The Berkeley Planet
Wednesday June 29, 2011
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Letters to the Editor
Tuesday June 28, 2011
Not Good in History
President Obama [announced] a withdrawal of up to 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year. Under the plan, the United States would still have some 67,000 troops, plus thousands of contractors, in Afghanistan at the start of 2013—the same total as before last year’s surge.
The U.S. leaders often are just not good on history. But the British started trying to pacify the Pashtun tribes of what are now northern Pakistan and southern Afghanistan, and were worried about the fanaticism of the akhond of Swat, and they sent tens of thousands of troops up there. They fought the Third Anglo-Afghan War. They fought engagements against the Mahsud tribe way back in the Teens and ’20s. And by 1947, as the British rule was ending in that region, it was more in turmoil and less under control than it ever had been before.
So the full might of the British Empire was unable to bring order to those regions. And the idea that a relatively temporary American and relatively small expeditionary force can go into some of these provinces and shape them up for the long term, that was just very unlikely.
Ted Rudow III, MA