Monday, 20 December 2010

Time to Take a Lesson from Alex the Great: Afghanistan is Not to Be Taken

Thirty-one years ago this week, I remember nursing our little red-haired baby boy while I listened to news of the Soviet Union invading Afghanistan. Memories of the American misadventure in Vietnam were very recent, and I was so happy that this small person would never be drafted by the country he was born in--Canada--to go off and fight in a foreign war of such stupidity.

He wasn't, of course, but the news this morning is of another Canadian soldier being killed by the quaintly-named "improvised explosive device." Corporal Steve Martin of the Royal 22e Regiment would have been 25 this week. The official picture shows him as a big-eared, affable-looking red head, who had arrived in Kandahar only three weeks before. His death is the 154th Canadian casualty in this war that has been going on so long.

You'd think that by know the military giants of this world would have realized what that other red-haired soldier learned more than 2000 years ago. Alexander the Great never was able to hold the highlands of Afghanistan, and nobody has succeeded since then. Somehow an accommodation must be found with the local people. If change is going to come, it will be by means other than military.

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