December 2, 2009

Afghanistan: The March of Folly Continues


“A phenomenon noticeable throughout history regardless of place or period is the pursuit by governments of policies contrary to their own interests. Mankind, it seems, makes a poorer performance of government than of almost any human activity. In this sphere, wisdom, which may be defended as the exercise of judgment acting on experience, common sense and available information, is less operative and more frustrated than it should be. Why do holders of high office so often act contrary to the way reason points and enlightened self-interest suggests? Why does intelligent mental process seem so often not to function?” […]
“The follies…begin with continuous over-reacting: in the invention of endangered ‘national security,’ the invention of ‘vital interest,’ the invention of a ‘commitment’ which rapidly assumed a life of its own, casting a spell over the inventor.”
– Barbara Tuchman, “The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam,” Alfred A. Knopf, 1984. Quotes from Google Books and a review by Uitlander.

“The United States Empire is following a long line of empires and conquerors that have met their end in Afghanistan. The Median and Persian Empires, Alexander the Great, the Seleucids, the Indo-Greeks, Turks, Mongols, British and Soviets all met the end of their ambitions in Afghanistan.”
– Dahr Jamail, “Afghanistan: Where Empires Go to Die,”, Sept. 17, 2009.

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