POSTED RESPONSE IN THE TORONTO GLOBE AND MAIL
It really is a good idea to know the words to the music before you get up to sing.
I know the history of WWII and the period afterward quite well.
Just one of the things you clearly do not understand is the multiple meanings of "build."
Bricks and mortar are not what is being supposedly built in Afghanistan, although there is some of that, but that's the easy part.
That is not what its defenders mean by "nation-building," although they deliberately fudge the meaning.
As I have written above, Afghanistan really is not a nation in the sense that any of us understands. It is a collection of tribes living in mountains and deserts with a 14th century economy and customs.
Japan and Germany needed bricks and mortar, but everything important was there. What economists call human capital. Technical and academic and commercial knowledge, a long history of sophisticated culture, etc, etc.
All crucial to modernization. All impossible in our lifetimes for Afghanistan.
It is that stuff they think they are building in Afghanistan, and it is a fool's mission.
Oh, by the way, you might start with a college text just published in the United States called Nation Building. My essay is chapter seven.