To the Editor:
The Romans spend centuries and huge sums on grinding military campaigns against “barbarians,” which usually meant fierce Germanic tribes, and this translated into a steady drain of their resources in terms of men and material. After 250 or 300 years of feeding their people and property into this meat grinder, which successive Roman emperors were at pains to justify as measures needed to defend “civilization,” Roman resources finally became too sparse to keep their elaborate setup in business. The Western Empire collapsed in 476 A.D., and the Eastern Empire survived until 1453 A.D. only by imposing a tyranny of Orthodox Christian theocratic dogma on everyone who lived within its borders. The Romans expired from the draining effects of their own militarism.
Now comes word of President Donald Trump’s desire to alter negative security and develop mental trends in Afghanistan by “surging” some thousands of our military personnel into the dusty and impoverished realm that is Afghanistan. Fierce warriors of the Taliban are to be stymied in their desire to control more and more of the Afghan nation. All of this is to be accomplished at whatever price our brass deems acceptable in terms of lives and treasure. We’ve been involved in Afghan affairs for over 16 years, with 2,300 slain U.S. service members to show for it, and the Pentagon foresees years and years more of U.S. operations in the place.
Our own “war against the barbarians,” like that of old Rome, seems endless. It’s a case of “war without end” for purposes that reman unclear.
Frank W. Goheen