"A steam boat? That Fulton feller's gonna drown or kill us all!" "An electrical light? That Edison feller's gonna drown or kill us all!" "An 840 page September issue? That Wintour feller's gonna drown or kill us all!" When will the bow-tied vest-wearers of the it's-never-been-done-so-it-can't-be-done crowd ever learn? Time and again their predictions of failure fall flat, yet they continue bloviating their spoil-sportism as though the rest of us don't think they're all just a bunch of jerks. The latest target these clueless wet -blanketeers are misfiring upon is the our impending conquest of Afghanistan.
In their giddy efforts to retard progress, the dream-tramplers gleefully cite legions of previous invaders who stumbled in their attempts to subdue the fearless keepers of Kabul . "Even Alexander the Great couldn't do it! How can we possibly succeed where history's greatest military mind could not?" You know what else Alexander the Great couldn't do? Microwave a bag of popcorn, peddle a mountain bike or call in some Hellfire-packing Predator drones. There are probably other examples, but I think I've made my point. If not, feel free to make your own.
"Oh, but it wasn't just Alexander," they counter, indignation-melted moustache wax spattering in all directions. "What about the British? What about the Soviets? Have we learned nothing from their misadventures on Afghanistan's plains, where the women come out to cut up what remains?" Yes, we have, and that the lesson is once you're there, never leave! The surest way to lose, other than by not winning, is to quit. If you're wedded to a strategy with little or no chance of success, the only alternative to defeat is a rock-solid commitment to dig in and hang on. Remember Vietnam? We could still be there, if only we hadn't left.
Of course, just sticking around is no guarantee of victory in and of itself. The Afghanis are on their home turf. Defenders (them) are almost always more motivated than invaders (liberators (us)), but if anyone can do it, we can. After all, it was the proto-U.S. Army who ran the Seminoles out of Florida, the Mohegans out of New England and the Takelma out of existence. When it comes to transforming indigenous peoples into street names and Halloween costumes, America takes a back seat to no one.
So will we be as successful at vanquishing the Afghani's as we were with the Shinnecocks and the Irondequots? Perhaps. The land we took from Native Americans yielded corn, beans and some tobacco. Yummy and nutritious to be sure, but Afghanistan's most popular produce packs a bit more of a wallop, for theirs is the sod from which springs the world's finest heroin. Heroin that, I'm told, provides an experience better than sex. I've never had heroin, but my guess is they'll put up a pretty good tussle over a crop that tastes better than an orgasm.
A final word to the doubters - nothing is impossible. Quantum mechanics assures us that there is an infinitesimal but real chance that even the most unlikely event may come to pass. A working robotic elephant made entirely of wax lips could instantaneously materialize in the middle of your next dinner party. My dog could wake me up tomorrow morning singing "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," a song I know for a fact he hates. Compared to these, our victory in Afghanistan is virtually assured.