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Afghanistan: Imaginary Nation

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posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 03:46 PM
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Afghanistan is only outlaw territory.

Afghanistan is not a country because some mythical general Afghanar conquered all the territory, it is simply the left over remnants that are not Iran, not Iraq, not Turkey, not Pakistan, not India, not the Soviet Union, etc.

This nationless terrain & peoples have been the killing ground of numerous empires & modern nations. It is all the miscellaneous left over pieces of not-nation.
The stuff that just wasn't worth the effort to subdue & hold.

Afghanistan is not a country on the map,

it is a hole in the map with no country in it.

We in the US are forever chasing down this imaginary 'nation', like racing after banners in the vestibule of Dante's inferno.

On Meet the Press, someone who lives in proximity to Afghanis, said if you show them the outline of Afghanistan on a map they have no idea what you are showing them. I will bet they think you are a little loopy when you start taking about that imaginary place called 'Afghanistan'. They probably smile nervously to humor your mental lapse.

So we are trying to nation build in a place where the actual people there don't even conceive of the territory, let alone that there would be some single unified 'national' government over it.

It's the geography, Sherlock.

No readily navigable river, no ocean front to sail on, not even flat terrain to easily build roads for transport & communications. Steep, rugged, lonely terrain, with no forests to speak of, & a harsh climate.

Many fragmented, small populations of people in isolated valleys who either manage to take care of themselves or they simply won't get taken care of. This also favors independent, self-reliant & somewhat cantankerous people.
It means you have many diverse ethnic factions, not just a few.

'Afghanis' have no indigenous unified identity. Not even close.

Even if one could magically create a really wonderful, honest, efficient government in Kabul, it still would be prohibitively expensive to provide goods, services & utilities over this vast, really rugged terrain.
It would not be cost effective.

Afghanistan is not the doughnut, nor is it the doughnut hole the baker removes & fries up into a sweet treat. Afghanistan is the empty hole in the doughnut, but American romantics want to imagine it is or can be turned into that sweet delicious treat. But there is absolutely nothing there to start with, it is a void, an emptiness where something is Not.

We are fighting for an imaginary nation, which is in fact an outlaw territory. It more resembles the more problematic aspects of the US's wild west than anything else.

The supposed government in Kabul is just a bunch of warlords, thugs, & petty criminals who have situated themselves in bureaucracy to channel as much of the US tax payer dollars being squandered there & to accumulate power.

They have absolutely no notion of 'civic interests', 'collective good' or 'national identity or pride'.

The people at large have not even the inkling of the imaginary 'country' of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan is not a nation, except in the rest of the world's silly imaginations, it is just so much unincorporated outlaw territory.

All the proposals to stay longer in Afghanistan all require that some imagined 'good' national government arise.
That just isn't what arises there organically.
It is both logically/logistically impossible as well as unsustainably inorganic.
It certainly isn't what we find there now.

After 8 plus years there, how many more do we waste vast sums of money, lives & national respect chasing after some people's romantic pipe dreams?

We want to imagine, as always, we are fighting the 'good fight', but in reality we are just modern day Don Quixotes insanely charging at windmills,

bankruptingly EXPENSIVE windmills,

and killing many people & creating terrorists in the process.

Drop the romance,
Get real,
Get out.

Serve the American people's interests for a change.




posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 04:16 PM
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Not too long ago on NPR I heard testimony from a US citizen now living in Afghanistan about the citizenry. It seems that the people are susceptible to propaganda by the Taliban, and are therefor likely to support them, or at the least, not resent them . Should the US just stop shooting and start a massive counter-propaganda campaign to turn the locals into fervent foes of radicals? If anything, it would probably be a cheaper campaign.

[edit on 27-6-2010 by azguyblahblah]



posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 06:59 PM
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It is like we are trying hard to imagine more there than there is.

Like seeing a 'face' in the clouds. We are sort of programmed by expectations to 'see' nations, even where they don't even begin to exist in reality.

A propaganda campaign would be cheaper, but maybe once again we might be trying too hard. Maybe a generic literacy & education program would be better, but there is no government infrastructure to even begin with.

To my mind it would make vastly more sense to negotiate with less radical factions of taliban & any indigenous groups.
Sadly i wouldn't focus on the plight of the Afghan people, but they have been managing one way or another for centuries without us.
We can't expect to achieve a modern nation type outcome when there is just so little there to begin with & it is so difficult [impossible] create hardened, robust infrastructure.

To make any difference the Afghan people have to want that change,
but they don't even imagine themselves to be 'Afghan' people at all.

It is like trying to 'build'/construct ice out of liquid water,
it just can't be done.

The only project we could have [and seem to think we have at this point] is
Nation-building,
but this is nation building from the quarks up,
there is virtually nothing to start with,
not even the 'idea' of 'Afghanistan' in the minds of the very people who live there.



posted on Jun, 27 2010 @ 07:03 PM
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They don't even know what a nation is or does.

Basically we would have to sit the people down & explain to them what a nation was,
& then why it might be good for them.

We aren't starting from zero, we are starting from negative 5.




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