Some Myths About The Afghan War
We need to disabuse ourselves of several untruths being told about our war efforts in Afghanistan. One is that we are fighting for democracy. Democracy is fine for Norway and Denmark but it is bad in war-torn places that are undeveloped because it becomes a patronage system for kickbacks being handed out to corrupt insiders. What we want is a competent government that can secure its own boundaries and streets. There are plenty of undemocratic governments that do this better than democracies—in fact, most do. Before you write me quoting Winston Churchill’s famous line about democracies, I would just say it was not until Nuri al-Maliki started acting like an all-powerful strongman—or "Saddam without the mustache," as some of his detractors have described him—that the country started resembling a normalized state.
Second, let’s disabuse ourselves of this notion that the corrupt election of Hamid Karzai is somehow why we are rethinking our misadventure there. This is a bogus sentiment. I agree that Karzai is as corrupt as they come, but most of us knew that beforehand so our recent post-election indignation has a Captain Renault sniff to it. The former Iraqi government under Iyad Allawi, in which over $1 billion for the defense ministry somehow went missing, was way more corrupt than Karzai’s government, yet I don’t remember calls from Washington calling for an immediate pullout as a result of such outright fraud. I think we are holding Karzai up to a higher standard because he gives off the impression that he is this regal, above-the-fray leader of his people, when in fact he’s just a backroom dealer who will do anything to keep his current gig.
Finally, Afghanistan is the central front in the war on terror. This stands logic on its head. Let’s assume for a second that Osama bin Laden was not in Afghanistan when the planes struck the Twin Towers but was in Sudan (which is where he was ensconced previously). Would we have invaded Sudan and deposed of its government? Perhaps. But we may also have left the Taliban alone if its fingerprints were not on 9/11. Lawrence Wright in his book The Looming Tower confirms that the Taliban was reluctant to host al-Qaeda and was ticked after bin Laden started attacking targets in the West.
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We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
In the face of seemingly unstoppable gun violence, Americans could stand to gain by looking to the Swiss.
- According to a recent study, the U.S. had the second highest number of gun-related deaths in 2016 after Brazil.
- Like the U.S., Switzerland has a high rate of gun ownership. However, it has a considerably lower rate of deaths from gun violence.
- Though pro-gun advocates point to Switzerland as an example of how gun ownership doesn't have to correlate with mass shootings, Switzerland has very different regulations, practices, and policies related to guns than America.
It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?
- Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
- Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
- Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.
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