President Biden’s remarks on leaving Afghanistan August 31, 2021. Here’s some commentary about it: Just Above Sunset: Some Explaining.
More About 9-11: post of September 6, 2021
I’ll click ‘publish’ on this when August 31 begins in Afghanistan, 9 hours before Minnesota. The intention of this post is strictly to encourage each reader to assess his/her personal feelings about the 20 years – a generation – since 9-11-2001; then to also personally reflect on how he/she commits to approach the 20 years upcoming.
Previous recent posts relating in whole or part to Afghanistan: August 16, 19, 26, 28 2021. Access through archive section at right.
Remembering 9-11-01, some thoughts from 20 years ago:
Personal communications as saved by myself between September 10 and 24, 2001, appear here (12 pages): Sep 10 to 24 2001. Except for the first two pages from Sep 10, 2001, I only include content that specifically relates to 9-11. At that time, my normal e-mail traffic was a family letter I tried to do every two weeks. 9-11 quickly erupted into a communications frenzy – people needed to talk. Some years ago I printed out the first 100 days of such dialogue, which filled two business envelope boxes. These were donated to, and accepted by, the Minnesota Historical Society for posterity.
Referring to specific pages in the attachment: page 3) The three photos referenced can be seen here (scroll down, this space also includes my comments from a year after 9-11-01; 4) my sister Mary Ann’s comments. She was at the WTC 4 days before 9-11; 5-7) first person survivor from the towers written immediately after escaping; 8) from a church bulletin, note comment about bullying; 11) “perhaps the most important…”; 12) note the Priests comments in a church homily the Sunday after 9-11.
My grandson, Spencer, is an active duty Marine, though not in Afghanistan. He was one and a half on 9-11-01, recently turning 21. Those Marines killed at Kabul were largely in his cohort. When he was in high school I prepared a simple page on the human cost of war to the United States. The data is of 2016, and he and his teacher found it of interest. It is here: War Deaths U.S.002
Just Above Sunset for August 30 f you wish a good collection of opinions about the carnage at the Kabul airport. If nothing else, read the last sentence.
Joyce sends on “Innocence and Folly” from The Weekly Sift.
COMMENTS: Check end of post for more.
from Mary: May as well ‘weigh in’! Somehow I can not quite understand why this Afghan exit had to become such a big deal…don’t folks know how to fade out of the picture? I will give some of the dubious credit for the lumps to the 24 hour news cycles and the Monday Morning experts. Human Rights aside – maybe they should not be – but we can not think that we can fix everything!! We were uninvited and unwelcome and long ago outlived our usefulness in fixing this tribal society – there is and always will be plenty to do in the USA should Americans want to accept a real challenge…we live in a world of health care and infrastructure and education challenge and shady slimy stuff getting in the way of too many political decisions. Afghanistan – Another sad example of the futility of revenge.
Dick in response: I have been noticing over the last few years in particular a conscious and deliberate effort to make the United States a “tribal” society too. Take your pick: urban/rural; race; women/men; religion…division has been useful to some operatives; not to a United country, and we will pay the price.
from Jermitt: Powerful read! There is no way to leave a country after “losing the war”, without criticism and perhaps bloodshed. Yes, perhaps a mass evacuation may have started earlier, but who would have forecasted the folding of the Afghan military. No one. I believe Biden had only one reasonable option and he did what was best for all the allies and the U.S.
We should have left as soon as we took out the poor little rich Saudi kid who wanted to do something to get the attention of his father who had 40-50 other kids seeking knee time as well. Planning the 9-11 deal was his way of gaining attention and hopefully some quality time on Daddy’s knee as well. Then, we got into nation building whatever in the living hell that is albeit not unlike the good Christian missionaries (usually middle aged spinsters looking for ???) who went to Africa especially to “civilize” the natives and to make them God fearing Christians, again, whatever in the living hell that is. I do think that in the long run, however, our presence there for twenty-years might have done some good. Granted, the country has been governed by war lords and different religious oriented groups some of them extreme like the Taliban or Isis forever and a day. On the other hand, many Afghans were exposed to things like human rights and women’s rights including a right to education and all of that might just have a lasting impact on afghan society over the next decade or two. You know the old adage about not being able to keep that farm kid back on the farm once he had seen Paree! It will take time but…In addition, the Taliban have no major resource streams coming in nor any government structure in place. They will begin to find that the masses are restless if they cannot produce a working government and an economy that benefits most citizens…plus the Isis folks will always be trying to put ICDs into their shorts when they are not looking. Yes, the exit was a mess in large part due to the fact that the “highly trained” security and military forces upon which we exhausted unlimited resources capitulated immediately as soon as their leaders fled the country with their US dollars squirreled away in Swiss bank accounts just like the leaders of SVN did in a similar situation. The security forces clearly felt that they had no need to put their lives to support a corrupt government that had abandoned them!
Adding to my post above. It is possible that Osami’s daddy missed his son’s (# which one?)big day with the Twin Towers and all as he was probably using his well worn but still effective drill to plant another seed or two. Granted, the Twin Towers story was in all the papers so old Dad probably found out what his son had accomplished later. He no doubt was so proud of what the kid had done that he immediately scheduled him for some knee time right between kid# 43 and kid # 45. Family time is so important don’t you know!
Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney should be blamed to a large extent.
Will the USA ever learn that our brand of “government” will not work in tribal countries such as . . . well
a great number of nations’ It is a if we learned nothing from our Viet Nam adventure.
I’ve worried about another apparent reality…that the organizing model for the United States, internally, is tribalism. I spoke to that in response to the first comment on this post, above.
Afghanistan: the military had concluded several years ago a military victory was not possible, foreign policy thinkers on both right and left knew the only solution was a political one. That never occured under Obama or Trump. Biden has been clear even since he was VP that he was against this war, someone had to end the involvement and with victory(pick your meaning) impossible, the end was always going to be messy. In any case in 1 or 2 weeks the media will have moved on , and the public as well…most Americans are out and they will forget about this backwater country for awhile is my guess.
My brother in law worked in one of the buildings adjacent to the twin towers, it was part of the WTC complex, I think about 5 stories and I think held the NY Mercantile Exchange…he was in the futures business. He was able to get out and it was a tense couple hours for my sister in law as he made his way to the ferry to Hoboken to get a train home, mobile service was out and she was uncertain of his situation for a while.
My great nephew, Nathan, enlisted in the Marines. He just graduated from high school, and will soon be going to boot camp at Camp Pendleton, CA. Like you grandson, I am sure Nathan is excited and proud to devote the next four years of his life dutifully serving his country. I am of course worried for him (not to mention my own conflicted thoughts of enlisting), and horrified that 10 of the 13 Marines killed in Afghanistan were from Camp Pendleton. My only grace is that hopefully, the longest war in US history is soon over. Pray and work for peace.
Spencer graduated from boot camp at San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Base in Oct 2018, which of course included Camp Pendleton. I was proud to be at his graduation. I am sure I’ll hear more from the family (who actually lives not far from here) as soon as more information is available.