All the metaphors and images do, however, suggest one thing -- that Afghanistan isn't real to American leaders, much as Vietnam wasn't to an earlier generation of them. It's not grasped as a sophisticated culture with a long and rich history. Those in charge see it and its people only through the reductive and distorting lens of their never-ending war and then reduce what little they see to terms that play well to politicians and the public back home. Stalemate? We can break it. Platform? We can firm it up and launch attacks from it. Petri dish? We can contain it, then control it, and finally eradicate it with our lethal medicines. What they refuse to do, however, is widen that lens, deepen their vision, and see the Afghan people as a richly complex society that Washington will never (and should never try to) dominate and reshape into our image of a country.
Wednesday, March 01, 2017
We don't really know much about the nations of the world
From William Astore, retired Lieutenant Colonel