Any interest in more modern history?


#1

I was always interested in 20th century history but I think we’ve been so involved in the past 18 years of fighting that we haven’t started picking it apart enough from a historical perspective. I think most people are fairly up to speed on the initial invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, but have not followed that progression into us either directly fighting or funding wars in: Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Philippines, South/North Korea (though surprisingly seeing signs there of de-escalation).

I think Afghanistan alone could easily fill a healthy series as to

  1. Why the Taliban aided Al Quida and why Osama Bin Laden was even there in the first place (2001-2003), the building of alliances between warlords, and the driving of the Taliban from power.

  2. The great distraction; how the eyes of the world switched from Afghanistan to Iraq (2003-2007) - The invasion of Iraq pulled a massive amount of troops and funding away from Afghanistan and towards Iraq, where new tactics of insurgent warfare were being learned through bloody trial and error. Meanwhile in Afghanistan, Taliban forces have little support and base operations in Pakistan. During this time, a lack of understanding from American forces and a weak Afghan political ties instead of strong tribal ties means that many individuals in the countryside view a Kabul government as a corrupt puppet.

  3. A new Bow and Arrow: The IED (2007-2009) - IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) were adopted out of desperation using old cached ordinance in Iraq by insurgent forces, but this devil quickly changed the course of how insurgent forces could effectively fight major powers on the cheap. These tactics were not as quickly adopted by Taliban fighters as one might expect, but by 2007 they started learning quickly. The effective use of IEDs changed the tempo of the war from to seriously challenging the US backed government. During this same time, Iraq is engaged in some of the most bloody fighting as a testing ground for the most innovative and destructive IEDs and a surge is called by President Bush, dwindling the attention away from the war in Afghanistan even further.

  4. The New Taliban (2009-2015) - Prolonged coalition occupation and a wildly ineffective government have placed the common Afghan in a tough place: Accept the rule of law from the ANP (Afghan National Police) who were just as likely to rob you as help you, or rely on more tribal forms of justice and some Taliban rule, which while draconian still in many ways, was at least accepted by most tribes. Most of the rural countryside was firmly in the control of Taliban backed tribal leaders and a surge of US forces was ordered by the new President, Barack Obama. Brutal fighting erupts on battlefields north of Kandahar in the Arghandab River Valley or the rich poppy fields of Marjah in Helmand.

  5. ISIS and the New War (2015-Present) - The US maintains objectives in Afghanistan while rapidly decreasing their footprint and struggles to maintain allies while redirecting forces elsewhere.

Some non-linear talking points should also be on Pakistan and why their support for a Pakistani led Taliban fighting force extends to regional conflicts with India and not just an attempt to manipulate power in Afghanistan.


#2

That’s actually a great idea. But, considering the war is still going on right now, getting an unbiased perspective of the war as a whole is going to be just as hard as what TimeGhost is already doing now.


#3

Maybe. I tend to think all history is filtered through some sort of bias. Non - Rhetorical question: Do you think we know more or less about history the further away from it we are?


#4

Such recent history is quite problematic. You know, there is this saying among historians that summarises this nicely: “You can’t really talk freely and in an unbiased manner about events until the grandsons of people who took part in them are dead”.


#5

More. Yes, every source has some amount of bias to it, but looking at recent history is going to be a rather messy affair. It will be more confusing than looking at it with the benefit of hindsight. Remember the Truman presidency?


#6

I think you bring up an interesting debate, which is how old does history have to be before we can understand it with confidence. The longer you go, the more is lost to stories no longer being told, unread journals thrown away, etc. Too close and its information overload mixed with strong emotions.


#7

It depends a bit on which history and from whose perspective - for a historian the biggest challenge is availability of full records, for a documentarian the biggest challenge is the bias of the viewers or readers - and their own potential for bias of course. Regarding the records some events in history remain clouded for reasons of records kept confidential, being unavailable due to political censorship, or because the records are in private ownership. We could for instance not have made as correct a rendition of the Cuban Missile Crisis before 2003 when the last records had lapsed out of the 50 year confidentiality moratorium (maximum for government records in the US, while the Soviet records became public after the collapse of the USSR). The second bit about bias of course depends on who is telling the story, who is viewing, and what it is about. It is for instance almost impossible for us to tell any story, literal any story involving the Balkans, from any time in history without our comment section descending into some level of shit-fest.


#8

Bring out the armor and a bag of popcorn when you get to do the Bosnian War (hey, a guy can dream).


#9

:joy::rofl: So true!

And for this I suggest that all Yugoslavia and Albania related special episodes have their comment section locked