Friday, May 14, 2010

Afghan Solution

Today is Friday, 14 May 2010.

One of the finest short stories I’ve ever read is “The Cold Equations”, by Tom Godwin, published in Astounding Science Fiction (August 1954).

A serious fever is afflicting human colonists on the planet Woden, and a small spacecraft is dispatched with a curing serum. En route, the pilot discovers a female stowaway, who intends to visit her brother on Woden, imagining the only penalty will be a fine. Unfortunately, the ship doesn’t carry enough fuel to accommodate a passenger: if she remains aboard, the ship will run out of fuel and the colonists will die. The pilot wracks his brain, but “The Cold Equations” of physics admit no succor. To save the colonists, to save her brother, the woman enters the airlock and is expelled into space.

The current situation in Afghanistan, and “wondering” asking for HH’s solution, brings this story to my mind. The current situation is the result of the criminal interventions in Afghanistan by the USSR and the USA/USE.

The precipitating idiocy was the Soviet invasion of December 1979, which liquidated the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government of Hafizullah Amin (deemed insufficiently friendly) and installed the PDPA government of Babrak Karmal. The highest levels of the Soviet military warned of the folly of the intervention, but were overruled by the sclerotic, doddering, and clueless political leadership under Brezhnev.

The first compounding idiocy was the decision of the American Republican leadership, under the sclerotic, doddering, and clueless Reagan, to arm the Afghan jihadi factions as cat’s paws, in order to bleed the USSR military and economy. The second compounding idiocy was the decision of the American Republican leadership under the clueless H. W. Bush to walk away from Afghanistan and condemn it to civil war and social collapse, once the Soviet withdrawal was completed in 1989.

The Taliban won the civil war in 1996, and then were driven from power in 2001. Since 2002, power has been shared by the Karzai Crime Family machine and various regional warlords. Corruption, incompetence, and violence are endemic. It seems obvious that the attitude of many, and perhaps most, Afghans, is: a plague on all your houses.

The Obama regime currently plans to begin withdrawing American troops in July 2011, thirteen and a half months from now.

Does anyone in their right mind believe that significant progress in reversing 30 years of destruction and degradation of the Afghan government, economy, and social infrastructure can be accomplished in 13.5 months?

While there is no scientific framework for calculating the amount of time and treasure required to restore Afghanistan to a decent semblance of peace, justice, and modest prosperity, any estimate fewer than one or two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars is bereft of reason. In any such effort, to guard against Russian and American imperialism, the lead agency would have to be from the United Nations, and equipped with genuine independence and power. Given the way the victorious allies of World War Two created the U.N., stacking the deck in the Security Council with permanent memberships and vetoes, such a scenario is unlikely, to say the least.

The required time and treasure is owed to the Afghan people by Russia and the USA/USE. Alas, neither the Russian nor American empires nor their citizens give the least indication of harbouring the slightest sense of ethical responsibility, nor any inclination to commit themselves.

“The Cold Equations”.

Given the cold equations of the physics of Russian and American greed, self-interest, and ethical turpitude, any detailed solutions I might venture would be stillborn and irrelevant.

Russia and America will continue to thrust the Afghan people out the airlock.

I cannot forbear comment on a remark quoted yesterday in The New York Times by John Mason, a senior chief petty officer (USN, Ret.), regarding last month’s Navy decision to allow women to serve on submarines.

Mr. Mason said the presence of women on submarines would put an end to the kind of camaraderie “that involves close physical contact, like man hugs and bottom pats” that sailors use to cope with the pressure of extended deployments.”

Surely Mason is aware that hundreds of millions of women watch myriad forms of sports entertainment, including basketball, baseball, and British and American football, in which males regularly enjoy “man hugs and bottom pats” with no discernible sense of embarrassment or reluctance.

Is Mason’s attitude typical male chauvinist woman-hate, or are he and his ilk merely afraid of competent female competition?

(See article here:


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