Friday, November 19, 2010
Deja Vu all over again...
110 Months in Afghanistan: How Do You Say Hubris in Russian?
In a few weeks the US will mark its 110th month of combat operations in Afghanistan -- the same length of time as the Soviet Union's own military presence in that country. With the media focused this week on the planned announcement in Lisbon of a US and NATO commitment to sustained combat operations in Afghanistan until 2014 (or longer), I thought it would be helpful to look back and see how the senior leadership in the Soviet Communist Party explained the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in an internal memorandum to its party members in May 1988.
What is so striking is how by simply replacing the words Soviet Union, Karmal and ruble with the words United States, Karzai and dollar and by updating the casualty numbers and fiscal costs, this document just doesn't only remain intact, but could be read aloud today by the Obama Administration.