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Afghanistan: Who Would Be King?

No invader has ever ruled the people of Afghanistan.

The army of the Macedonian adventurer, Alexander (the Great), marched into Afghanistan and quickly marched out to other adventures.

The "Man Who Would Be King" ventured into Afghanistan, the land of mountains, and returned only as a withered head in a bag. Rudyard Kipling wrote this metaphor to teach the armies who would be King in Afghanistan. But the leaders of armies have shown no evidence of learning.

In the first British war in Afghanistan, 1838-42, Akbar Khan killed Sir William Hay Macnaghten with his own hands. Whereupon 4,500 British troops march out of Kabul but few survived.

The second war, 1878-81, created the Durand Line -- the hiding place of Osama bin Laden.

The third war, 1919-21, accomplished nothing. Armies occupying Afghanistan accomplish nothing.

The Russian invasion of Afghanistan, 1979-89, was a major factor in the fall of the Soviet Union.

Then came the Taliban, as barbaric a Muslim regime as ever known, followed by an invasion by the United States in 2001. In 2006 the Taliban are hiding in the mmountains. The United States is the invader who would be King. Kipling could give advice on being King in a land of caves.

Armies march into Afghanistan and march out in lesser numbers. Armies never learn. The German army did not learn from Napolean's trip to Moscow. The English marched into Baku, Crimea, Gallipoli, Afghanistan (three times), and each time marched out again with fewer men. Armies never learn.The American army did not learn from the British and Russian visits to Afghanistan, nor its own visit to Vietnam.

The United States should learn from its generals, George Washington in the north and Nathanael Greene in the south. They hid in hills and swamps and wore out the superior English armies.

Governments rule by the will of the people, including guerillas hiding in the mountains of New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennysylvania and Afghanistan and in the tunnels of Vietnam.

NATO and the United States Army under NATO command will fly out of Afghanistan with fewer men than flew in and little else to show.


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