Today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune front page, above the fold, says it all:
Afghanistan is no stranger to this blog. Three times so far in 2021 I’ve made mention, most recently in “The Zip to Zap” post on August 14 (see especially comments from John, Joyce and Sue, and my responses at that post).
The other recent posts are April 7, 2021, and July 7, 2021, which include a link to the CIA Factbook, not yet updated to the recent events, but still useful. I’d encourage you to at least take a look at the relevant parts of these posts.
Ironically, one of the other posts shares attention with the country of Haiti, now beset with another tragedy – the recent earthquake. Unfortunately, it is too hard to imagine these other places and their people are irrelevant to our daily life. Not so….
I have many comments. To suffice, for now, will be the other referenced posts, and the below:
Here’s the pdf of the above article that got me “off the couch” and into activism: Afghanistan Bombing Oct 10 2001. (The bombing actually began on Sunday October 7; October 8 was Monday). Responding to violence with more violence didn’t make any sense to me then, nor does it now. But, as a society, we almost unanimously approved retribution and it was an exploitable emotion and here we are, 20 years later. WE are the problem, and the solution…whatever that turns out to be. Always.
Of course, there is endless chatter about whose fault this disaster is: all fingers point at someone else.
This is a policy matter at the level of the U.S. government, which has a legislative branch, House of Representatives and Senate, who have the ultimate responsibility for the U.S. policy on everything. And, of course, we the people elect these folks.
Some time back for my own enlightenment I made a chart of which party was in charge, when. I have published it before. Here it is again: U.S. Government001. The tally does not include the 117th (current) Congress of 2021. President Biden has been in office for 7 months. The current House is Democrat 223-213; the Senate is 50 Republicans, 48 Democrats and 2 Independents who caucus with the Democrats.
If you qualify or will qualify to vote, YOU are the GOVERNMENT. Period. All the rest is editorial.
Back to you….
COMMENTS (see also end of this post):
from Joyce: I wish you could have met my late husband, also Dick. He died in early 2003 and he spent his last months cursing GWB for launching two unnecessary (and destined to be disastrous) wars. He was an army veteran (JAG, like my son) who had also opposed the war in Vietnam.
from Brian: Dick, thanks for sharing. President Biden is totally correct in getting us out of Afghanistan. He had the conviction and courage to do it.
from Len: Does it really make a difference “who is to blame”? The ugliness of a protracted war is about to be history for us and the hardened will rationalize this as “it is what it is”. From one perspective it is success for the Taliban and failed policy for the West. I hated it when I heard of our casualties each time they were reported over the 20 years, and I hate it and am d saddened when I observe the events of the day . I like peace and despise war. I thank and recognize those who those who worked toward a peaceful place there. it seems we are incapable to change the place.Security for evacuation is a tall order. Thank you to those now in harms way attempting to make that possible. Let us give credit and cease the blaming. Let us work toward the possibilities.
from Chuck: “If there is a sin superior to every other it is that of willful and offensive war. Most other sins are circumscribed within narrow limits, that is, the power of <b>one</b> man cannot give them a very general extension, and many kind of sins have only a mental existence from which no infection arises; but he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of Hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death”. – Thomas Paine The American Crisis. [March 21, 1778]. Things haven’t changed.
Regrettably – unlike you I have nothing on paper to back up this statement, but very shortly after the bombing started – I said, “This is going to be just like Vietnam. There’s no way out of it. And we are eventually going to fail.”
I take no pleasure in being right.
Very glad that it got you “off the couch” and into activism, Dick. The outcome was inevitable. We know that it was about more than retribution since the U.S also kills and wounds people in Pakistan, Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Niger.
WE laughed at the Soviet Union for being dumb enough to spend 20 years fighting a foreign war in the unwinnable terrain of Afghanistan. I also told myself when we went in that it was going to be another Vietnam. The past few days come as no surprise. WE couldn’t even defend Bagram Air Base which held over 5,000 prisoners of war The most shocking aspect is that political and military leadership insist on processing applications before getting Afghans who supported us out of there. Instead, we have spent days not even being able to get American citizens evacuated. WE should be operating a massive airlift of military and chartered commercial airplanes. Instead, once again we are an international embarrassment. The pentagon never did have an accurate assessment of the situation. This has been an ongoing justification of incompetence.
I have no problem at all as in no problem at all with bombing the living crap out of people or groups that we know (operative word here) were responsible for 9-11 including the killing of the poor little rich kid who engineered that attack. None what-so-ever! That is, we cannot just play the so milquetoast turn the other cheek card crap as those clowns will see that as a sign of weakness and be encouraged by that reaction to do more of the same. The challenge always is, of course, to know exactly who made the attack or who orchestrated the attack and so on so we don’t just use a broad brush bombing attack killing many just on the chance that might also include the one or two that we are looking for. Might just be better to employ some CIA folks to single out such individuals and take care of them like was done with the poor little rich kid who did not get enough attention from his pappy given his 30-40 or more siblings. He kind of had to schedule 10-15 minutes here and there to be able to spend “quality” time on daddy’s knee. “Gees, no one pays any attention to me!” “Boo hoo, boo hoo!” So, no problem at all with retaliating for 9-11 albeit with the caveat about knowing for sure that a specific person or group was responsible and making sure that they can be taken out with any collateral damage to innocent folks. Knowing that such folks are cowards and that they melt in amongst the populace for protection makes getting rid of the right people very difficult.to say the least.
Why do we as a country not learn from our mistakes. The U.S. has NOT won a war since 1945. We allow corporate-america to fleece the taxpayers out of trillions of dollars to feed the war machine. Most of those corporations do not even pay taxes and yet their executives rake in millions. we have allowed Cuba, Vietnam and now Afghanistan to embarrass us as a nation all so these men can become millionaires and billionaires. When will it stop? Why do young folks give up their lives so others can reap profits? I am ashamed of the U.S. military!
I think It’s good to get out of Afganistain but the timing and method is flawed and we need to pay for other things more important than this ongoing war. First would be the crises this war has caused on so many people, including the affects on the environment.
We must be sad for all those who suffered and now the ones who were on our side or thought they were doing good that died or are left behind and the loss of advancements that were made for the country and its people and for women rights.
Today, this appears like a disaster much worse than Vietnam but then this is current.
Now comes the fall out, another crises of suffering and mass migration and a drop in Biden’s ratings, questioning his competence and what next?
I think President Biden’s speech today sized it up pretty well today, historically.
Biden was elected on the basis of bringing competence back to the office of president. I admire him for making the decision to end the Afghanistan fiasco that spans four presidents. However, his execution of the policy is reminiscent of his predecessor. I expected Biden to follow through on his pledge to end the long war in Afghanistan. I didn’t expect him to carry out that pledge with no apparent thought as to how it was going to be executed.