My family worked in book stores in Persia. They actually opened and read history books and loved them.
My wife’s very first comment when President Bush went to war in the Middle East was, “For God’s sake declare victory and get out.” She has a good idea of Middle Eastern time as an Assyrian whose calendar reads the year 6787.
”If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every long battle.” — Sun Tzu “Art of War.”
The Great Khans (3), the British, the Russians, Persians, and even Alexander the Great — who my Persian friends call “Alexander the Bastard” due to him burning their capital Persepolis — and others lost in Afghanistan.
Alexander the Great invaded what is today Afghanistan as part of his war against Persia. Several cities in Afghanistan are named for Alexander, including Alexandria and Arachosia, now called Kandahar.
Nonetheless, the war spilled over into Afghanistan, which served Alexander as a base. And the war did not go well. It was lengthy and exhausting. Alexander lost almost as many men in one bloody day as he had in the four years it took him to conquer all the lands between the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Iran.
Our war record is now one clear draw in Korea and two clear losses in Vietnam and Afghanistan.
One of the main factors is that our past enemies all have studied the “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu. If you are interested here is a very good explanation of how they whipped us while employing Sun Tzu’s methods: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aF2pCff3ocg.
The other reason is that they know history very, very well. They, in fact, read it. I fear that perhaps our last president to really pick up a book and read history was Reagan. Bush was not a reader of history, Trump only found his own point of view as important and Biden hasn’t the strength to turn the pages of a book or to comprehend it without someone’s assistance.
So sad. What we spent in “the graveyard of empires” (Afghanistan) could have funded our huge infrastructure projects of today easily. But we refuse to learn from history or to read a book. .