Herman Melville on the Situation in Afghanistan

There's a great moment early in "Moby Dick" that speaks to the timelessness of trouble in Afghanistan. Very early in the book, as Ishmael ponders his unhappiness, and considers the benefits of a sea voyage -- "driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation," that sort of thing -- he imagines, grandiosely, his place in the world. Melville writes:

And doubtless, my going on this whaling voyage, formed part of the grand programme of Providence that was drawn up a long time ago. It came in as a sort of brief interlude and solo between more extensive performances. I take it that this part of the bill must have run something like this:
              
             "Grand Contested Election for the Presidency of the United States
             "Whaling Voyage by One Ishmael"
             "Bloody Battle in Affghanistan"

"Moby Dick" was published in 1851. The first Anglo-Afghan War had already ended ten years before.  I'm not sure a "surge" is going to accomplish what its advocates hope it will accomplish; Afghanistan is fairly impervious to outside control.