Am I in Mexico yet? I want to go away and forget about all this, and pray I don't return to a police state.
Historian David McCullough was on KQED the other day, and he quoted a former Librarian of Congress: "Trying to plan a future without a sense of the past is like trying to plant cut flowers." The interviewer asked him, "Why should we study the past? What interest does it hold for us?". He answered, "Well, you know, there's not really such a thing as the past. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson didn't walk around saying 'Gee, isn't this quaint, living in the past like this'. Everyone lives in their present." Also: "Nothing ever had to happen the way it did. We learn in school that this thing happened, then this other thing, then this next, in logical order, when in reality any little thing could have been otherwise and changed the whole sequence."
We can't win in Afghanistan. No one wins in Afghanistan. We don't have any intelligence operatives on the ground. We don't have people familiar with the culture and language. These people fought the British, then the Soviets, and Afghanis who fled to Pakistan because of the Soviet occupation have vowed to return to fight the United States if necessary. The geography is custom-built for repelling an invasion, and the country was already destroyed by war ten years ago. We're going to scare these people?
There's some hope. There are occasional voices of restraint. The representative from my district, Barbara Lee, was the lone vote against the authorization of military force; this is part of her statement (either that, or it's the full statement and a local peace action group added some words for their posters). I will probably vote for her again.
It is a strange thing, that it takes so long to build and create, and only a moment to destroy.