As of this posting, on Aug. 17, we are 25 days away from the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks that killed about 3,000 Americans and led to the deaths of many more first responders and relief workers at the sites who were exposed to the elements.
Without a doubt, vengeance was necessary. We couldn’t let the Hague and other international judicial systems to handle it. I was speaking with some of my more conservative friends at the time. We were all in agreement this would be one of those “covert black ops” deals. We wouldn’t go to war.
How wrong we were?
We pointed the finger at Afghanistan because that’s where Saudi al-Qeada leader Osama bin Laden was reportedly been hiding. Many of those involved were Saudi nationals. And as the years passed, it became rather evident why they were from Saudi Arabia.
Back in the early 1990s, when Saddam Hussein, leader of Iraq, invaded Kuwait, President George H.W. Bush order many troops along the Saudi Arabian border of Kuwait. This was because if the Iraqis were to invade Saudi Arabia, the fear was it might affect the production, distribution and sale of oil.
It was always about the oil. It had nothing to do with how the Middle East was ripped apart and borders were drawn by imperial countries, such as the United Kingdom in the later 19th Century and early 20th Century. What happened in 1990-1991 was the result of decades of fighting with assistance, and more appropriately, interference from other countries.
The one good thing the elder Bush President was able to do was to end the Persian Gulf War in the spring of 1991. America was in a recession. The Cold War was ending all over Eastern Europe. Bush may have become popular but was he willing to send troops into Iraq to overtake Hussein? This would result in a longer war.
And who knows how voters will feel a year and a half later? The problem was Bush didn’t have a good home policy. Let’s not forget he had to share some of the blame in the Iran-Contra Affair. Bush was an extension of the Reagan Administration and by the 1990s, Reagan wasn’t so popular anymore with many Americans.
So many things happened in that year and a half between the end of the war and the 1992 election, Bush had his hands full. The Cold War ended but there wasn’t a contingency plan. American voters were becoming more than just liberals and conservatives and were focused on a Texas businessman H. Ross Perot. The L.A. riots following the LAPD trial into the beating of Rodney King put racial relations in middle America’s face.
And as James Carville famously said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” It had been on a decline through the Reagan years. Why keep his successor in charge when it wasn’t getting any better.
It didn’t help matters that Bush vomited in the lap of Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa’s lap and it was recorded to rebroadcast over and over on TV. Fifty years earlier, it was reported that when FDR fell over when his leg braces were locked too tight, the media was courteous enough not to snap photos. But the image of Barbara Bush holding a napkin over her husband’s mouth was far more damaging that the image of Michael Dukakis riding in a tank.
Pretty much the Middle East didn’t get as much attention as tensions in Eastern Europe were still around during the Presidency of Bill Clinton. There were so many times my college friends and I discussed whether a full-blown war was going to erupt in Kosovo.
The bombing of the World Trade Center was bad but the bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City was worse. Terrorism was becoming a problem in the late 1990s. There were school shootings. The Middle East wasn’t on too many people’s radar.
Something like Sept. 11 was almost inevitable. It would’ve happened regardless of who was President. We didn’t have the proper securities in place for air travel. As one of my colleagues pointed out, they were smart to do it in the morning as early morning flights aren’t as packed and everyone is usually at work by 9 a.m.
The War in Afghanistan was similar to the Civil War. You couldn’t keep using outdated war tactics in modern war. The sad fact was the American military wasn’t prepared for any war. There was no draft and trying to suggest one would’ve been more damaging.
Yes, millions of people enlisted following the Pearl Harbor attacks, but I have a theory that’s because many Americans didn’t have many other options as the Great Depression was still ongoing.
By 2001, many of the military were reserves or in the National Guard. By surprisingly, Afghans had been fighting a war since 1978 when the Saur Revolution happened. Next was the Afghan-Soviet War from 1979 to 1989. Then there were three Civil Wars in the country over the next 11 years.
And now, 43 years later, Afghanistan has fallen to the Taliban. It was the younger Bush’s blunder.
We could’ve very easily had tracked down bin Laden and the others but we needed a country to blame. The Taliban wouldn’t hand over bin Laden so that was enough to fight a war.
Don’t get me wrong, we needed justice for the victims of 9/11 but Lil’ Bush and the Republican Party knew that they could’ve lost the 2002 Midterms and things could change. So, they began to invent a lie that Hussein and Iraq was involved with bin Laden. Fake emails made it look like the Clinton Administration and the Democrats were to blame.
And many Gung Ho American flag waving people were fast to eat it up. They were using the old trick that Reagan Administration was using. Following the Marines barracks bombing in Beirut, forces were sent in to Grenada in the Caribbean. Just change the subject.
People knew back in 2002 that the Bush Administration was looking for any connection to Iraq and Hussein. Lil’ Bush had learned the mistakes of his father. Unfortunately, he didn’t learn enough because we had the same cast returning for the sequel.
And things got worse over his administration that at one point, Bush threw up his hands in his second term and said someone else should handle it. Bush was just counting his days until he was no longer POTUS like a slack worker who turns in their two-weeks notice and doesn’t do anything.
Bush probably knew no way in Hell would Americans elect Dick Cheney as President and was anticipating a Democrat to take the blame. And that President was probably expected to be John Edwards or Hillary Clinton or maybe John McCain. No one anticipated Barack Obama who wouldn’t be able to do anything without constant scrutiny.
Combat operations ended in December of 2014, but it was the peace deal with the Taliban singed Feb. 29, 2020 that led to what has recently happened in the country.
All of these to prove that good things can grow out of bad events. The pro-American sentiment that grew out of the post-9/11 era actually divided more people. Lil’ Bush even said it. “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”
What makes this different from the fall of Saigon in Vietnam and the fall of Phonm Penh in Cambodia, both in 1975, was that was the fall of imperialism in the world. The South Vietnamese Army was one of the biggest armies in the world in the early to mid-1970s.
Trillions was spent to train Afghans. Why was it so easily for Afghanistan to fall to the Taliban? Maybe why it was so easy for Vietnam to fall or Cambodia. People were tired of the fighting.
Afghans are my age and know nothing but war. They’re tired of fighting. Nazi Germany would’ve fallen even if Hitler hadn’t died. People were tired of fighting. More important, they were tired of their children dying. And by children, I mean, children. Most troops were just barely into their teens and were being forced to fight in combat for the Fatherland.
The Lil’ Bush Administration should’ve handled things differently, but military contracts were more important. While many people really like Lil’ Bush because he takes a picture with Michelle Obama, remember that John Wayne Gacy took a picture with Rosalynn Carter.
They are responsible for what’s happened this week. Yes, it’s one big shitburger and the Obama Administration needs to take a bite, but they tried to do what they could.
The only way to remedy this is to accept Afghans refugees. We screwed up their home. We should at least give them the common courtesy to crash on our couch.
But we won’t. We’ll blame Biden because this happened on his watch. It’s the old fallen tree philosophy when it comes to whose POTUS. If a tree falls from your property into your neighbor’s, you’re responsible for the damages and clean-up. If a tree falls from their property on your property, you’re responsible for the damages and the clean-up.
The Delta variant of Covid-19 is putting people back in the hospitals as people are getting sicker. How can we be expected to continue to fight a war in another country? And the blueprints were approved back when Trump was in office, so he needs to take a bigger bite of that shitburger.