(FinalCall.com) – President Obama, on Afghanistan, take your lesson from history.
The axiom: “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”
Both the world and the American people are now asking, what is the U.S. strategic interest in Afghanistan and is it vital to America’s security? Is a military victory possible? What do the people of this region want? Can America and the West tell them what kind of leadership or government they should have?
Are the Taliban or Al-Qaeda–with no air force, navy and tanks–able to impose their rule on millions of people in the Afghan/Pakistani region, who don’t want them?
The American political leadership needs to “wake up and smell the coffee” and take a lesson from history. There are four historical references that the Obama administration should consider as they try to handle Afghanistan.
First Lesson: France, when it occupied French Indochina (Vietnam) from 1887 until the revolts of 1946, led by Ho Chi Minh. The French should have learned that there is no stopping a people who are determined to liberate their land from any foreign occupation, especially under an inspired leader, whose inspiration led them to fight for freedom to the bitter end. Read a brief review of the French’s final battle at Dien Bien Phu against General Vo Nguyen Giap, the most distinguished leader next to Ho Chi Minh in the liberation war.
Second Lesson: Algeria, where the French never thought a rag-tag band of Algerians in their determination to be free could force France to leave this most valuable piece of real estate on the North Coast of Africa. Never did the French think that the Algerian soldiers they brought to Indochina to fight for France would become so inspired by the Vietnamese struggle, that they would bring that inspiration home in their liberation struggle to rid Algeria of its occupier–The French!
Third Lesson: The Soviet/Russians in Afghanistan; the mighty Soviet army went into a country where they wanted to prop up a Marxist government and bring services that they thought the people of Afghanistan would appreciate. Then Russians failed to bring the promised services of schools, doctors and infrastructure.
The Soviets learned a lesson that they should have learned from the British Empire and the Mongols. Did the Russians think they could defeat history? So they foolishly leaped in. We were taught by our parents and teachers to look before you leap; look at what? Look at history.
The price for failing to learn the lesson of history for the Soviet/Russians was the death of over 20,000 young, Russian soldiers. Thousands with permanent injuries, thousands still in mental institutions and thousands more addicted to heroin. You would have to ask the Russians how they feel about the thousands that accepted Islam while fighting an unwinnable war.
The Russians left Afghanistan defeated and humiliated. Their country was also divided over the unpopular war it waged in Afghanistan–a war which left mothers and fathers crying over the loss of their sons, wondering what they died for.
Fourth Lesson: America’s own Vietnam disaster. The U.S. lost 58,000-plus young soldiers in a war that should not have been. Dr. Martin Luther King tried to stir the conscience of America’s leadership and people in his famous speech delivered at Riverside Church in New York on April 4, 1967.
One year to the day, Dr. King was tragically assassinated in Memphis, Tenn. It took another six years and a divided country before the U.S. government realized there was no possibility of winning the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese had developed a culture of war and, even with their losses, they were prepared to fight on for at least an additional 20 years! The discussion should not be if President Obama should send 20,000 or 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan. The discussion should be about a viable exit plan and how we can bring our young men and women home.
I, like millions of other Americans want to see a President whom we love and respect be successful in cleaning up the mess that the Bush/Cheney White House made of America and the world. In learning the lessons of history there are two-out of print books the president’s research team should review. The first is “Bloods: An Oral History of The War in Vietnam” by Black veteran Wallace Terry. The second is “War Without Mercy: Race and Power in the War with Japan” By John W. Dower.
“Bloods” depicts young, Black Americans suffering and the madness it produced in the vets returning home from the war in Vietnam. Dower’s book talks about how the soldiers were systematically taught to dehumanize the Japanese so they could exterminate them without mercy. This same book mentions the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
Some on the right in this country are professional doom peddlers who say loudly and clearly that they hope President Barack Obama fails. Many of us are praying for the President’s success and that the Almighty will guide his every step, his every word and his many decisions in guiding this nation and its people.