You know what the Greatest Generation had that today’s troops in Afghanistan don’t? A grateful nation. A nation ready to welcome foreign invaders with open arms. Arms filled with wine and cheese. Get with the program, Afghans.
It’s not often I’d tell an entire country to take a page from the French playbook, but when the Allies bombed parts of France back to the Stone Age, did they turn around and quote random passages of Byron to those brave GIs marching down the Paris streets? Did they tell them how disappointed they were that American and British bombs killed thousands of civilians? Did they point out that the problem was in Germany, and not sitting right there on French soil?
They did not. Nary a contrary word was uttered, and the Americans were welcomed as they liberators they were. Because if there’s one thing the French understand, it’s omelettes. And if you’re making omelettes, you know what you need? Foreign chickens. Because you sure can’t afford those chickens on your own, and unless you’ve got chickens, you’ll never have eggs. And you know what you call an eggless omelette? Nothing.
And without the Americans, you’d still have the same nothing you had back in 2001. The French understood that if you want breakfast (or a war) done right, you’ll need to break some eggs. Or homes. Or villages. Or a detainee or two. It’s war, and unless you’re all as committed to the destruction of the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan as the Americans are, you’re going to keep up the whining.
You’re going to keep insisting that this country is even less secure than it was 13 years ago. You’re going to keep asking the Americans to stop raiding your homes at night. You’re going to keep telling UNAMA about the drones killing your families. You’re going to keep complaining about all that unexploded ordnance the Americans are leaving behind. Why?
Because you, dear sweet Afghanistan, do not understand that it’s all part of a greater good. That all that’s happening to you for a decade and more is for your own good. You’d probably get that if you lived in a country that knew that true freedom comes from things like capitalism, democracy, and half caff skinny soy lattes. Until you grasp the greatness of gourmet coffees, we’ll still have to manage your expectations.
You’ll still insist on behaving like a sovereign nation, releasing prisoners if you choose to do so. You’ll keep on telling the world that the problem’s in Islamabad, and not in Kabul. You’ll have the audacity to take exception to foreign meddling in democratic elections.
You’ll continue to behave like the ungrateful child you are, when it’s all said and done. You’ll keep saying that all this foreign money hasn’t made this place that much better. You’ll keep prattling on about how the loss of Afghan lives hasn’t been worth the freedoms that American blood and treasure has been spent so freely to give you.
Get over yourself, Afghanistan. Find that grateful part of your one-named soul, and figure out how to let that shine. Every day. Let the foreigners know their efforts here have brought you nothing but lasting joy. Stop thinking about yourselves for once. And maybe learn how to make decent cheese. We can wait on the wine.