I don't have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach, to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq," Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon. "Afghanistan has been and remains an economy-of-force campaign, which by definition means we need more forces there."

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And those Taliban are fierce soldiers: they fought off Russian spetznaz. In comparison, NATO troops are just creampuffs.

I'm going to sound a bit of a "snobbish European" here, so sorry in advance.

I think Americans (particulary policy-makers) need to read a lot more European history.

Invading Iraq? Yup, Britain did that in 1914. And 1942.
War in Afghanistan? Yup, Britain did that in 1839, 1878 and 1919.
Cold War with Russia? We started that in 1813.
War with Iran? Got that T-shirt in 1856.

My point isn't that Britain is amazing or anything, it's that America is doing exactly the same thing we were doing a hundred or even two hundred years ago, and yet everyone is amazed that the consquences are exactly the same.

I mean, look at Afghanistan. The Russians were trying to conquer it from 1810 to 1980, and they failed. Britain was trying to conquer it from the Indian side from 1810 right up until after WWI, and she failed. At one point we occupied the country for decades, only to get slaughtered. The U.S. have been there for 7 years, and already the cracks are starting to show.

People just never seem to think in the long term, and I blame schools - there is an utter failure in the education system to make children realize that history isn't something that happened a hundred years ago, it's a long thread of consequence that is still playing out today.

So is it safe to assume that KC jones is posting from Afghanistan? =)

I thought not....I'm betting you have another chickenhawk troll.

Me? I grew up in the military. I know the kind of bullshit the families and enlisted people have to put up with.

The troops and their familis have my full support. The chickenhawks and policymakers, onthe other hand, deserve all the criticism they get, even from those who haven't served.

There is a small part of me that likes Heilein's idea that military or similar government service should be a requirement to vote, but that ideal is just that, an ideal. Military service is no guarantee that those serving, or who have served, really appreciate the freedoms they theoretically defended. We see it everyday in veterans and current members who feel completely justified in attempting to deny some of those freedoms to their fellow citizens (ref Weinstein and the otehr athiest and non-xian military support groups).


Military service shouldn't be required to vote. What should be required is the basic education in history and current affairs that most people don't seem to get. Most people voting probably couldn't answer 10 basic questions about what was on the news yesterday.