Contributor Perspectives

The View of Afghanistan From the Island of Elba

Charles Glass
Board of Contributors
Aug 30, 2017 | 09:00 GMT
Will an additional 4,000 young men and women from the American heartland really make a difference in a country of 34 million people?

Pentagon sources recently told The Wall Street Journal that around 12,000 American military personnel are based in Afghanistan. Trump's 4,000 will raise that figure to 16,000.

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

When rulers seek unslayable dragons to destroy, they should remember Elba. This tranquil, idyllic isle off the coast of Tuscany was, from May 1814 to April 1815, home to Napoleon Bonaparte. The British and their allies had exiled him there, leaving him to govern the island's 12,000 souls. The emperor, a title he was allowed to keep, enjoyed two splendid houses, a magnificent library, servants, a small army and the company of family and retainers. This was a life for a king, but small recompense for a man who sought to rule the world. Rather than write memoirs of one of history's greatest dramas, Napoleon escaped. But, wrote biographer Philip Dwyer, "Napoleon left Elba not to save France, but to save himself from oblivion." And as we now know, his decision to resume the fight against Britain proved to be a mistake....

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