The Lessons of the Past …

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… don’t matter to anyone is Washington. Because history doesn’t apply to Americans, who are, after all, the conclusion and meaning of all human history. Americans can succeed where Russians, Britons, Persians, and even Greeks have failed in Afghanistan. Americans can both conquer and liberate at the same time. Americans can destroy and build at the same time. Americans can kill and love at the same time. We can remake the world merely by willing it so.

All this talk of Yemen reminds me of Gemal abd al Nasser’s decision to dispatch Egyptian troops to that country (to then North Yemen) in the early 1960s following the military coup that ousted North Yemen’s Shia monarchy. By 1967, Egypt had upwards of 70,000 troops, with airplanes and bombers, fighting in Yemen, costing the Egyptian government as much as $1 million per day. The deployment of such a large portion of the Egyptian Army fighting Yemeni royalists (and their Saudi and American supporters) is considered a major reason the Egyptians lost the Six Day War with Israel. Eventually the Yemeni republicans prevailed, but only after a peace deal involving the Saudi government was signed, ending Saudi support for the deposed Shia royalists. The Egyptians were never able to prevail militarily over the Yemeni royalists, who were able to successfully lay siege to the capital in the final stages of the war.

Before this, Kemal Mustafa, the founder of the Turkish Republic, gave one of the justifications for ending the Ottoman state: “No Turkish soldier will ever have to die in the sands of Yemen again.”

Of course, as said previously, history simply does not apply to Americans. And need never be considered.

10:28 am on January 5, 2010