I’ve decided that in light of the current atrocities happening across Afghanistan, I need to write this informal blog to get some things off my chest about the American Experience in the Middle East. I will start by saying that none of the things I am about to say represent the views and or beliefs of any branch of the Armed Forces that I am affiliated with or have been affiliated with in the past.
Now with informalities out of the way. What in the absolute hell? What has transpired over the past week or so across that country is just short of mind boggling. Day after day the Taliban has launched an offensive that could have rivaled the Blitzkrieg across Europe during the Second World War. It feels like almost moments after the current U.S. administration announced our complete withdrawal, the cities began to fall back into the hands of the Taliban. The way things have unfolded should make every American sick to their stomachs. Maybe you don’t care about the people over there and what they’ve endured and that’s a matter of a moral compass. But for the last 20 years you’ve watched your young men and women go over there and die to try and make the idea of a “Free Afghanistan” work. We’ve spilled trillions of dollars’ worth of equipment and training to try and help these people be able to help themselves. More importantly, we’ve spilled the blood of thousands of Americans and Afghans alike.
Obviously at the end of the day, it sickeningly was all for naught. As we saw in the Vietnam experience, you cannot force someone to be willing to die for their freedom. That has to be something they are willing to do on their own. I want to focus less upon the reasons democracy failed in Afghanistan and more on how our government failed us and failed the people in the Middle East. This mistake spans several administrations so the blame game bullshit needs to stop. It’d be fantastically refreshing for a politician to say “Hey, we fucked this away. Not only did we fuck it away, but we realized we were in the process of fucking this away about 10 years ago and just continued fucking it away under the guise of helping Afghanistan become a democracy.” But instead, they are going to talk to the American people like we are a bunch of complete idiots because we let them. We let them pull the roll over our eyes time and time again. Vietnam was literally less than 60 years ago. We just decided “That didn’t work in South East Asia, let’s try this idea in an even more challenging religious and physical climate!” At the risk of getting a bit off track, we need to focus on where this started.
After the absolute devastating attack in our country’s history on 9/11/2001. We all remember it. Hell I joined the service in 2012 on September 11th because I was still angry and wanted my piece of the bad guys. I was able to participate in 2 deployments that directly supported free Afghanistan elections from the skies above and also facilitate the escape of innocent Afghan civilians from the clutches of ISIS, which is a completely different story. There are thousands of other servicemen and women with the same sentiment. In 2001, we got punched in the mouth, and if you know anything about history, you know we weren’t going to just lay down. So we went after the guys who we thought orchestrated the heinous attacks on the World Trade Center. Mix in some never to be found WMD’s in Iraq and a personal family vendetta against Saddam that extended back into H.W. Bush’s Presidency, and things got cloudy fast. It changed quickly from “finding the bad guys” to “we need to usher in democracy into an incredibly unstable region.” Wait….. I’ve heard this one before!
Fast forward to present day. I’m not sure how the intelligence communities and the defense department failed so miserably at gauging this withdrawal from Afghanistan, but it’s of monumental proportions. Take the fall of Saigon and multiply it by 100. There was never going to be a time when we were going to be able to completely pull the plug on this whole thing without risking what has happened the past week. Think our occupation in South Korea since the Armistice. Probably what needed to happen in the Middle East as well if we truly cared about keeping Afghanistan free. But if we were going to pull the life support it should’ve been done with a lot more thought. Maybe, you know, get the people evacuated first before announcing “Hey, We are getting the fuck out!”
Now we are getting ready to send 9,000 troops back just to un-fuck this situation that has been fucked for 20 years. Not to mention the images of people clinging for their lives to the side of U.S. Airforce C-17s as they take off ultimately ending in an untimely death.
After getting this stuff off my chest, I just can’t help to continue to sit here and ask “Why?” The lack of explanation and silence from our Politicians in Washington is louder than any IED that’s gone off or any bomb that’s been dropped throughout this 20 year nightmare of a war. Although I’m not surprised. It’s similar to the way a child reacts when they’ve made a mistake. Silence. To all the gold star families and anyone who has sacrificed over the past two decades for this war effort, I’m sorry it turned out the way it did, because I know you’ll never get that apology from Washington. The failure falls on the politicians. Not on anyone who gave their blood sweat and tears to the cause.
Dedicated to the great men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice fighting the “Lost War” God Bless America.