Today’s MOZEN: When Will We Ever Learn

Frank LoBuono

Within the debacle that Afghanistan has become there are many lessons to be learned. If we do not head them, we will continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Those of us who lived through the Viet Nam era (which, by the way HAD produced similarly disastrous results) are particularly disturbed by this scenario.

Perhaps the lesson most important to grasp is that the American Way is not the Only Way. So-called Nation Building without a firm grasp on the culture and traditions of other peoples is doomed to failure, especially since so much of it is dripping with a false sense of patriotism. Make no mistake about it, like Viet Nam, so much of the conflict, pain and suffering — on both sides — are based on LIES — bald faced lies. And, it happens ALL of the time!

Why?

Well, in my mind, it’s simple: FTM, i.e. Follow The Money. If you look at the profit margins of those who form The Military-Industrial Complex, i.e. those who build the war machines, you will find your answer: $$$$$. So, please stop believing that we send our sons and daughters thousands of miles to fight, bleed, and die for some nebulous, altruistic ideal. If war was a business (which it actually IS), that would be called the sales pitch. And, the product produces handsome results for its investors.

Another salient point to be made is this: A dedicated, fanatical opponent can accomplish the seemingly impossible. This was verified in Viet Nam and again in Afghanistan. In Viet Nam, a seriously outnumbered and outgunned North Vietnamese resistance fought both the French and us with such consistent ferocity that our will to resist them was eventually broken. They were willing to risk EVERYTHING for their cause. We simply were not.

The same is true for Afghanistan. People questioned, “how could a relative few, mostly poorly equipped, rag-tag bunch of poorly educated fighters, i.e. The Taliban, overthrow an entire country, backed by the military might of the US and other nations in a matter of weeks if not days?”

Well, as with the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese army, the Taliban were willing to do anything (yes, even commit atrocities) in the name of their cause. They were willing to die AND kill for their vision of what they wanted their country to be! Obviously, the other Afghans did not believe strongly enough in what our vision was for them.

The government WE installed was woefully and willfully corrupt and the people were not willing to fight to save it. Once again, if you follow the $ you will find it to be the real root of the problem. It should be obvious to most, seemingly except for those who actually pay the bill, i.e. the soldiers: the Afghan government was motivated by greed — the Taliban by ideology. And, the result is clear.

What frustrates me most is that we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Unfortunately, in my lifetime alone we have experienced the same disastrous scenario on multiple occasions including not only in Viet Nam but Somalia, Iraq, and other countries in every corner of the globe. When I think of it, my mind drifts to these lines from Pete Seeger’s seminal antiwar song, Where Have All The Flowers Gone:

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time passing?

Where have all the soldiers gone, long time ago?

Where have all the soldiers gone?

Gone to graveyards everyone

Oh, when will they ever learn?

Oh, when will they ever learn?

Oh, when WE ever learn???