Magazine September 20, 2010, Issue

Graveyard of a Cliché

A U.S. military vehicle drives past an Afghan soldier at a road opening ceremony in Maidan Shahr, Afghanistan, December 16, 2003. (Ahmad Masood/Reuters)
Afghanistan presents no impossible military challenge, its ‘history’ notwithstanding

In the lexicon of the Left, the adjective “unconquerable” has now attached itself to the noun “Afghanistan” just as indelibly as the adjective “illegal” once attached itself to the noun “war in Iraq.” The New York Times, NPR, the Huffington Post, and the BBC, let alone the wilder shores of the liberal blogosphere, all take it for granted that Afghanistan has always been “the graveyard of empires” — thereby more or less openly encouraging us to draw the inevitable conclusion that the present struggle against the Taliban is unwinnable. Yet the truth could not be more different; rather than the

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