Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Why did the Balkans cause the Romans, the Byzantines, the Austrians, and our current times such political headaches? Why is Afghanistan known as the graveyard of empires? The answer is, Terrain. I once read in a penetrating book about the Balkans—I wish I could remember its title—that if you ironed out its terrain, it would be almost the size of all of Europe. That notion might be applied to Afghanistan as well. In such terrains even the overwhelming power of a U.S. military falters. These regions breed independent people able to outlast the most persistent.

This post will also serve to introduce those who've never had the pleasure to use Google Maps, using the "Terrain" feature, to the insights such views can offer. Herewith terrain maps of Sarajevo and Kabul...

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