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Michael van der Galien

How the Soviets Brutalized Afghanistan

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Posted on January 3 2010 3:00 pm
Michael van der Galien was born in the Dutch city of Leeuwarden in 1984. For as long as he can remember, he has been obsessed with the United States. When he was 17 years old, he started blogging - of course about America. His articles have been published at Big Hollywood, Pajamas Media, Hot Air (the GreenRoom) and Right Across The Atlantic. He's also an editor for the Dutch conservative blog, De Dagelijkse Standaard.
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Nothing is so toxic to good analysis as a bad analogy. Now that Afghanistan looks to be a difficult place to fight after all, opponents of our war effort against the Taliban are grasping at a particularly inapt and offensive analogy — that of the Soviet Union’s invasion thirty years ago today. Much of the analysis that compares the Soviet invasion to our own wears the drag of things it is not, most especially a sincere interest in, or compassion for, the people of Afghanistan. Ironically, no one with enough regard for the Afghan people to know anything about Soviet atrocities against them then would draw that analogy now.

Afghanistan became a matter of intense interest to me after the Soviet invasion, and that interest was personified in 1984 when a local church sponsored a small number of Afghan refugee families to immigrate to my home town. One of them was Alif, who remains my friend to this day, and who arrived at my high school speaking no English as a former child soldier with the anti-Soviet guerrillas in a ruthless war that did not recognize civilians. This friendship led to too much scouring of newspapers and magazines for scarce scraps of news from my friend’s homeland, and too many hours trying to pick up scratchy short-wave broadcasts from the sunset years of the old BBC’s stodgy glory as a source of objective news.

Read the whole thing at The New Ledger.

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