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Thread: Historical Fragments

  1. #81
    Senior Member Array MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    Throughout the US war with Afghanistan, I've heard people list all of the superpowers who were turned back from Afghanistan. They always top the list with Alexander the Great. I was lightly reading about Alexander today, and it appears he pretty much strolled through Afghanistan and turned around at the Ganges. Am I missing something or are these people just full of shit?

  2. #82
    a limping joke Array giegs's Avatar
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    What most people that say that seem to mean is that nobody has ever successfully occupied and governed Afghanistan as part of an empire. It gets "conquered" fairly regularly, just not held. Topographically speaking, it's a bitch.
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    Senior Member Array MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giegs View Post
    What most people that say that seem to mean is that nobody has ever successfully occupied and governed Afghanistan as part of an empire. It gets "conquered" fairly regularly, just not held. Topographically speaking, it's a bitch.
    OK. I get that. I just had this experience of reading about Alexander's march east and kept aniticipating something actually happening over there. Alexander passes through, conquers. Dies at Babylon with the region as a part of his empire. It's misleading to throw his name in there. I expect better of rhetoric, damnit!

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    Burning Goat Array C.J.Woolf's Avatar
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    I understand Alexander lost some men to ambushes, that's all. But he was smart to pass through and keep going. The Afghans aren't strong enough to expel invaders, but they can sure outlast them.
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    Senior Member Array MoneyJungle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C.J.Woolf View Post
    I understand Alexander lost some men to ambushes, that's all. But he was smart to pass through and keep going. The Afghans aren't strong enough to expel invaders, but they can sure outlast them.
    Yah. Is there a worst place to occupy in the world?

  6. #86
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    Vietnam perhaps...

  7. #87
    Ubi sunt Array Ferrus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by giegs View Post
    What most people that say that seem to mean is that nobody has ever successfully occupied and governed Afghanistan as part of an empire. It gets "conquered" fairly regularly, just not held. Topographically speaking, it's a bitch.
    This was actually achieved after a fashion by his successors (minor ones, no the Selucids).

    See here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Bactrian_Kingdom
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    a limping joke Array giegs's Avatar
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    Quite short lived, but interesting. I'll have to read up on this. Thanks for the info.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoneyJungle View Post
    Throughout the US war with Afghanistan, I've heard people list all of the superpowers who were turned back from Afghanistan. They always top the list with Alexander the Great. I was lightly reading about Alexander today, and it appears he pretty much strolled through Afghanistan and turned around at the Ganges. Am I missing something or are these people just full of shit?
    Most people talking about history are full of shit. Yes, they could read the damn wikipedia article if nothing else, but I sense to most that the past is just some mystery full of wars.

    Anyway, I think there's a fallacy at work in the minds of all of us that just because things are this way now, they've always been this way - to wit- Afghanistan has always been full of wily Muslims in turbans who live in caves when needed and outlast any invader. This probably started with the difficulties the British Empire had in Afghanistan and was radically reinforced when the Soviets invaded and we armed everyone in the country to the teeth.

    Casual reading tells me Afghanistan didn't exist as we would think of it until after the locals threw out the descendants of Genghis Khan, who definitely had a habit of making folks submit to long term occupation or get annihilated. Before that the area was part of various empires including the Seleucid Empire which was a successor state.

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