… A land whose… mountainous terrain renders it all but impossible to conquer. American soldiers deployed to the country as recently as last night had trouble articulating what their mission there was, short of making it home in one piece.
(The Editors, “A War Without Winners Winds Down,” NYTimes, 2-29-20)
Stan is a suffix from Persian and Urdu meaning “place of.” This stan is a place of poppy fields, fractious crags, and lofty tribes; a limestone cave-land that has swallowed and excreted its invaders for millennia.
Eighteen years, two trillion dollars, thirty-five-hundred troops — lapsed, spent, dead.
Words fluted on the wind: “We didn’t know what we were doing.”
(Army General Douglas Lute).
(c) 2020 JMN