Friday, August 13, 2021

My Inevitable Thoughts About Afghanistan

 The first few are the inevitable ones.

As soon as they have been attended to I have plans to wander off into a corollary and a non-sequitur.

I lived in Saigon from November 1966 to mid-December 1967.

I was a part of the war effort that called itself 7AF-DITD.

I can't remember what that means.

I never did know what it was that it did.

Nor did I care.

Because it was obvious that at some point the amount of money and lives that the United States was throwing at a ridiculous and unconscionable mission - suppressing the legitimate desires of a people who were tired of being sliced and diced by the whims of colonialism and the late breaking pissing contests generated by a bi-polar word - was going to have to be discontinued: we were proving beyond all doubt that we didn't have enough money or enough (easily committed) lives to keep a unified, probably communist, Vietnam from coming into existence.

I got on a plane in December of 1967 and vowed that I would never think about that place ever again.

I couldn't keep that vow, not even for the duration of the flight to California.

So, several years later, seeing the helicopters trying to remove  Americans from the roof of the Embassy while simultaneously trying to knock Vietnamese from the ropes - in short, an American debacle - caused some twinges.

I have already begun to have flash forwards of that scene again; but this time the helicopters are in Kabul.

And we did the same thing with less drama in Iraq.

I don't recall helicopters taking Americans off the roof of the embassy in Baghdad.

And here's the corollary.

Why don't we pass a law forbidding the United States doing stupid and threateningly expensive shit in other countries?

Now for the non-sequitur.

I think I have heard that the Taliban are Sunni.

Iran is Shia.

Iran has hegemonic designs on its entire near periphery, including Afghanistan.

It looks like, as we get the last people off the roof - this weekend, say - the Iranians will move in, defend Kabul and drive the Sunnis back into Pakistan.

And add a buffer state.

If they can defy history and keep it.

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