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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

This is a silly leather-armchair-by-the-window editorial.

You are imposing concepts on a place which, in general, has no more grasp of them than they do quantum mechanics.

Afghanistan never has been any thing but a collection of tribes. It is not a country in the sense that we understand. It has no meaningful central government, no bureaucracy, and few roads.

Yes, it is a colored patch on our maps, but even its borders are vague, the main border with Pakistan simply being a line drawn by a British official about a century ago.

For the people living on each side of that border, the so-called Durand Line, it is meaningless. They are tribal people, the same tribe living on both sides of that line.

Afghanistan is nothing but a collection of tribes, many of them living impoverished, hardscrabble lives in an environment of barren mountains and deserts.

They are hard people with ancient, unpleasant customs and attitudes, owing to their harsh circumstances which is precisely why the idea of defeating them is, and always has been, ridiculous.

A place like this only makes progress through steady economic growth, and you don’t get that from guns and bombs, America’s idea of a human-rights mission.

America invaded to kill people, not to help anyone, and Canada has been sadly dragged along for the ride.

The world is so much more complicated than this view. It is not a place entirely to our liking. Ancient, anti-progressive customs and attitudes come with the territory of poverty and economic backwardness, much as malaria or high infant mortality.

Go try enforcing anti-homophobia in Jamaica or rural Africa. Go try teaching women’s rights in rural India or South America. In any of these places, you could be killed just for your words.

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