11.24.2009

Four lessons on Afghanistan

BY A. AKBAR MUHAMMAD

President Obama, on Afghanistan, take your lesson from history.
The axiom: “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them.”

Both the world and the American people are now asking, what is the U.S. strategic interest in Afghanistan and is it vital to America's security? Is a military victory possible? What do the people of this region want? Can America and the West tell them what kind of leadership or government they should have?

Are the Taliban or Al-Qaeda—with no air force, navy and tanks—able to impose their rule on millions of people in the Afghan/Pakistani region, who don't want them?

The American political leadership needs to “wake up and smell the coffee” and take a lesson from history. There are four historical references that the Obama administration should consider as they try to handle Afghanistan.

First Lesson: France, when it occupied French Indochina (Vietnam) from 1887 until the revolts of 1946, led by Ho Chi Minh. The French should have learned that there is no stopping a people who are determined to liberate their land from any foreign occupation, especially under an inspired leader, whose inspiration led them to fight for freedom to the bitter end. Read a brief review of the French's final battle at Dien Bien Phu against General Vo Nguyen Giap, the most distinguished leader next to Ho Chi Minh in the liberation war.

Second Lesson: Algeria, where the French never thought a rag-tag band of Algerians in their determination to be free could force France to leave this most valuable piece of real estate on the North Coast of Africa. Never did the French think that the Algerian soldiers they brought to Indochina to fight for France would become so inspired by the Vietnamese struggle, that they would bring that inspiration home in their liberation struggle to rid Algeria of its occupier—The French!

Read this full article at:Four lessons on Afghanistan

***Bonus!Below is a Speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. against the Vietnam War. Audio. This speech was released by Black Forum records, a subsidiary of Motown, and went on to win a Grammy in 1970 for the Best Spoken.**