I used to write now and again about the war in Afghanistan, but stopped doing so quite some time ago because it seemed like something nobody could really give a shit about. Despite all the loftiest and well-meaning intentions in the world, the war in that country is, I believe, fundamentally flawed in nature and inevitably doomed to failure. After all, history teaches us that this harsh, indomitable land is reputed to be the “graveyard of empires” — a remote, forbiddingly hostile place where many swaggering imperial powers have ultimately encountered quite tragic outcomes in the past and have been sadly humiliated. Why this fateful and completely obvious lesson persistently goes unlearned and unheeded remains something of a mystery.
In any event, and for whatever reasons, Canada is committed to the place. And at great cost in “blood and treasure” as our American friends like to say — at least, that is, until 2011 when we can thankfully wash our hands of the whole sorry affair, having acquitted ourselves with much honour while presumably garnering some international plaudits and NATO credits for our troubles in the process. But in the meantime, rather disturbing stories have surfaced about the treatment of Afghan women at the hands of the Karzai government we’ve been backing for the past several years now.
Perhaps, as they’ve done with me, these new developments raise some rather unsettling questions about why we’re fighting in that distant country doing what whatever it is we’re supposed to be doing there.