Tuesday, August 3, 2010


I remember in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 discussing Afghanistan with a learned Washington DC colleague. She expressed her frustration with all the pundits, talking heads and supposed experts on tv who kept repeating the mantra that Afghanistan has never been conquered. She said that she starting counting the times Afghanistan has been conquered and ran out of fingers and toes long before she got to the present-day.

Along those lines, here's an article that declares it is time to "bury the graveyard."
One of those myths, for example, is that Afghanistan is inherently unconquerable thanks to the fierceness of its inhabitants and the formidable nature of its terrain. But this isn't at all borne out by the history. "Until 1840 Afghanistan was better known as a 'highway of conquest' rather than the 'graveyard of empires,'" Barfield points out. "For 2,500 years it was always part of somebody's empire, beginning with the Persian Empire in the fifth century B.C."
Of this hardly means that the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan will succeed. But I find it interesting how certain pithy memes become so embedded in our collective consciousness that no facts can dislodge them.

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