One unfortunate theme running through arguments against US intervention in general is that of "ancient hatreds"--the idea that just because a given Third World state is corrupt, superstitious, and fractured at one point in time it has been that way since the dawn of recorded time and will continue to be so forever. In a review of a Allied intel officer's World War II memoir of occupied Naples, Kenneth Payne at Kings of War notes the parallels to Iraq and Afghanistan:
So are Italians naturally uncivilized? Anyone with a passing grasp of history gained from watching History Channel, PBS, and National Geographic can tell you otherwise. Furthermore, the US bore some responsibility for the mess through the both accidental and purposeful re-importing of criminal syndicates that Mussolini had largely crushed in his rise to power. We should debate the costs and benefits of stability operations missions, but make extra effort to refrain from the 19th century colonialist idea that peoples living in failed states are unusually rapacious and incapable of governing themselves.
"Criminality is rampant – military and medical provisions are lifted straight off the ship, copper wire is no sooner installed than stolen. Pervasive corruption extends to the provisional government, whose officials are deeply complicit in the huge black market. Armed groups patrol the countryside, raiding convoys and villages. Allied soldiers, in this case rapacious Moroccans, are captured by locals, tortured and decapitated. Flagellants march through the streets, beating their bloodied chests. Nascent democracy, imposed by the allies, produces great political fragmentation, extremist ideas, and politicized religion – nuns distribute bread in exchange for votes. Rumour and superstition are rife, as are hunger, disease and poverty."