by JOHN CASHON, Cashon Delivery
During the battle of Yorktown on October 19, 1781, the French navy set a blockade in the harbor of Yorktown, Virginia and with the American and French armies laying siege to the town by land and breaking off any avenue to escape, it was this point in history when the British General Cornwallis decided his army was cornered and had to surrender.
In that period of time, what would have happened if the French decided the Americans were not ready to create their own country because they believed the colonists might create a government that would cause instability in the region? What if they decided to garrison troops in our cities and towns to make sure a monarchy was established? The American people would have been outraged.
These ‘what if’ questions can be posed when discussing nation building as we have done in Afghanistan and Iraq to try to put ourselves in the shoes of these populations. The American troops should not be denigrated in any way because their courage in the face of such daunting odds of fighting these insurgencies shows them to be the finest troops in the world.
It is the policy of nation building that needs to be questioned. When we were finished battling the enemy armies in Afghanistan and Iraq, we decided to nation build to make sure that a democratic form of government was established to replace the old. This goes against the very ideal of self-determination that the United States stands for. We became free of Britain and were given the opportunity without interference to create a republic, yet we believe they are incapable of building their own governments.
Another problem for nation building is that our army is spread out in garrisons in both counties to ensure the peace, making them vulnerable to attacks. The IED explosives being used against our troops in both countries is made worse when our troops have to patrol areas in all of the small towns, villages and fortified areas to find where the insurgents and terrorists are hidden among the population.
Having a long history of invading armies sweeping into their lands, the populations in Afghanistan and Iraq just see the United States as a foreign occupier and inherit a mutual fear and mistrust of the unknown.
Iraq was not even called Iraq until 1921 when the British created the Iraqi kingdom when they were put in charge after World War I. Before the United States invaded the country, the Iraqis,
in their history, were invaded by the Assyrian Empire, the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, the Parthian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Mongolian Empire, the Arabs, the Ottoman Empire and finally the British Empire.
The reason the United States invaded Iraq was to remove Saddam Hussein and the government in what became known as 'Regime Change' because it was believed that Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction and associating with terrorist organizations. Iraq did have elements in their society that wanted Saddam Hussein removed but no evidence of terrorist links and weapons of mass destruction were found.
So, the mission for the Americans, after nothing was found, was to make certain that a democracy was created, through nation building, for the stability of the region.
Before the United States invaded Afghanistan, they were invaded by the Persian Empire, the Greek Empire, the Parthian Empire, the Kushan Empire, the Ghaznavid Empire, the Mongolian and Mogul Empires, the British Empire and finally the Soviet Union. The reason the United States invaded Afghanistan was to remove the Taliban government from power because they were harboring and sponsoring the terrorist Al-Qaeda forces of Osama bin Laden that were known to have been behind the attacks of 911.
Both of these populations have been caught between the insurgents, terrorists and the American forces. It would be scary for any population to endure, and for this reason, should we evaluate their situation or at least empathize with their condition? Considering this long line of invaders, it might be a good time to let them govern themselves. We all want them to create a democratic form of government but it should be their decision as to what type of government would work best for them.
The Afghanistan population has lived in a Pashtun Tribal Structure for thousands of years so they have no concept of a democratic society. The histories of Afghanistan and Iraq show us they have started over in the past and they would be able to rebuild again with or without the help from the United States.
The nation building policy of dividing our forces and setting small garrisons across both of these countries is dangerous for our troops which makes them more vulnerable to attack by being spread out and exposed. History shows us one example of how the Roman Empire learned, while they were defending their frontiers, that a punitive attack policy worked best for them because if another country attacked them, they immediately sent in an army to attack their cities and then went home. They knew, from experience, it would have been too expensive and too costly in lives to maintain an army in enemy territory.
The United States policy is to protect civilian lives from collateral damage but this makes it even more dangerous for the troops because they constantly have to be wary of shooting innocent civilians while the Taliban, Iraqi insurgents, and the terrorists have no such worries.
This roman policy ensured a healthy fear of future attacks being waged against the attacking country if they chose to go to war with Rome. The roman troops were not always in as much danger because the roman army did not divide their troops to leave garrisons spread out among all of the many different towns to be exposed to the danger of being outnumbered.
By having this punitive attack policy, a country attacked by Rome was not so ready to attack roman lands in the future just as the next Afghanistan government would think twice before allowing and sponsoring terrorist groups on their soil again to attack another nation in their future, and by letting them form their own government, without any interference, the United States would not have had to spend so much money needed to sustain our armies in these countries for an unknown period of time.
Going into Afghanistan to remove the government sponsoring terrorism against the United States made sense, as it would be for any country that is attacked, but the nation building policy that is being used should be reviewed. The French chose not to intervene in the creation of our government even though it went against the interests of the French king and his monarchical form of government.
The American people did not have this happen to them in their history but looking at the history of those that have can give us a unique understanding of what the populations of Afghanistan and Iraq would want for themselves in the creation of their governments.
Protecting our country is the most important duty of the government and by searching for alternative solutions, the government can learn there are other options to protecting our country besides leaving our armies in hostile countries with the misplaced hope that the insurgencies will eventually accept them and decide to make peace.