'...It is perplexing that advocates of a long-term engagement in Afghanistan—folks who often reject social engineering as a tool of public policy—accept the idea that a nation with scores of ethnic groups, widespread corruption, no industry, and no bonding of language or nationality can be coaxed into constructing a stable and lasting democratic society...
'Naturally, the invasion made sense after the 9/11 attacks. Fighting terrorism with force makes sense. The subsequent military victory was worth celebrating. But if every military engagement includes an open-ended plan for nation building that pins our fortunes on the predilections of a backward nation, we are, indeed, setting ourselves up for failure.'
...conveniently ignoring that four decades ago Afghanistan was pretty much a normal, if backward state. Hirsanyi brings to bear some very odd arguments. 'If most of us agree that America has no business foisting its notions of wrong and right on other cultures, why, then, did we spend hundreds of millions of dollars eradicating poppy crops (one of the only productive crops of the Afghan farmers)?' Er, no they didn't. One of the shocking/surprising things about the Afghan campaign is that poppy eradication has NOT gone on in most of Afghanistan, specifically BECAUSE it would make the ISAF forces so unpopular. Very recently, this policy has been changed, and both poppy eradication and hunting down the drug kingpins have begun in earnest. Good. Just because Afghan farmers are poor gives them absolutely no right to earn a living feeding the habits of heroin users in London. Sorry, but no.
Oh, and also: if we have all the guns, the money and the political clout, our 'notions of wrong and right' are the ones which will be adhered to. Suttee anyone? Honour killings anyone? Murdering apostates from islam anyone? If we weren't so utterly feeble these days, we would be impressing forcibly on the Afghans how primitive their ideas are, and how much better for all concerned life is when you live like we do. Girls get to go to school! Women get to go outside all by themselves! People can worship whoever they please, or worship no god at all! People can live with people who are not like them without murdering them! Its great, really, once you get over the nostalgia for your old macho, murderous culture.
Think of it this way- the only reason the Afghans are muslims is because when the Mongols came the shock and awe was so impressive, even the Afghans took note and got with the program. That was pretty much the last time the Afghans took note of anybody. Lesson? They will accept teaching, but only from the biggest, baddest, meanest mofos on the planet. Set to, Marines!