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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Lily Gouin
Lily Gouin
Assistant Sports Editor

Hi! My name is Lily Gouin I am in my third year here at NMU. I am from Appleton, WI majoring in communications and double minoring in multimedia journalism and public relations. In my free time, I like...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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U.S. troops unnecessary in Middle East

Before President Bush, and now President Obama, decided it a wise idea to send troops to Afghanistan and later increase the occupying force there, they should have read the memoir of Dr. William Brydon.

Brydon was a British surgeon who arrived in Jalalabad, Afghanistan on Jan. 13, 1842 the sole survivor of a force of over 16,000. This, called the “Massacre of Elphinstone’s Army” was a seven-day slaughter carried out by “mere” tribesmen who did not benefit from formal US military training as fighters in Afghanistan do today.

Brydon, after losing a bit of his skull from being sheared off by a sword, realized that long-term occupation in Afghanistan was an unwise choice by the British Empire. But still, our full-headed leaders think it wise to fall into the trap so many superpowers have before them.

And considering the line of evidence history has laid before us, they should think otherwise. Between 1842 and 1919, the British Empire attempted three separate invasions of Afghanistan and eventually decided it was in the best interest of their people to withdraw altogether.

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Likewise, the German high command decided during WWII not to invade the country of Switzerland due to its mountainous geographical composition and guerilla-like civilian defenses, quite similar to that of Afghanistan.

Finally, the great Soviet Union, with its massive economy, and even larger military force, decided that the loss of life and overall cost was not worth the near-decade they spent fighting off Afghani freedom fighters throughout the late 1970s until 1988.

This leads us to the primary excuse for invading Afghanistan: terrorism. While Osama bin Laden and the rest of Al-Qaeda may or may not be taking refuge in the mountainous regions of the Afghani-Pakistani border, we have no one to blame for them being there but ourselves.

According to Australian journalist Norm Dixon, the U.S. pumped money into Afghanistan’s guerilla forces, called Mujaheddin, with the sole purpose of defeating the “Soviet menace” and spreading radical Islam to destabilize Moscow’s power in the region. And although no concrete numbers exist to outline exactly how much aid the United States provided between 1978 and 1992, Dixon and the official overview of Pakistani foreign policy estimate the number anywhere from 6-20 billion dollars over this period.

However, the actual results from all of this includes an Afghanistan more destabilized than it was pre-Soviet conflict, anti-Western attitudes among select Middle Eastern states and one angry Saudi (i.e. Osama bin Laden) with a cult following, formal military training and quite an arsenal at his disposal.
This historical timeline should provide an array of evidence to support my claim of a conflict the American people do not need nor want. The “Coalition” forces in Afghanistan, in conjunction with the NATO high command, need to form a solid exit timeline from this quagmire that has stolen too many of the world’s young men, women and children.

I believe there to be a limit as to how long foreign forces can “protect” segments of populations from harmful extremist groups, as we can clearly observe in Vietnam, Bosnia and Rwanda.

I also believe there to be a time limit of how long native populations will stand for foreign occupation, especially when it has done nothing for your nation but support fraudulent elections, further destabilize the political situation and kill civilians.

In fact, according to Marc W. Herold’s Dossier on Civilian Victims of United States’ Aerial Bombing, by the end of 2002 approximately 5,000 civilians had been killed. Our time is up in Afghanistan. Perhaps President Obama will opt a bit of pre-emptive reading the next time an Afghani troop build-up sounds like a decent idea.

Editor’s Note: Travis Crowe is a sophomore political science major and is on staff at the Political Review, a student run publication that provides student’s perspectives on political issues. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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