American Soldiers FOB Baylough – Dept of Defense photo
At the end of the day — as we always should have known — we’d be gone and the Taliban would still be in Afghanistan.
Thomas Gibbons-Neff / New York Times
July 2, 2021Updated 9:33 a.m. ET
KABUL, Afghanistan — American troops and their Western allies have departed Bagram, Afghanistan’s largest air base, officials said on Friday, turning over to the Afghan government the sprawling outpost from which the United States waged war for nearly two decades.
With little fanfare and no public ceremony, American troops left the base on Thursday night, U.S. and Afghan officials said. The closure effectively means that major U.S. military operations in Afghanistan are all but over.…
I wrote this many years ago:
US soldiers in Afghanistan DOD – PD
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
SEPTEMBER ELEVEN, TWO THOUSAND AND ONE
or, WHAT I SAID THEN, I WRITE NOW
I remember the madness of September 11. I was sitting with my sketchpad on the observation deck, drawing an Alaskan fjord, when the announcement came onto the loud speaker. An hour later, we pulled into Juneau, Alaska.
And as I watched the madness unfold, each port of call — from Ketchikan to Skagway to Sitka, and thence back, through Canada and back into the Bizarro-world version of the USA, was an unfolding of a “Heart of Darkness,” or an “Apocalypse Now.” Safe in our little bubble, we had watched the world go mad, sailing on calm waters.
And then, when we invaded Afghanistan a few months later, I said to my wife (and my friends): Dear God, this is Br’er Rabbit and the Tar Baby. Every blow we strike will get us deeper and deeper into the mire of the Middle East. [emphasis added 2021]
I have been proven correct….
And now, with less than even a whimper (and thanks to Trump’s negotiations with the Taliban!) we are out of that mire.
But, sadly, Biden will bear the blame for “losing” an unwinnable war started by Republicans and fanatically defended by Republicans, and if you don’t think that we’re going to see a kind of redux of the fall of Saigon, I think you ought to study a bit more history. The Afghan “security” forces are Western-trained, perhaps, but they will now fight the Taliban without air power, and that difference will BE the difference, alas.
I sincerely hope that everything I just wrote in the preceding paragraph were untrue and will be proven false.
Then again, I had hoped that we would not make the same mistake that Br’er Rabbit made with the tar baby.
Arlington National Cemetery photo by Arlington National Cemetery PD
Either way, the fault was not with our troops. As in Vietnam, they were handed an impossible task in the end. Both Bush and Cheney had spent so much time and effort successfully avoiding Vietnam that they never learned the lesson OF Vietnam. And here we are.
There’s really not much more to say. I am impelled to recover my words from long ago because this war has been going on for almost 20 years now. I thought it was a disaster then (and I wrote furiously in attempts to stop the invasion of Iraq, which turned out to be a massive war crime against a nation that had NOTHING TO DO WITH 9/11) and I fear that it will continue to be a disaster for a long time to come.
The end of the Afghanistan tunnel has been reached. Please turn out the light.
From the Twilight Zone,
Note: the “tar baby” story is ALSO referenced in this prescient post: “Dear Posterity” from 2017.
back-posted from The Moderate Voice (who still use the classic editor)