One of my favorite artists was the superb Victorian painter Lady Jane Butler who captured in oil the triumphs and tragedies of the British Empire.
Her haunting painting, “The Retreat from Kabul, ” shows the sole survivor of a British army of 16,500, Dr. William Brydon, struggling out of Afghanistan in January, 1842. All the rest were killed by Afghan tribesmen after a futile attempt to garrison Kabul.
This gripping painting should have hung over the NATO summit meeting last week in Chicago to remind the US and its allies that Afghanistan remains “the graveyard of empires.”
The latest empire to try to conquer Afghanistan has failed, and is now sounding the retreat.
All the hot air in Chicago about “transition,” Afghan self-reliance, and growing security could not conceal the truth that the mighty US and its dragooned western allies have been beaten in Afghanistan by a bunch of mountain warriors from the 12th Century.