(NNPA) - Denial is not a river in Egypt. It is a condition where we allow a problem to exist and fester into a cancerous state that will cause incredible damage and harm to our culture. It will eat at our national security and economy. Such is the situation with the war in Afghanistan. What we have done is the exact same thing that was done by the old Soviet Union in 1980. It got into a war that it could not win and refused to face that reality until it drained their armed forces of precious soldiers and morale. More importantly it helped break the economic back of the Soviet Union which would later be dismantled.
The fact is no one has defeated the land commonly referred to as Afghanistan. Alexander the Great could not do it in 250 B.C. The great Genghis Khan marched all the way to the German border during the middle ages but had to go around Afghanistan. We, the United States and few others, are being naïve and completely bullheaded about the fact that we can't win this war. How many more precious lives and billions of dollars do we have to spend before we too, like the others, will turn away embarrassed and defeated.
One important factor is that this land is not a true nation. Its perceived borders have been set by the British colonialists. They have grouped people of various cultures, languages and governmental structures. They do not live as one and no matter who we put in power like a puppet the majority of the other tribes will resist and disrespect. The leadership of each sect and the economy of each are local and not organized. It is no country despite what we and the past colonialists want to make it. The current literacy rate of the area is less than 10 percent which means there will be no organized industry, working class or political leadership in the future and perhaps we are centuries away from that. There are many languages spoken by the people. Most speak the two most popular languages – Pashto and Dari (quite similar to Farsi, the Iranian language).
Right now, the biggest foe of ours is the Taliban. They were once our ally who we armed and encouraged to fight the Soviet Union. After we let them go, they hooked up with Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden and pointed their guns at the United States. The Taliban live in several nations - the propped up Afghanistan, Pakistan and a little taste of Iran. They roam all three areas and consider it their home. They are much like the Kurds. Kurdistan, not a country, is located in Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran and it is a thorn in the sides of all four nations.
Such is the way of the tribes of Afghanistan. They fight foreigners and if they aren't around they will fight each other. There is no true centralized government. What we have there now is a group of gangsters headed by the Karzai family which rapes, steals and exploits every level of culture and economic venues. The biggest drug dealer in the nation is none other than the current President's brother. It is corrupt from top to bottom and they don't really care much for us except for the protection we provide them from their everlasting enemies. We should think of Afghanistan as we do Somalia. It is a perpetual war zone with no peace coming anytime soon. We are fooling ourselves if we think we can make it happen.
Yes, we got into this mess as a result of the attack on New York and the Pentagon (9/11). Rightfully we were mad and wanted big revenge. First we wanted Bin Laden and the destruction of Al Qaeda. We haven't gotten Bin Laden but Al Qaeda is certainly on the run and out of Afghanistan. The vast majority of us, including myself, were hell bent on going to Afghanistan and kick some major Jihad butt. Everyone in Congress voted on the war but one, the Honorable Barbara Lee. History shows she was right. We moved with our hearts and madness not with wisdom.
Congresswoman Lee is the daughter of an Army officer and was born in a military hospital at Ft. Bliss, Texas. She knows the deal when it is necessary and reasonable. We did not. We scorned her and jumped into this pile of "quick sand" like so many other empires have done.
It is time to go. The land will continue to be what it is. The corruption has been around for many decades and all we are doing is trying to make it into something that it is not. It is not our first mistake – Vietnam for one. The sooner we leave the fewer precious lives we will not have to donate to this wretched place. Bring our troops home!
Harry Alford is the co-founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: [email protected]